Ho Ho Holiday Movie Guide

Festive movies to get you through everything from family squabbles to eating comas

Gremlins promotional image sourced from IMDb.

gremlins Promotional image sourced from IMDb.

This winter break, take a break from arguing with your family and engage in something everyone can get along with — shut up and watch a movie.

Holiday movies can be more than just a pleasant pastime, they have the power to become part of traditions and bring people together. Here are a few suggestions of what to see during your vacation.

Eleven (2003)

Jon Favreaus Eleven is undoubtedly the best Christmas film of the new millennium. You will have a hard time finding someone who isn’t having a good time when you put this on.

Both Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel are undeniably likeable, making this children’s film entertaining for all ages. Be careful when watching Eleven early in the winter break as it will be impossible to cite the film after that.

Home alone (1990)

In the early 1990s, John Hughes and Chris Columbus captured lightning in a bottle Home alone. This film is still unsurpassed in many ways, with one of the best child acting performances of all time, a heartwarming ending and senseless slapstick violence. What’s not to love?

gremlins (1984)

Another holiday masterpiece from Chris Columbus. Even after all these years, who doesn’t want a Mogwai for Christmas? With appropriate violence Home alone, This is the perfect holiday movie if you’re into comedy, horror and fantasy and an old lady being flung through her ceiling on a stairlift.

The sound of music (1965)

Although not explicit about the holidays, the music, the sense of family and the heartwarming nature of The sound of music makes it a perfect strip to dress up while lounging around on boxing day when you have three hours to kill. Even if you’re not a musical fan, you’ll still be humming along to “My Favorite Things” for who knows how long.

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Happiest Season (2020)

This rom-com came out in the middle of the pandemic and probably flew under most people’s radar. Kristen Stewart is spending the holidays with her friend’s family – with the small problem that no one knows they are together. LGBTQ+ representation is seriously lacking in the holiday media, so it’s great to see a film that promotes inclusion.

The cottage (2019)

Horror movies shouldn’t just be saved for Halloween. They are wonderful at any time of the year. The cottage starts with a bang (literally) and doesn’t let up. It stars Riley Keough, who plays the role of a woman trying to connect with her future stepchildren while they spend the holidays at a remote lodge.

If you’re tired of the movies about Santa Claus, wait until the kids have gone to bed and dress that up for some serious psychological horror.

The night before (2015)

This comedy has a little bit of everything – cheesy Christmas narration by Tracy Morgan, friendship and in true Seth Rogen fashion, lots of drugs. The holidays can be a time to really let go and indulge, and that’s exactly what’s happening The night before Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings a sense of sincerity and warmth to this rather raunchy flick.

There’s also a great cameo from one of UVic’s most renowned alumni, Nathan Fielder.

love actually (2003)

What better way to spend Christmas than watching almost every single British actor of the 2000s get together for some truly classic Christmas romantic comedy? With countless storylines, the entirety of love actuallyRunning for 135 minutes, is gripping and thoroughly entertaining.

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No one knows they want to see Martin Freeman as a pornstar until it’s already happened.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

High-budget young adult fantasy films were just made differently in the early 2000s. These two huge franchise films have just enough Christmassy elements to make them perfect for the holidays.

The snowy land of Narnia is both terrifying and comforting. Tilda Swinton’s iconic role as the White Witch is beautifully contrasted by one of Santa’s (technically Santa Claus) best dressed screen portrayals. Put this on and you might be surprised at how well it held up.

Most Harry Potter films have a bit of Christmas in them, but none quite like the first. The childish wonder of discovering magic is brought to life by none other than Chris Columbus (big surprise). Snuggle up with some hot chocolate, internally denounce JK Rowling and enjoy some really dated but nostalgic CGI.

Whether you’re spending the holidays with family, partying with friends, or catching up on some time to yourself, a good movie is just what you need to get you through those long winter nights.

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