Along with presents, turkey and crackers, watching television has become a core part of the family Christmas. But trying to entertain young and old for days on end whilst confined indoors is no easy task.
But before leafing through the Christmas Radio Times in the desperate hope that the television schedules just might hold the answer, why not check out our 12 days of film Christmas, guaranteed to take you from the excitement of the holiday build-up to the early days of 2013.
The Mood – The holiday begins! Well, for some. But even if you have to keep working before Christmas, there is no denying that the last weekend before Christmas is when the anticipation of a break really begins to set in. With the present shopping finally over and the advent calendar almost empty, tonight is the night to start letting the excitement build.
The Movie – Die Hard
Saturday night is still action movie night, and one of the best with a Christmas theme is Die Hard. Set on Christmas Eve, the party atmosphere is somewhat shattered as German terrorists take revellers hostage in Los Angeles. Before the sugary sweetness of family togetherness and yuletide joy sets in, watching Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis kicking butt never fails to be endlessly entertaining. All together now, yippee-ky-yay……
The Mood – A quiet, cold, cosy afternoon indoors surrounded by beautiful paper and tags as you wrap the gifts you lovingly chose for the family……..although in reality this process usually turns into one which is significantly more stressful. Endless sellotape, panicking over forgotten gifts and that one last present that has to be wrapped up patchwork-style with all the leftover scraps – will it all be worth it come the 25th?
The Movie – The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton’s gloriously dark and beautifully animated story of Jack Skellington discovering Christmas town combines gothic humour with the typical Christmas fare. As present wrapping slowly shifts from enjoyable to irritating, the sight of innocent children unwrapping Halloween-inspired gifts is guaranteed to raise a smile, as well as the sore temptation to do the same. Containing witty and catchy songs alongside memorable characters, The Nightmare Before Christmas is both wickedly dark and deeply touching viewing.
The Mood – The excitement has reached fever pitch! After weeks of preparation, with the turkey defrosting and the spare room prepared for the guests, it’s finally time to sit back and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere before the onslaught of cooking exhaustion kicks in tomorrow.
The Movie – Love Actually
It may have received mixed reviews upon release, but Love Actually has managed to find its way into the hearts of Christmas viewing and become a quintessential part of the seasonal films. Set in the run-up to Christmas and culminating on Christmas Eve, few films capture the sheer excitement and anticipation of the season as well as this film. With a stellar British cast and mixture of laughter and tears, it makes for sentimental and fun Christmas Eve viewing.
The Mood – Although the house is supposed to be filled with yuletide joy and goodwill to all mankind, its difficult to deny that Christmas Day is quite a challenge. With mountains of food to cook, an even bigger pile of dishes to wash and guests to entertain, the chance to collapse in front of the television is a much needed part of the Christmas afternoon.
The Movie – The Muppet Christmas Carol
Dickens tale of Scrooge and his Christmas Eve journey of self-discovery is the foundation stone of yuletide morality tales, yet the story takes on a greater entertainment value when reinterpreted by the Muppets. Featuring all the Muppet regulars and acting royalty in the form of Michael Caine, Christmas films don’t come much more family-friendly than this.
The Mood – There may be a collective hangover in the air, but the Christmas spirit is still going strong. Boxing Day is the day when proper relaxation becomes a reality, with the stress of present giving and the exhaustion of cooking over and done with. Today is all about spending time with the family and indulging in yuletide leisure time.
The Movie – Toy Story 3
Older relatives might raise a cynical eyebrow, but few can fail to be charmed by the final part of the Toy Story trilogy. Giving the family a welcome break from traditional Christmas films, the adventures of Woody and Buzz and co. will reinvigorate the seasonal spirit and leave even the most hard-hearted soul blubbing into their Christmas pudding.
The Mood – As much as we all love our families, let’s be honest, by today the pleasure of their company is starting to wear thin. Days and days of being cooped up indoors, decking the halls and keeping everyone jolly and merry is trying, and the need for some alone-time is becoming a matter of urgency.
The Movie – Home Alone
He may only be 8 years old, but Kevin McCallister becomes something of a role model at Christmas, rebelling against his nagging family and protecting his home from seasonal burglars. Watching crooks Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) falling victim to Kevin’s trail of traps is wince-inducingly painful, but the belly laughs are a plenty, complete with a surprisingly sweet ending. Home Alone cannot fail to reignite your affection for the family, and you’ll quickly find yourself eagerly bounding downstairs for yet another round of charades before you know it.
The Mood – Relatives still outstaying their welcome? And going back to work rears its ugly head? Well bah humbugs all round, it’s about this time that the love for Christmas begins to sour and the mood begins to drop quicker than the increasingly brown pine needles on the tree. Was it really less than a week ago that the world was buzzing with Christmas cheer?
The Movie – Scrooged
Christmas characters full of bitterness are rare, but no one makes them quite as venomous as Bill Murray. With outstanding comic timing and Murray’s trademark deadpan delivery, Scrooged reinvents the Dicken’s classic in the form of a selfish business man who sees Christmas as nothing more than the season to make money and ignore the family.
The Mood – Yesterday’s fit of grumpies is over as the weekend and thought of impending New Years Eve partying looms. Ok so Christmas is technically nearly over, but there’s still the biggest celebration night of the year to come, complete with champagne and kisses at midnight.
The Movie – The Great Escape
Why this tale of Nazi war camps and escaping prisoners became a Christmas classic is an eternal mystery, but no December would be complete without it. Whether its Steve McQueen’s motorbike or the insanely catchy theme tune, The Great Escape is a selection box packed with all the perfect elements of an outstandingly memorable and superb film. It’s also a subtle hint to any stubborn guests who still haven’t got the hint that the time to depart has been and gone….
The Mood – It’s nearly here, 2012’s final hours are slowly counting down. Tomorrow’s going to be a late night, whether its partying or family which will be keeping you up beyond midnight, so make today a relaxing one in front of the television, enjoying another box of Christmas chocolates.
The Movie – The Poseidon Adventure
Your own New Year plans will look ever more appealing as you witness Gene Hackman leading a small group of survivors to be rescued after their luxury liner has an unfortunate meeting with a tidal wave on New Year’s Eve in the middle of the ocean. Hackman is brilliant but is matched all the way by a outstanding performance from Ernest Borgnine, the antagonistic and aggressive chemistry between the characters holding the entire film together. Disaster films don’t come much more entertaining than this.
The Mood – So that’s it, the end of another year, the beginning of a new one, and a night of celebration to ring in the midnight bells. For many it’s a night of strange emotions, the passing of yet more time provoking inevitable gloom about the state of life in general. But no matter for tonight, there’s a brand spanking new 2013 to sort all that out.
The Movie – Ghostbusters II
Blast the little touches of anxiety that are creeping into the celebratory mood by watching the Ghostbusters blow spirits to smithereens before the whole of New York city ends on New Year’s Eve, engulfed in pink slime generated by a population of angry and miserable people. So it may be far-fetched but for entertainment value and a slightly less sentimental take on Auld Lang Syne, it ticks all the boxes, as well as including one of the best uses of the Statue of Liberty ever seen in a film.
Sunday 1st January 2013 New Year’s Day
The Mood – A new day, a new year, and a whole heap of resolutions which will help to create the ‘new you’ and make 2013 the best year yet! But in amongst the ambitious fitness plans and intended career changes, there’s still time for a touch of indulgent nostalgia for the year gone past and a fond goodbye to Christmas before it takes a 365 day hiatus.
New Year seems to provoke us all into identifying all our failing and weaknesses, but It’s A Wonderful Life acts as a timeless reminder that everyone is valuable and special in their own way. George Bailey (James Stewart) finds himself on the brink of suicide after a lifetime of selflessness and being good seems to have brought him nothing but failure. Fortunately, the timely arrival of guardian angel Clarence is there is show him how different the world would have been without him. Heart-warming, emotional and a shameless tearjerker, no Christmas would be complete without this annual viewing.
Monday 2nd January
The Mood – The brand, spanking New Year is now fully underway but the resolutions are doing less well. Been indulging in leftover Christmas chocolates? Was the planned 6am jog in the park postponed in favour of more sleep? Guilt, combined with smug friends angelically nibbling lettuce leaves for lunch, is enough to make the joy of the New Year start to lose its shine.
Well no one’s perfect right? Comfort yourself and forgive any early failings with Bridget Jones, a reminder that New Year’s resolutions are made for breaking and all normal mortals will experience failure along the way. Watching Bridget blunder and booze her way from one disastrous relationship to the next will help take the pressure off and provide a few laughs in the eternal quest of self-improvement.