By the time you’re reading this, it will officially be the most wonderful time of the year.
Also by this time, Omicron may have officially taken over the entire world—who knows! Either way, I’ve always considered sinking onto the couch with a blanket, your holiday drink of choice and turning on a Christmas movie or two to be the superior way to celebrate the holidays. (Sorry to all of the Christmas-movie contrarians out there, but it doesn’t feel like the holidays until I’ve watched a minimum of three.)
With that above-mentioned variant raging through every province at this point, it’s also the safest and least-stressful way to celebrate this year.
If anyone recalls Halloween, which feels like a lifetime ago at this point, I used this space to provide the community with a definitive ranking of common Halloween treats, from worst to first. Did I make some enemies in the Pique office? Yes. Did I come to work to find some truly terrible candy options waiting for me on my desk? Also yes. Do I regret any of it? Absolutely not.
So, I’ve decided to apply the same formula to 11 Christmas movies and franchises, in the hopes that this will inspire you to turn off the news (briefly) and brighten up your day with some good old-fashioned holiday cheer. And in the hopes that it will once again rile up my usually very agreeable coworkers—nothing like office drama to end the year!
Let’s get into it:
11. Any Hallmark Christmas movie: I’m sure there’s an audience for these, I just don’t know who it is. I’m as big of a fan of movies as cheesy as a charcuterie board as anyone else, but this just pushes it one step too far.
10. Love Actually: I support the premise of this movie, and admit it has a few high points, most of which have to do with Liam Neeson. But do I want to watch Severus Snape basically cheat on Emma Thompson, or Kiera Knightly consider leaving her brand-new husband for his best friend in the name of holiday cheer? Absolutely not. I’ll still watch it most years anyways, but it’s surprisingly depressing.
9. The Santa Clause: Tim Allen’s best work. I won’t go out of my way to pop this in a DVD player, but the plot is pretty ingenious as far as Christmas movies go.
8. Four Christmases: This one’s a bit of a wildcard, but I think it was one of those movies that happens to be played on TV every Christmas. It has a decent humour-to-heartwarming ratio and some honestly underrated jokes.
7. It’s a Wonderful Life: A classic, a staple. Nothing more to add.
6. The Polar Express: Despite the fact that this came out in 2004, long after I’d arrived at a devastating conclusion regarding Santa’s existence, it reminds me of being a tiny kid who still believed in the magic.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Makes me appreciate my crazy-but-definitely-not-this-crazy family. Will never not be funny. For example: “When Santa squeezes his fat white a** down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of a**holes this side of the nuthouse.”
4. Home Alone: Instilled a deep fear of being abandoned by my parents before a family vacation, until I remembered I had one sibling and not 14. Unpopular opinion, but I actually think I might prefer the sequel.
3. Miracle on 34th Street: Falls into the “reminds me of a time when Christmas was the most magical day of the year” category. This ranking applies to both the original and the 1994 remake. The trial is the best part.
2. How The Grinch Stole Christmas: We’re talking about Jim Carrey’s version, specifically. The plot could arguably be construed as problematic in our modern times, depending on how you analyze it. But it’s still funny, whimsical and hits the heartwarming mark about the true reason for the season. Also, Max the dog dressed as a reindeer.
1. Elf: Not just my favourite Christmas movie, but possibly my favourite movie, period. I don’t care what your feelings about Will Ferrell in general are, this movie stands alone as a masterpiece. I still find things to laugh at every few minutes. I refuse to believe that anyone can watch the scene where Buddy finds out Santa is coming to the department store’s “North Pole” and not let out a small chuckle, at minimum. If you call me at any time between Dec. 1 and 25, there is a 75 per cent chance I will answer with “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?” And that’s that.
It’s probably important to note here that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. I say this mostly because I’ve never seen Die Hard, and if you can’t tell by the fact that I’ve just written an entire column dedicated to the subject, I like Christmas movies. I also consider the Nightmare Before Christmas to be a Halloween movie. I can’t explain why, it just is.
On a slightly more serious note, if you’re still reading this I hope you have the happiest holidays with your friends and/or family, and that 2022 brings lots of snow, good times spent with your loved ones, and negative COVID-19 tests.