It’s December 25. And although it’s already past midday, the dining table is still full of assorted food – from the almost halved roasted chicken that Uncle Bob won’t give up devouring, to the delicious chicken casserole of Aunt Linda that everyone can’t stop craving, or Mom’s chocolate fudge and holiday cookies that the kids won’t stop eating.
Christmas, indeed is the best time of the year; it is the best time where we can eat our body weight into everything, stay tipsy (without being scolded) and be lazy for the rest of the day. And when everyone seems too settled in and full from the holiday’s feasting, now is the time to park yourself in front of the television (or laptop), grab your quilt, bury yourself in pillows in that bed-turned-sofa and stick on a feel-good Christmas movie.
Watching movies on Christmas is one great and traditional bonding activity with family and friends. It somehow retunes everyone to relax and have fun, and forget about the stress outside the coziness of home. And mind you, if you’re a picky movie watcher, the spirit of Christmas would somehow transform you momentarily; for all genre of movies are worth revisiting during the holidays, so it would not, in any way, prompt an argument in the household. Christmas movies don’t have to be critically acclaimed Cannes-winning films; they just have to be entertaining and often hitting our sentimental cheesy spot.
So this week, I will try my best to guide you out from the darkness of those sexual and psychological series that I have been binge-watching – and writing – the past weeks, and let’s reprogramme our watching habit into these no-brainer, feel-good, nostalgic movies that you can soak in on Christmas day.
THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES
First on the list is Netflix’s ‘The Christmas Chronicles’. The film stars almost the entire family of Kurt Russell who plays the role of Santa Claus, his wife Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus, their son Oliver Hudson who plays the fireman Doug Pierce, Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy’s (Judah Lewis) father, who died while saving others in a fire. As the patriarch, Doug (Hudson) has been the sort of Santa Claus in the family, as he would always initiate traditional Christmas works of decorating, cooking and merry-making. And when the family celebrates their first Christmas without their dad, each of them struggles to bring back the Christmas spirit in their home.
Teddy (Lewis), now a disbeliever of Santa, starts to grow distant from his sister Kate (Camp), who keeps on hoping that Santa will be able to see her video-taped wish for Christmas; while their mom (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) has succumbed herself to work, trying to make both ends meet.
But on Christmas Eve, the family never expects that an unusual incident involving them (particularly the kids) will change their lives forever. Teddy and Kate accidently catch Santa in the act of distributing gifts. When Santa passes through one of the chimneys in the neighbourhood, the kids creep and hide into Santa’s sleigh, thus causing a complete mayhem, as Santa’s sleigh crashes, down leaving his reindeers all scattered sporadically in places and his bag of gifts missing. And the adventure begins, as Teddy and Kate join forces with Santa Claus (Russell) to do anything (even stealing an already stolen car) just to find the missing reindeers and distribute the gifts to the children before sunrise. In short, the trio’s consequential job for the night is to save Christmas!
With a much healthier-portrayed (as Santa complains in the movie why he is always drawn to have a fat belly) Santa, who says that his notable catchphrase ‘Ho Ho Ho’ is a total ‘fake news’, ‘The Christmas Chronicles’ is your magical adventure holiday movie that will remind you about how incomplete Christmas would be without presents (at least for the kids and a few grown-ups) and of course, Santa Claus. It would take us back to our childhood memories of waking up early, with utmost excitement, to open our Christmas presents under the tree or inside the stockings – and the value of the gifts would depend, of course, if we have been ‘naughty or nice’.
THE PRINCESS SWITCH
Now if you still haven’t gotten over Harry and Meghan’s inspiring love story of a prince falling in love with a commoner, then you will definitely enjoy another Netflix’s Christmas romantic comedy offering, ‘The Princess Switch’. Starring Vanessa Hudgens, who plays both roles of the broken-hearted baker Stacy DeNovo and the silently adventurous Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro, ‘The Princess Switch’ is one of Netflix’s royal narratives that has hit high viewership upon its release a month ago.
This royal tale follows the romance of regular baker Stacy (Hudgens) who falls in love with Prince Edward (Sam Palladio) of the fictional Kingdom of Belgravia. This happens when Stacy switches places with Duchess Margaret (Hudgens), the prince’s real fiancée, after the two discover that they could be possibly related from a distant lineage.
‘The Princess Switch’ could be the modern romantic version of ‘The Parent Trap’ meets ‘Princess Diaries’. It is going to be a perfect movie snuggle for hopeless romantics. Although the story delicately spins around the issue of trust (Yes! How would you like to be deceived by your own fiancée?), but the characters and the development of the storyline are delightful enough to feed your romantic blues.
With a world that is so obsessed with the royalties, ‘The Princess Switch’ is yet another typical romantic movie that will suffice your fantasies of what it is like to suddenly become a princess, or accidentally meeting your prince or just simply exploring the possibility of meeting your own real-life doppelganger. Yes, it’s not your Emmy-worthy kind of watch, but this movie will surely give you the rush of romantic excitement and will leave you traces of smile.
But if it’s nostalgia and laughter rolled into one movie that you are looking forward to binge-watch this Christmas season, then there is no holiday film that is more spectacular and hilarious than Chris Columbus’ 1990 classic movie, ‘Home Alone’.
For those who have no clue about this movie (like, seriously?!), ‘Home Alone’ is a coming-of-age story of 8-year-old-boy Kevin McCallister, played by the talented Macaulay Culkin, who is left to fend for himself and strategically fight the burglars that are about to break in their home. How did this possibly happen? Well, in a ridiculously rare family scenario, Kevin (Culkin) is accidentally and mistakenly left behind by his parents, who have been too overwhelmed tracking 11 other kids in the family, when they fly to Paris for a Christmas vacation.
Instead of mocking the negligence of Kevin’s parents, the film gives viewers hilarious entertainment through the series of funny antics that Kevin (Culkin) pulls off in order to survive – that includes gulping everything he likes to eat, from ice cream to all sorts of junk foods, without being reprimanded by someone; watching his chosen TV shows all by himself, commanding orders in the household and be able to say bad words. ‘Home Alone’ will definitely give you a good laugh this Christmas; and if your heart wants more (which I’m sure will), then you can go ahead and watch the other four ‘Home Alone’ sequels.
So, get ready with your chilled wine or soda, chips and popcorn, pucker all your pillows, clutch your most comfy blanket, turn off your phone, and allow yourself to get filled up with Christmas cheer through these inspiring, comical, dreamy movies this holiday.