6 Essential Christmas Holiday Family Movies (plus 5 of the best now on Netflix 2019)01.12.2019, 20:59
Okay, Christmas entertainment may have diversified into streaming services, VR and AR headsets, console gaming, tablets and mobile gaming, but at some point the whole family may come together and end up watching something. This will probably be after the big Christmas meal.
You just can’t beat a classic movie at this time of year, either a grand spectacle, comedy, blockbuster or even a musical. It depends on the age-groups involved of course.
There’ll probably be quite a few Marvel or Tolkien-inspired cinematic spectacle box-sets being consumed from start to finish over the whole holiday period (again). However, what are the real stand-out favourites that bring a warm glow to everyone watching? How far back should such a list go?
We can’t put all this into one list of just six, but we can offer up a short-list of amusing, essential ones, that come to mind first. If you save up enough points here at Prizes Drop for completing our mini-tasks (surveys, ads etc.) then you can get free Amazon gift cards to spend on any of these...
On AMAZON etc...
A guy gets trapped in a repeated time-loop where he must live the same day over and over again until...something… frees him. From a few of the key players behind Ghostbusters, this is the best ‘Christmas run-up’ movie, since it’s not really set at Christmas. That doesn’t stop it being a highly amusing classic, and also very romantic.
A brilliant 80s action movie that triggered so many others since but which haven’t managed to combine so many aspects as effectively. We’re talking traits of good ole’ heroism, an imaginative, exciting timeline of events, magnetic bad-guys (including Professor Snape), memorable scenes and one-liner comedy moments. All set during the Christmas period, there are constant reminders about the seasonal setting where minor characters are given room to breath alongside the larger ones. A lesson to all action movies, and one which so often has clearly not sunk in.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
A bumbling father on a mission to celebrate Christmas with his family. What could go wrong? Everything. But that’s Christmas for you, and that’s families. The third movie in the National Lampoon series just managed to tap into all the things at Christmas where reality simply exceeds expectations.
The lesson is gives is simple: never expect anything at Christmas to go the way you planned, and just stop trying to over-organise it. At the end of the day, families must end up understanding one another.
The fast and entertaining way this film ties all this together somehow transformed what might otherwise be a heavy-handed Chevy Chase comedy (which it still is at times) into a timeless 80s classic. It also nicely references a much older Christmas classic: It's a Wonderful Life.
Christmas with the Kranks
In a similar vein, but tapping directly into an equally universal, annual urge felt by all parents: the urge to skip Christmas. The film explores this with comedy excellence. Another Christmas film with Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, is also worth a mention.
Deck the Halls
Low-rated by many but actually it has many memorable and hilarious scenes. Once again in suburbia but this time commenting on neighborhood relations in such a narrow world. A challenge to become the best at celebrating Christmas ('Mr. Christmas') in the town leads to opportunities for hidden satire and outward slapstick.
Great to see Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito clearly enjoying their roles as they attempt to find a way forward in their very different characters. If only this always happened in reality, but then this is Christmas, a time when people sometimes can achieve ‘putting away their differences’. Could the film have been better overall? Probably, but it still manages to be hugely entertaining.
More comedy movie antics and suburban scenarios to unite the whole family, especially large families. It managed to bring extra insight into what kids are like and what they enjoy seeing unfold in a comedy where one kid gets accidentally left behind at Christmas. He ends up truly having to 'hold the fort'. Besides the slapstick humor there’s real family magic to be found.
And.... now on NETFLIX...
So what fresh or classic Christmas movies can you find on Netflix here in 2019?
- The Christmas Chronicles
Kurt Russell as Santa does a fine job for more mature family viewing. A great idea (two kids try to catch Santa on camera and it turns into an unexpected night) makes for a great ride overall.
A rich and quirky magical animated style brings a tale of character transformation and an idea about the start of Christmas cheer. Expert handling of relationships, occasional bursts of action, a bit of humor and whole lot of warmth, it’s perfect for a cold night on Christmas Eve. Certainly a very welcome departure in style from usual bland computer animations.
- Rise of the Guardians
It’s a fast-moving ,computer animated story about Guardians Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman, “who enlist Jack Frost to stop the evil Pitch Black from engulfing the world in darkness in a fight of dreams.”
Despite this perhaps far-fetched idea the film manages to bring it all to life and keep momentum going in a strong dose of all-round family entertainment. Some top-notch voice talent helps.
- Angela’s Christmas
We’re in Ireland in 1910 which might be something to do with a well-known Irish writer behind the story. This animated film interpretation makes it an amusing, heart-warming and touching experience which conveys the strength of family and one child’s innocent desire to wish ensure everyone stays safe, warm and loved for Christmas.
- A Very Murray Christmas
Aptly named is this variety show with a twist that manages to do justice to Bill Murray’s inimitable comedy style. A large cast brings warmth and surprise to this well-received Netflix 2015 production.
At Prizes Drop we also have free Netflix codes, for those saving up enough points by completing our range of mini-tasks in your personal dashboard. And there's still plenty of time before Christmas to get cracking!