Let’s be honest, once the pressies are open and you’ve stuffed yourself with turkey or a nut roast and there are only coffee creams left in the Quality Street tin, there’s only one thing to do: be horizontal in front of a festive film. But what to watch? With so many options, the HuffPost UK team have selected their favourites to give you a bit of Christmas telly inspo. There really is something for everyone...
‘Love Actually’ (2003)
Picked By Sophie Gallagher (Lifestyle Reporter)
Yes I am a cliche, yes I am a basic Christmas bitch. But I don’t care. Anything for some festive cheese, and ‘Love Actually’ is wall-to-wall fromage. My favourite (read, worst) scene is obviously Emma Thompson finding out that Alan Rickman has in fact bought her a CD and not a golden heart necklace - spoiler alert. Other highlights include Kiera Knightly’s hats and the vast quantity of roll neck jumpers. I did used to love the ‘to me you are perfect’ sign scene, but it has aged badly. Thinking about it I don’t actually know why I love this film so much, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.
‘Dinner For One’ (1963)
Picked by Lisa Golden (Video Producer)
This strange little 10 min movie is a Christmas/New Year’s tradition in some European and Nordic countries - much to the confusion of almost everyone else. Considering it’s a British film, I still don’t know why so few people in the UK know about it. I watched it for the first in Switzerland. It was my first Christmas away from my family, my first Christmas with snow and it was all bit disorienting. Everyone looked at me like I was mad when I said I’d never heard of it. And now it’s my own little tradition and I force my loved ones to watch it every year.
‘Jingle All The Way’ (1996)
Picked By Charlie Lindlar (Blogs Editor)
Solid 90s caper in which Arnold Schwarzenegger goes on a journey to acquire the sold out must-have toy for his son (a pre-Phantom Menace Jake Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. It’s not like this a great piece of cinema (who believes Arnie as a mattress salesman called Howard?) but it always seems to be on TV and does really get into What Christmas Is All About.
‘Mary Poppins’ (1964)
Picked by Vicky Frost (Executive Editor, Life)
Things that have stayed with me about childhood Christmasses: having to wait for my tree presents until late afternoon (what!?); getting pineneedles stuck in my feet/hands; Mary Poppins always being on and always being weirder than I remembered it to be. It gets a big-screen revamp this Christmas but unless that involves Dick Van Dyke doing his chim chim cher-ee turn – mercilessly copied by high-pitched children for bloody hours, my poor parents – I’m not sure it will be replacing the original in my affections.
‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ (2000)
Picked By Micha Frazer-Carroll (Intern)
Alongside Michael Caine as Scrooge, Jim Carrey’s Grinch will inject the perfect dose of cheeky holiday cynicism into your Christmas. What’s more, ‘The Grinch’ is one of those kids films whose jokes take on completely new meanings as you get older. From his scheduled in sessions of ‘wrestle with my self-loathing’ to the fact that he was conceived at a swingers’ party, there are so many hidden gags for adults in this film – it’s kind of bizarre that they went completely over my head as a child. This movie is fantastic and over the years I’ve learnt every word to it. I am, however, devastated that Benedict Cumberbatch is coming for it after all these years – it’s the remake we never asked for.
Picked by Matt Bagwell (Executive Editor, Entertainment)
This unlikely tale of Buddy, who has been brought up an elf after being accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler, is as silly as it sounds. I couldn’t imagine anyone but Will Ferrell playing Buddy, who goes on a voyage of discovery to New York in search of his real father, a cynical businessman played brilliantly by an exasperated James Caan. In true fish-out-of-water fashion, hilarity ensues, but there’s also a lot of heart at the centre of this universal tale about not fitting in.
‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ (1989)
Picked by Lucy Pasha-Robinson (Deputy Blogs Editor)
This is hands down the best Christmas film because it’s so relatable. This looks like every family Christmas I’ve ever experienced: a house filled to the rafters with distant relatives, turkey disasters, fire hazards and fallings out. All wrapped up in the comfort of family bonds and good intentions. It’s a classic for a reason
‘White Christmas’ (1954)
Picked by Rachel McGrath (Entertainment Reporter)
This is probably the only Christmas film that we always watched when I was growing up and some of my love for it is certainly inherited (Hi Mum! Hi Nan!). But with Bing Crosby’s crooning, more than a dash of Hollywood glamour and of course (slight spoiler alert) that glorious scene at the end, there is so much to enjoy. Oh, and it’s on Netflix now so the days of having to record it on VHS while it’s playing on the BBC are long gone. Thank god.
‘Miracle On 34th Street’ (1994)
Picked by Harriet Grecian (Senior Video Producer)
What is not to love in this film?? It has Richard Attenborough as Santa, that girl who plays Matilda being cute and New York in the snow.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ (1992)
Picked by Ash Percival (Entertainment Editor)
The Muppets are, without doubt, the most joyful thing in the world. Throw Christmas in with that and you just have the most perfect combination. The story of ‘A Christmas Carol’ transcends generations, but with its amazing sing-a-long songs, Michael Cain’s brilliant Scrooge, and the cutest Tiny Tim imaginable, this version is better than all of the others put together. It’s also the only film I watch every year, without fail. The only thing that could improve it? More Miss Piggy, of course.
Picked by Steph Bosset (Video Producer)
Bill Murray at his best - wait, when is he ever not the best? - and being yanked across the decades by demented demons. You’ve got Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Bobcat Goldthwait as a disgruntled employee and even a cameo by Robert Mitchum...the perfect flick.
The ‘Gavin And Stacey’ Christmas Special (2008)
Picked by Daniel Welsh (Entertainment Reporter)
Not a film, admittedly, but also something that no Christmas in our household is complete without. By playing up to what makes so many of us feel warm and fuzzy around the Christmas season (singing along to ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ in the car, rubbish Santa’s Grottos, there’s even a drunken fight! Ah, memories...), the ‘Gavin And Stacey’ Yuletide special has managed to make itself a must-watch every year. And while it was originally such a success because it features so much to make us feel nostalgic, a decade on it’s now become something nostalgic in itself.
‘The Snowman’ (1982)
Picked by Cathie Swan (Video Producer)
With the only dialogue the haunting ‘Walking In The Air’, this has to be the most universally timeless Christmas film out there. A beautifully illustrated tale of friendship and magic, it’s a favourite in my family, loved by the toddlers and the grandparents alike. The ending gets me every time.
‘Santa Claus: The Movie’ (1985)
Picked by Nicola Slawson (News Reporter)
Let’s get things straight, I’m talking about the 1985 film in which Dudley Moore plays an elf in case you were getting it confused with any of the other – and much more inferior – films with Santa Claus in the title. The fact this film is the greatest Christmas film of all time is the hill I’m willing to die on, and I might have to considering its rating on Rotten Tomatoes. First of all, the Santa Claus is by far the best. He actually looks like the Santa from Christmas cards and children’s books, secondly the film has an anti-capitalism message and gives you the warm fuzzies about what Christmas is really about and finally John Lithgow makes for the very best pantomime villain, which is crucial to any good Christmas movie. The scene where he says “uh-huh” over and over is a Slawson family favourite. Yes, the film is pure 80s cheese, but why would you want anything else at Christmas?
‘The Sound Of Music’ (1965)
Picked by Brogan Driscoll (Finds Editor)
Not particularly Christmassy, but one of the family faves. It’s always on over the festive period and I can’t get enough of it. I love a good sing song.
Picked by John Johnston (Senior Video Producer)
Cute, furry and with a smattering of murder. Merry Christmas everybody! And for those of you who don’t think it’s a Christmas film, it’s actually a remake of “it’s a wonderful life” with gremlins and has all the key ingredients of a Christmas film - cute, cosy hometown vibes, strong moral message (read the instructions on those new toys) and humour. Oh, and the worst Christmas story of all time.
‘Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets’ (2002)
Picked by Connor Parker (Intern)
There’s 8 Harry Potter films, not including the new prequels, yet for some reason the only one ever on RV at Christmas time is the Chamber of Secrets, which even though in my opinion is contender for the worst of the bunch, I still sit and watch all the way through at whenever it’s on during Christmas time, but that may because Harry Potter is the greatest.
‘Die Hard’ (1988)
Picked by Jess Brammar (Head of News)
Without doubt the best of the festive films, and the only one that features Bruce Willis running around in a vest. Don’t tell me it’s not a Christmas film, because you would be wrong.