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The Christmas films we love to watch as festive traditions have us reaching for familiar Christmas movies





There's a lot of love for Christmas films and it's not hard to see why; this isn't just a film released around the holidays but a film which has a Christmas story at its heart. Expect impeccable decorations in houses, festive feasts and more sleigh bells than the man in red all set off by a decent soundtrack.

From classics of yesteryear to a surprising number of votes for The Muppet Christmas Carol here's the favourite must-watch Christmas films from ourselves and our colleagues at sister papers across Iliffe Media.

Do you agree? Is there a Crimbo corker we've missed or are our viewing habits in line with yours? Let us know in the comments below and with our festive reputations on the line here we go...

Which film would Father Christmas settle down to watch?
Which film would Father Christmas settle down to watch?

Chris Harby, senior reporter, Rutland & Stamford Mercury, Bourne Local and Rutland Times

In amongst the utter chaos of a family Christmas and all its hideous preparations, there has to be a window left for the best festive film bar none, It's A Wonderful Life.

A beautiful morality tale, lavishly filmed with wonderful acting - guaranteed to warm the cockles and leave you feeling a little more positive about humankind.

If we ever needed a reminder about the value of kindness over greed it's now! And If the ending doesn't bring a lump to the throat and tickle your tear ducts, then you have a heart of stone.

Katie Green, trainee reporter, Grantham Journal

A film that includes some of the best British actors of our generation and top tier acting is of course Love Actually.

I may be biassed as the film does include two of my favourite actors in Colin Firth and Emma Thompson, but Love Actually is now 20 years old and a Christmas classic.

I am proud to say I know it word for word and it has somewhat become a tradition in my family that it's a film we seem to watch at least three times in the run up to Christmas.

Kerry Coupe, editor, Rutland & Stamford Mercury, Bourne Local and Rutland Times

As children, my mum used to insist we watch The Muppet Christmas Carol so often that her original VHS was replaced by not one but two DVDs after she broke the first one from overwatching it.

Now, it feels like Christmas has arrived when I see Michael Caine as Scrooge alongside Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit.

I even have a Kermit Christmas decoration on my tree!

If this was a scene in a Christmas movie you just know she's looking at something poignant which used to be her grandmother's.
If this was a scene in a Christmas movie you just know she's looking at something poignant which used to be her grandmother's.

Nicola Irwin, digital news editor, Midlands

I love the cosy nature of festive films. I mean those movies which play in a loop on some TV channels from October onwards.

You know what's going to happen before the opening montage has faded away and there's a Christmas bingo of scenes the film will include ice skating, a Christmas party, drinking hot chocolate, and an adorable moment with a festive animal or child.

I can happily watch them while I wrap presents or write Christmas cards.

But to truly get in the mood I'll turn on Home Alone; at its heart a decent story as a kid tries to defeat two pesky crooks while his mum and the rest of his family attempt to fly home from Paris.

It scores highly in the category "house I'd like to have Christmas at" and it's got a delightfully festive soundtrack but who am I kidding? I can join in with all the words - not just the songs... "Keep the change ya filthy animal!"

Maddy Baillie, senior reporter, Rutland & Stamford Mercury, Bourne Local and Rutland Times

How to choose the best Christmas film - there are just too many options!

From Christmas classics like Love Actually to cheesy films like Nativity, deciding on 'the best Christmas film' is a near impossible task.

In fact, I like to start early (when I say early I mean November) to fit them all in.

And growing up with a camcorder always out at special occasions means that as well as Christmas movies there's plenty of old family videos to watch and reminisce over.

Kat Wakefield, reporter, Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian

In our house, the two must-watch films are always Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. You can't go wrong with Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold and his disastrous festive celebrations. It's a classic.

And, let's be honest, we all have that one neighbour who goes all out with lighting up their home for Christmas, don't we?

I also think anyone who doesn't enjoy Elf sits on a throne of lies... It's a heartwarming story filled with proper laughs, combined with an incredible cast and the beautiful imagery of New York at Christmas. What's not to love about that?

He's reading the reviews of festive films, including Die Hard.
He's reading the reviews of festive films, including Die Hard.

Matthew Taylor, trainee reporter, Grantham Journal

Love Actually is indisputably the best Christmas film. Many imitators and wannabes have since tried to recapture the magic of this brilliantly interwoven story and failed.

The ensemble cast is excellent, especially Bill Nighy and Emma Thompson, whose performance rips everyone in two, year in, year out.

Elf is a great festive film, Die Hard is a classic, but Richard Curtis gave us something that cannot be matched.

Rob Currell, sports reporter, Newark Advertiser

Home Alone is my favourite Christmas movie because it has a bit of everything in the film.

I also enjoy watching it because even though we know the outcome you still cheer Kevin McCallister on.

Then if you want to continue the Christmas theme, you can throw the second one on straight after.

Sarah Cliss, senior reporter, Fenland Citizen

My favourite Christmas film is Die Hard - I just love it as it is not your typical festive watch and of course it has Bruce Willis in a vest, what's not to like?

Obviously if we're going to watch a family film it is most likely to be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - a classic and always watchable.

But I must just add that in our house the tele stays off on Christmas Day and we play games, go for a walk and enjoy overeating.

Rebekah Chilvers, head of news, Lynn News

Whittling down my favourite Christmas films to just one is actually much harder than you'd expect - The Santa Clause, Love Actually and It's A Wonderful Life are all in my top five.

But The Muppet Christmas Carol from 1992 holds a special place in my heart and I physically can't have a festive season without watching it at least once.

You'd think, upon hearing my choice, that I'd probably first watched it as a child and I must be a huge fan of The Muppets, but you'd be wrong on both accounts.

The first time I ever saw Michael Caine as the cold and grumpy Scrooge coupled with Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit was actually in sixth form when we were winding down for Christmas. And I had never really been bothered by The Muppets by that point (and haven't really been since).

But that particular mixture of puppets and live action, alongside magical story-telling, comedy moments and beautiful songs (One More Sleep 'til Christmas, Thankful Heart and When Love Is Found are standouts for sure) just can't be beaten.



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