Winter treats – the non-Christmas films that get you in the festive mood
It’s that time of year again – the time of year where Christmas articles constantly start with “It’s that time of year again” – and amid the stress and pressure of the winter season, there are plenty of ways to calm down and have time to yourself. Some choose to read, others immerse themselves in online games to rediscover that thrill that Christmas brings. For most people, however, a couple of hours in front of a movie is all they need.
Best watched in front of a roaring fire, there are a whole host of Christmas films approaching to keep the festive spirit alive, from modern favourites like “Love Actually” and “Elf” to the icons that are “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “The Snowman”. As well as films specifically about Christmas, however, there are some films that get you in the mood despite having no relevance to the winter holiday, and it’s these gems that this article seeks to praise.
Most prominent in the modern age of cinema is the animated film, and at Christmas time, Disney’s Pixar reigns supreme. The warmth and fullness that each Pixar film is crafted with makes it perfect for a wintry afternoon, and since John Lasseter and co rarely put a foot wrong, you really are spoilt for choice at Christmas.
Be it the fabulous “Toy Story” series, “Up”, “The Incredibles”, “Ratatouille” or any other of their creations, children and parents will be entertained, with their Christmas spirit undiminished. It’s also fair to mention the ever-present “Shrek”, and while Dreamworks’ tired attempt to cash in on the holiday season with “Shrek the Halls” somewhat takes the shine off things, the original film remains a classic alternative fairy tale helmed by great vocal performances by Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. If you were looking for something a little older, the original Disney fairytales offer beautifully crafted stories, while a healthy dose of Wallace and Gromit always does the trick on a Sunday afternoon.
Then you have classics, films that appear timeless to this very day. Take 1991 crime drama “Bugsy” – despite Warren Beatty’s Bugsy Siegel living in the Flamingo Casino in Vegas (if he was alive today he would most likely be hooked on broad online casinos like Red Stag rather than have his feet up in front of the fire), you’re gripped by Bugsy’s story until the bitter end. On a different note, it’s likely that the tradition of watching “The Sound of Music” at any given holiday will be passed on from generation to generation, and quite rightly so, with top quality musical material penned by Rodgers and Hammerstein and a delightful central performance by everyone’s favourite well-spoken star, Julie Andrews.
Talking of Andrews, no Christmas would be complete without a hearty rendition of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and a good old laugh at Dick Van Dyke’s horrible cockney accent in the Disney classic “Mary Poppins”. There’s just too much good feeling to stop yourself from feeling generous, and the charming sets, songs and animations make this feel brightly nostalgic. Additionally, the heartfelt cry at the end of “The Railway Children” leaves very few dry eyes, and is a wonderful world to get lost in.
The fact that all these films and more are shown every year at Christmas time means that they become their own holiday tradition – watching the Harry Potter series can become as much of a routine as pulling crackers, playing charades or having a cheeky bet on the winter football schedule. It’s part of your daily life, and the best part is that you don’t feel guilty, as it’s a holiday treat!
If you’re looking for top quality film-making that is both family friendly and embodies the Christmas spirit this winter, never fear – with the television schedules, you’re in safe hands.