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Best Christmas movies to watch this holiday based on movie taste

From Hallmark heartfelt to a Silent Night of retribution, Christmas time brings noteworthy cinema
Klaus is an animated adventure comedy that explores how a simple act of kindness always sparks another. (Movie still)

When the holidays roll around, many want to get cozy under the blankets, make a hot beverage, and at some point, put on a holiday classic. But the question soon becomes, what to watch?

There’s certainly no shortage of holiday movies, and everyone has different tastes. Some like something cheesy. Others, thought-provoking. And some want something with a little “Yipee-Ki-Yay”. These movie picks will hopefully allow you to spend more time watching and less time deciding.

Klaus is a heart-warming, award-winning film

From the co-creator of Despicable Me, Klaus was the 2020 Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature Film and winner of multiple Annie Awards including Best 2020 Animated Feature.

This fresh, unexpected Santa origin story has brilliant humour and beautiful animation. It follows Jesper, a spoiled lazy son of a business mogul, whose frustrated father ships him to the northern island of Smeerensburg, under the order that he posts 6,000 letters within the year or be kicked to the curb. The town is anything but pleasant: it’s darn cold and culturally divided under a historical feud. When Jesper finds a cabin stocked with old toys and meets a lonely and forlorn man named Klaus, a spark of hope ignites.

With hilarious and moving voice acting, this film (on Netflix) brings to life the virtue of kindness in a way that doesn’t feel forced or overly sweet. Stream this one on Netflix.

Falling for Christmas is a fun Hallmark pick

Lindsay Lohan makes a comeback in this feel-good movie about finding love in unexpected ways. Lohan plays spoiled hotel heiress Sierra Belmont who loses her memory in a skiing accident immediately after her influencer boyfriend proposes on a secluded mountain top. She lands in the care of a lodge owner widower at Christmastime, who recently failed a business pitch to her father. A romance ensues.

Apart from the charismatic performance from Lohan and the romantic but absurd plot, there are other things that make this movie sparkle fun. Picture magenta-pink ski suits and quirky side characters, including a mysterious old man who is likely Santa Claus.

Is it Oscar-worthy? Absolutely not, but it will be enjoyable if you want to giggle at the cliches and are titillated by PG smooches under the mistletoe. Catch this one on Netflix.

Chord Overstreet and Lindsay Lohan star in the 2022 Christmas romcom Falling for Christmas. (Netflix)

Die Hard packs a timeless, action-fuelled punch

A classic adored by critics and audiences alike, Die Hard follows New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) who is visiting his estranged wife at a holiday party on Christmas Eve. The festivities are soon interrupted by terrorists putting the business high-rise in lockdown. As McClane soon discovers, he’s the only one who can get the hostages out of the situation.

This film was groundbreaking for giving a fresh spin on holiday content and it remains beloved today. It’s chocked full of action-packed scenes, witty dialogue, and charismatic performances, especially from Willis and Alan Rickman, who plays the effortlessly suave villain mastermind, Hans Gruber.

“We’ll get together, have a few laughs,” said John McClane mockingly, an iconic line from the 1988 comedy action film Die Hard. (Movie still)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is relatable hilarity on the topic of family time

This 1989 hit film starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Juliette Lewis highlights the ironic humour in things not going according to plan. In this case, it’s the Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas and the endless disasters that unfold. Based on writer and co-producer John Hughes’ short story Christmas ‘59 which was published in National Lampoon, it’s got big-hearted fullness and lots of outrageousness that gives us the okay to laugh at our own failed expectations.

In National Lampoon’s Christmas, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas but things quickly go awry in this comedy classic. (Movie poster)

New Christmas movies worth watching in 2023

In a similar vein to Die Hard, Silent Night (releases Dec. 1) is packed with guns-blazing but this film has a huge twist: there’s absolutely no dialogue. After a man’s young son dies from a stray bullet in a gang shoot-out, he (Joel Kinnaman) seeks bloody retribution. His one caveat is that an injury to his throat has cost him his voice. Director John Woo’s feature looks to definitely be novel in terms of style.

Lovers of Apple TV’s heartwarming show Ted Lasso might enjoy Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas, a 44-minute variety show of ball gowns, singing, dancing and skits from the show’s dazzling cast. Filmed at the extravagant London Coliseum and first aired on Apple TV Nov. 22, it has garnered warm applause from reviewers.

Hannah Waddingham brings some of the cast of Ted Lasso together for the Christmas variety show, Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas. (Apple TV)

Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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