Festive Favourites

Image Credit: Georgia Vagim via Unsplash

Members of the Observer's Editorial Team share their festive favourites in time for the coming holiday season.

Love Actually (2003) - Lucy Warmington (Food & Drink Editor) 

Come December, I will be (re)watching the heart-wrenching, seductive, LGBTQ+ character-led (no spoilers), inspired by somewhat true events, Christmas classic that is Love Actually, and I think you should too. I will never understand the hate this film gets. It has an all-star cast and is a genius mix of comedy, love, and pornstar body doubles. Bill Nighy creates a Christmas banger, then tells kids how to get free drugs, Hugh Grant dances offensively through Downing Street, and Colin Firth jumps fully clothed into a lake for love. I strongly believe this film should not be taken seriously, at any point. Love Actually ... To me, you are perfect. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - Emily Sheehy (Arts & Creativity Editor) 

Some questions will always be divisive. Does pineapple belong on pizza? Are tomatoes a vegetable or a fruit? And finally, is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween or Christmas movie? I would argue that it is perfect for both seasons; great to watch in late October to get you in the mood for both Halloween and Christmas. A favourite of alternative kids everywhere, Tim Burton’s masterpiece combines cosy, holiday cheer with spooky claymation and musical numbers. The character designs and songs are truly iconic, and still popular thirty years after its initial release. 

The Polar Express (2004) - Oisin Gaffey (Sports Editor) 

Without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite Christmas film of all time has to be The Polar Express. When this film was released in 2004, I was two years old and living in Canada, where a ‘white Christmas’ was very much a reality. I remember staring out the window on Christmas Eve in the hope that I too would get a chance to ride The Polar Express to the North Pole. Although this film certainly has its flaws, note the numerous creepy characters and the anxiety-inducing ice scene, watching this movie every Christmas Eve has become a tradition for myself and my siblings. Worth noting is the iconic ‘Hot Chocolate’ scene. If you know, you know.

Violent Night (2022) - Tessa Ndjonkou (Editor) 

David Harbour stuns as … sexy … murderous … Santa? Yeah. It shocked me too. But if you’re looking for a Christmas movie that strays from the road usually taken and takes a drastic left turn into absurdity and senseless violence, you’re in for a treat. Ultimately, the film is a hilarious, well-paced, roundabout way of revelling in the spirit of Christmas. It’s got all the hallmarks we all know and love: from family (drama), to Christmas decorations (impaled assassins are a must-have addition), and my, even old Scrooge makes an appearance! There’s something for almost every member of the family, but maybe not for your younger siblings … 

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004) - Laura Molloy (Literature & Drama Editor) 

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas is an animated Christmas Anthology film comprising five stories. Bells on Ice focuses on an ice-skating competition between Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse, generating tension between the two friends. Christmas: Impossible features young ducklings Huey, Dewey, and Louie travelling to the North Pole, to earn their place on the nice list after some mischievous behaviour at Uncle Scrooge’s dinner. Max Goof tries to free himself from embarrassment in Christmas Maximus when he comes home with his girlfriend for the holidays. Donald’s Gift highlights Donald Duck's wish for peace during the festivities. The final piece shows Mickey searching for Pluto after a dispute over Christmas decorations in Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas. All five stories reveal that the greatest gift to receive is love. A perfect watch for all ages!