The Christmas season gives us all a little extra time to relax and enjoy a good movie. Everyone should try to set some time aside to watch at least one movie that puts you in the holiday spirit! From comedies to dramas, this list of heartwarming films will surely have you and your friends full of Christmas cheer.
No list can ever be complete and neither do I suggest that these are the “top ten” Christmas films.
Some aren’t even set at Christmas, but they are a selection of some good ‘Christmassy’ films you will find enjoyable this holiday season.
13 Movies For Catholics To Watch This Christmas:
1. Joyeux Noel
“We were talking about a cease fire, for Christmas Eve. What do you think? The outcome of this war won’t be decided tonight. I don’t think anyone would criticize us for laying down our rifles on Christmas Eve.”
The tender strains of Stille Nacht reaching across the frozen wasteland of No-Man’s Land in a rare moment when the guns have fallen silent is a well known image of the 1914 Christmas Truce. This beautiful film does not disappoint as it tells the story of the unofficial truce that occurred during the first Christmas in the trenches of the First World War in 1914, a brief moment of peace in four long and bloody years. It is shown from the perspectives of German, French and British soldiers and reminds us of the reality that “without enemies, there can be no war”
2. The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
“Narnia! It’s all in the wardrobe like I told you!”
It is no great secret that C.S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia were based strongly on Christian themes and the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is no different. Four young British children enter the magical world of Narnia (through the back of a wardrobe, no less) and discover a world that is ‘always winter, but never Christmas’ for Narnia is under the grip of the icy White Witch and tyranny abounds. The four children must face their greatest fears and helped by a band of weird and wonderful creatures, bring Narnia back to its rightful state. A fun, enjoyable film that presents the themes of the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Christ’s atonement in a way that children can understand. It is a great one for adults too though!
3. The Book Thief
“Write. In my religion we’re taught that every living thing, every leaf, every bird, is only alive because it contains the secret word for life. That’s the only difference between us and a lump of clay. A word. Words are life, Liesel.”
A heartbreakingly beautiful film of an even better book, the Book Thief tells the story of nine year old Liesel who lives in Nazi Germany. During the horrors of war and amid blossoming and beautiful friendships she learns to read and develops a penchant for stealing books. Whether she knows it or not, this clandestine book-stealing is a tiny gasp for freedom and resistance in a world that is increasingly closing in on her. A film that touches on the meaning of words in our world and the life that can come from them- a great film to help you ponder the wonder of the Incarnation.
4. About a Boy
“Me, I didn’t mean anything. About anything, to anyone. And I knew that guaranteed me a long, depression-free life.”
Will Freeman is a man who lives off the royalties of his father’s famous hit Christmas song. He lives an affluent, comfortable life, with no ties or any sense of responsibilities until his life crosses paths with that of twelve year old Marcus. Marcus, who experiences troubles at home and school, haunts Will, who begins to realize he has to make a choice about whether to become involved or not. A funny, realistic story of a man discovering how much we all have to learn and that “no man is an island”. Warning: Watch this film at your own risk! There is a high level of swearing, crude language and profanity in it.
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
“I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened…So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, besides the will of evil.”
With all that free time over Christmas (depending on your role in the household!) it is a great time to discover, or rediscover, the series of the Lord of the Rings. Now a whopping fourteen years old, it is the perfect reminder of the importance of facing the forces of evil, no matter how big they may feel and how small we may be. It is the story of a humble hobbit who must carry a great burden that will decide the fate of his entire world- but not without the help of his friends and the reminder of the power of good over evil. A great film for our times.
“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”
Hugo is an orphan who lives behind the walls of a station in Paris during the 1930s. His greatest mission in life is to find the key that will unlock the mechanical man that his late father made. The quest for this key takes him on many adventures and along the way he discovers the beauty of life and the truth that no one is created as a mistake.
7. It’s a Wonderful Life
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Here it is, you knew it would be on this list somewhere! Attempting to commit suicide on Christmas Eve, George Bailey is visited by an angel who takes him through his life and shows him what it would have been like had he never been in existence. It is truly a wonderful reminder that our role here on Earth is important and we impact others in ways we may never fully be aware of.
8. A Christmas Carol
“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.”
There are many adaptations of Charles Dicken’s classic novella ‘A Christmas Carol’ but many people find the 1938 version to be the best (or for a fun alternative, try the Muppet’s Christmas Carol which is surprisingly faithful to the book). A Christmas Carol tells the story of an old miser who cares nothing about the people around him. In one terrifying night on Christmas Eve, he is visited by three spirits who show him the errors of his ways and the ultimate price he will pay for them if he doesn’t change them. A classic story that reminds us of the importance behind the true meaning of Christmas and the miracle that is redemption.
9. The Polar Express
“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things are those you can’t see.”
The Polar Express is a movie that captivates not only children, but also adults. It tells the story of a young boy who is having doubts about the existence of Santa. On Christmas Eve, The Polar Express stops at his house and he embarks on a journey he will never forget. Many lessons can be taken away from this animated adventure to the North Pole.
10. The Family Man
“Don’t screw up the best thing in your life just because you’re a little unsure about who you are.”
Jack Campbell has led a successful career living a high paced life on Wall Street, but wakes up unexpectedly one morning to find himself with a wife and family. He recognizes his once college sweetheart is now his wife, but has no idea what happened to his high profile career and lifestyle. The new Jack is a “Family Man” who changes diapers, takes part in bowling leagues, and passionately loves his wife. Parents will appreciate the comedic aspect of this movie. Jack has gained an opportunity to see what his life would have been had he chose love over a career. Once again he will be forced to make that decision. A beautiful story that reminds us what we should value most in life.
11. Yellow Day
Yellow Day focuses on themes of miracles, virtue and discovering the masterpiece God created within each of us. Designed with kids and families in mind, Yellow Day is partly animated, partly live-action. The story line draws inspiration from true stories in the outreach community, showing how physical disability, sickness and brokenness cannot hide the light and joy God has placed within each of us. This Christmas, choose a film that engages the audience and triggers meaningful conversations with your children. Find a theater near you, here.
“[Prayers] are not always answered in the way that you want, but they’re always answered.”
“For years, the small town of Grundy, Va. has relied on the Peyton family to provide the highlight of the year—the annual Christmas pageant. When Matthew Peyton (Ryan O’Quinn) inherits the family business, the responsibility of the Christmas pageant also falls on his shoulders. But as financial hardships fall on the town, Matthew finds himself overwhelmed. As his business profits plummet and his workers begin to strike, Matthew is forced to make a decision between selling the family business and cancelling the beloved pageant or sticking out hardships despite his rapidly declining popularity in the community. Through chance events, Matthew meets Clarence (Issac Ryan Brown), a boy who believes in miracles, and his mother Sharon (Danielle Nicolet). His newfound friends impact Matthew’s life in a way he never thought possible and teach him to believe and give faith a chance.” – taken from Believe website
13. And Finally, the One just for Fun! Elf
“I thought maybe we could make gingerbread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands.”
Buddy is a Christmas elf who lives and works in Santa’s Workshops at the North Pole. One year he discovers that his real father is a human who lives in New York. He makes the trip to visit him but discovers much to his disappointment that his father isn’t interested in Christmas at all. Shenanigans ensue as Buddy tries to bring the spirit of Christmas to everyone around him. A great fun, innocent movie for all the family.
We hope you’ll find a moment to make some hot chocolate, pop some popcorn, and relax while enjoying one of these wonderful films this Christmas.
What are some of your favorite Christmas movies? Please share with us in the comments!