The holiday season is upon us, and along with the casual 3pm prosecco sessions and decorative tinsel earrings comes the annual Christmas movie binge-watching marathon. There are plenty of festive flicks to get you in the spirit that haven't made the cut this close to December 25th, though I've nailed down the list to 10 essential movies you should watch before the big day.
While I would prefer to rank these films in order of their dedication to my favourite sartorial seasonal staple - the turtleneck - I'll settle for sharing these titles in order of their release date to keep things nice and simple. Besides, we all know Love Actually wins for the most glorious collection of turtlenecks in one film.
On with the list!
1. A Christmas Prince (2017)
If you haven't heard of this Netflix masterpiece just yet, I have to wonder if you've been avoiding the internet lately. The so-bad-it's-good film has gained cult-like status for its predictable plot, intense acting and cringe-worthy lines. A Christmas Prince follows an aspiring young journalist (which speaks to me on an emotional level) who finds herself in the middle of a royal scandal. Why? Because she has been sent to a fake European country, where she managed to sneak into a security-less castle in order to write a tell-all on the dashing young Prince. You will love to hate this delightfully cliché movie, I guarantee it.
2. El Camino Christmas (2017)
Also by Netflix, this film promises more actual comedy than the above-mentioned romantic slop. With an impressive line-up of hilarious stars including Dax Shepard, Tim Allen, Kurtwood Smith, Vincent D'Onofrio and Jessica Alba, the film follows a young (super attractive) man who is looking for the father he has never met. Things go wrong, as they do in movies, and he ends up barricaded inside a liquor store with five other people on Christmas Eve in an accidental hostage situation - not your typical merry plot.
3. The Holiday (2006)
It might just be one of the most unrealistic rom-com plotlines on this list, but thanks to The Holiday's brilliant cast of Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black this flick became the perfect feel-good Christmas movie. Follow Iris (a run-down British journalist who suffers from a case of the ex) and Amanda (a tightly-wound American “Hollywood type” who just ended a terrible relationship) as they swap homes and lives for the holidays. There's an uplifting soundtrack, a cute friendship with an elderly neighbour, you get to see Cameron haul-ass down a snowy lane in unrealistic sky-high stilettos and there's a killer speech about toxic relationships courtesy of Ms. Winslet.
4. The Family Stone (2005)
This dysfunctional family flick is so relatable, it kind of hurts. Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) brings his uptight girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker) home to his kooky family for Christmas, where she most definitely does not fit in. It's an accurate depiction of the awkwardness of blending new partners with a tight-knit family.
The Family Stone is simple and festive without being far-reaching, so it's perfect for any grinches out there! Plus, it also stars Diane Keaton, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Paul Schneider and more... as if I need to go on.
5. Just Friends (2005)
Arguably one of Anna Faris' greatest roles, this comedy is one of the all-time best Christmas movies. Ryan Reynolds stars as the former-fat-kid-turned-snob who begrudgingly returns home to his small town for Christmas, with his psycho pop star girlfriend (Faris) in tow. The only thing that could bring him back to reality is his former crush and BFF Jamie (Amy Smart), and the journey to his ~self discovery~ is side-splitting.
6. Love Actually (2003)
Nothing screams Christmas quite like a dramatic airport chase scene, a Portuguese proposal and a random musical number - and Love Actually has it all. Okay, so none of those things scream "Christmas" but as one of the most beloved festive films, Love Actually is adored for it's tales of love around the holidays. Whether that love is happy (like the love between two teeny-boppers singing All I Want For Christmas) or whether it is sad (like the heartbreak of a friend who loves his best mate's wife), love is still actually all around. Besides, who could forget the delightfully awkward dance moves of Hugh Grant? Or the impressive turtleneck collection? There's a reason this flick is one of the Christmas greats.
7. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
For those who love to hate (but secretly love) the holiday season, this Grinchy comedy is the perfect flick. I mean, even if you're dead-set against the Christmas vibe, you should surely relate to someone who hates everyone, wants to be left alone and enjoys eating when bored... It's called being an adult.
8. I'll Be Home For Christmas (1998)
I genuinely do not care about anything that happens in this movie, other than the fact it stars everyone's favourite 90s heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas. But, it's actually the perfect family film for the holidays, so it's worth the watch if you want to feel all sappy about being surrounded by your loved ones. Seriously, though, JTT 4Eva.
9. The Santa Clause (1994)
Even in 2017, this classic still holds up. Tim Allen stars as Scott, an angry businessman who accidentally kills Santa when he's on the roof delivering presents - but don't worry, it's not grim or anything. In fact, it's delightfully PG. A quick trip to the North Pole reveals that Scott is now the new Santa Clause, and try as he might there's nothing he can do stop the bulging belly or snow-white beard from growing.
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
I didn't see this anti-Christmas Tim Burton masterpiece until well into my twenties, though this didn't stop the childlike wonder from rearing it's head as the stop-motion animated Jack Skellington sang about bringing Halloween to Christmas Town. The tunes are catchy, the mood is dark and the characters are hilarious, even if you're a grown adult who thinks they're "too old" for animation (like that's even possible!).