The turkeys have been consumed and the amber leaves have fallen off of the trees, symbolizing the arrival of Christmastime! Christmas in chilly Michigan automatically calls for the drinking of peppermint hot cocoa on the couch while watching a Christmas movie. There are many types of Christmas movies, each with its own certain quirks that make it perfect for the season. The genre’s four main categories can be broken down into cheesy romances, comedies, and classics. As a Christmas connoisseur, I’ll be breaking down each of these genres and giving some insight into the movies that define them.
This genre of movies has spread expansively over the years, especially as streaming services such as Netflix started making their own Christmas love stories. Hallmark has dominated the Christmas romance industry by using a few classic formulas en route to making the two main characters fall in love. These movies are attempts at rom-coms, but the level of comedy in Christmas romances is typically quite cheesy. Netflix, Hulu, and HBO have all started to make movies with similar sequences, each cringier than the next. These movies are designed to pull at heartstrings, but some of the occurrences are so bizarre that the viewer is left laughing so hard they’re crying. Some of my favorite movies in this genre are Holiday in the Wild, A Christmas Prince (1, 2, and 3), Christmas Inheritance, Operation Christmas Drop, and The Holiday Calendar. These movies are all so absurd, but not in the way that they were trying to be. 10/10 recommend watching cheesy holiday romances year-round, but they truly are magical in December.
Christmastime can be a tense season for many people, with the stressors of travel, buying gifts, and those strange relatives that come out of the woodwork every holiday season. Christmas comedies typically make fun of familial dynamics, which can be refreshing to someone struggling through the season. The National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie collection, starring Chevy Chase, displays just how crazy family can be, especially around the holidays. Christmas comedies often involve falling in love, but in a less cheesy way than the “Cheesy Christmas” movies. Elf, starring comedian Will Ferrell, is a prime example of a Christmas comedy for the whole family, as it combines a little bit of love with a massive elf learning to live in NYC. Love Actually is one of the more mature Christmas rom-coms, and undoubtedly one of the best, with a star-studded cast whose London lives are somehow all intertwined during the holiday season. Spirited, a new movie on AppleTV+, is also working its way up the comedy charts, sharing a beautiful message behind the hilarity of Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell. Whether old or new, a comedy is always an excellent movie choice for really getting into the Christmas spirit.
There are those movies that just naturally spark up a warm and fuzzy feeling when they are turned on. Some movies were watched more than others by kids, and those frequently viewed movies always elicit a special place in the hearts of those who watched them. How The Grinch Stole Christmas tells the classic Dr. Seuss story that ends with (spoiler alert) the bad guy becoming an essential part of Christmas in Whoville. The live-action film from 2000 recently was remade into an animated movie, which is (in my opinion) better and far less scary than the original. Disney has also produced tons of Christmas classics starring Mickey Mouse and his friends, including Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of the Mouse. These movies tell Christmas tales of old, including Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. For all the claymation lovers out there, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a great story of inclusion, filled with catchy tales. And who can forget the creepy animation of The Polar Express? These Christmas classics have stood the test of time, and probably will continue to do so for generations to come.
It’s time to grab a cup of hot cocoa and a cozy blanket and settle deep into the couch. It’s appropriate to watch Christmas movies until the day after Christmas, meaning we’re saddling up for a month full of Christmas’ greatest hits!