Curl up in front of the TV over the holidays to watch some of the best Christmas films of them all.
Jingle All the Way (1996)
Arnold Schwarzenegger, starring as busy father Howard Langston, promises his son Jamie that he can have whatever he wants for Christmas. Jamie wants the hottest toy that holiday; the Turbo Man action figure, which Howard should have bought weeks ago. On Christmas Eve, he sets out to buy the toy, promising Jamie he will be back in time for the holiday parade. With Turbo Man being the hottest toy around, Howard becomes more and more desperate and battles with postal worker, Myron Larabee to get his hands on the sold out toy.
Whilst he attempts to make his Jamie’s Christmas, his neighbour, Ted (the perfect man and father) attempts to move in on his wife, Liz. Howard’s desperation culminates in him attempting to steal the Turbo Man figure Ted bought for his own son. Desperate to make amends with his family, Howard rushes to the parade where he sees Ted hitting on Liz.
Whilst Liz escapes Ted, Howard hides from a pursuing policeman and ends up forced into a costume. He is shocked to discover they have mistaken him for the actor to play Turbo Man, so he is now on the float and needs to pick a child to receive a Turbo Man figure; Jamie, but Myron his hot on his heels, stealing the costume of Turbo Man’s arch-enemy, and Howard has to use his Turbo Man persona to save Jamie.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Although many claim the original 1947 film is better, this retelling is so beautifully told that by its conclusion you will find yourself believing in Santa Claus all over again. Child star Mara Wilson stars as Susan, a young girl whose mother, Doreen has told her that Santa Claus is not real. Doreen works as the director of special events for large department store Cole’s and is forced to hire a replacement Santa who looks like the real thing (Richard Attenborough) and insists that is because he is the real thing.
As Kris Kringle (Attenborough) increases sales at Cole’s, the jealous chairman at rival store Shoppers Express sets to destroy the store through their famous Santa. After a so-called violent attack, Kris is arrested and deemed insane, but Susan and Doreen’s neighbour, lawyer Brian defends Kris in court and proves that he is not crazy. Kris thanks Brian, Susan and Doreen by fulfilling their wish of a happy family; Brian marries Doreen and Susan tells them she also asked for a baby brother as they look around a new house Kris has secured for them.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
In the mood for something a bit different? Then Tim Burton is the way to go. Halloween meets Christmas in this crazy tale about understanding the true meaning of the season. Jack Skellington is practically royalty in Halloween town, but when he stumbles across Christmas town, he becomes fascinated by the season of giving and decides to kidnap Santa and take over the job; delivering horrifying gifts to the children of the world. When his plan does not work out though, Jack realises that Santa really is the best person for the job and sets to put everything right.
The Santa Clause (1994), The Santa Clause 2 (2002), The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
Not exactly father of the year, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) must entertain his son, Charlie on Christmas Eve and is shocked that the boy’s step-father, Neil has told him there is no Santa Claus. However, when Scott inadvertently kill Santa Claus, he is forced to take his place and accept a world he does not believe in whilst his son becomes excited by the prospect of his father being Santa Claus.
Scott must prepare for his first full Christmas as Santa whilst his estranged wife, Laura becomes so worried for his sanity that she sues for full custody of their son. The story climaxes with Laura and Neil having to accept Scott’s new identity.
In The Santa Clause 2, Scott discovers a second clause to his contract as Santa Claus – he must find a wife by Christmas Eve. With that and the fact Charlie has managed to get himself on the Naughty List, Scott sets off to take care of his son with the terrible prospect of losing his position hanging over him. Scott unintentionally falls in love with the “scrooge” principal of Charlie’s school, Carol Newman, but when he tries to confess his true identity she is upset by his teasing and cruel behaviour.
Charlie’s horrified to discover his father’s feelings for the hated principal, but realises he has to support him thanks to a few words from his younger half-sister, Lucy. Meanwhile, a toy clone of Scott who is supposed to be maintaining appearances at the North Pole goes mad with power and decides to give all children of the world Coal for Christmas. Scott has to get back to the North Pole to save Christmas whilst Charlie attempts to convince Carol of his father’s true identity.
In The Santa Clause 3, Scott and Carol are expecting their first baby, but with production down and Carol lonely for family, stress levels are rising; also made worse by Jack Frost attempting to upstage Santa. Rather than face dismissal from the council of legendary figures, Jack offers his help to Santa who agrees before setting off to collect his in-laws and also being railroaded by Lucy, Laura and Neil to bring them along.
The North Pole turns into Canada as they try to protect the Secret of Santa from Carol’s parents, but as Jack Frost becomes intent on destruction, Scott becomes more and more busy and neglects his family. Jack learns of The Escape Clause and steals Santa’s snow globe, tricking Scott into holding the globe and wishing he had never become Santa. They both travel back in time and Jack gets to Santa’s coat first.
Back in the present day, Scott is a successful business man who has nothing to do with his family. He discovers that Laura and Neil are divorced and that he and Lucy are visiting the North Pole, which Frost has turned into a theme park. Scott heads to the Pole and is disgusted by the changes, but is determined to get his job as Santa back and enlists the help of Lucy and her love of snow globes to help him.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
A romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman; this story will have you believing in love and soul mates. Lucy (Bullock) is a ticket collector at the train station and as Christmas approaches she is asked to work the holidays as she has no family since the death of her father. However, when she sees a man whom she admires – Peter Callaghan – gets pushed on to the train tracks and saves his life, her life changes dramatically. At the hospital, a nurse believes Lucy is Peter’s fiancée and informs his family that not only is she his fiancée, but she saved his life.
Unable to confess the truth, Lucy goes along with the lie and is warmly accepted by Peter’s family. As she celebrates a late Christmas with the family, she soon meets Peter’s brother Jack and he is immediately suspicious of her. He first becomes convinced she is having an affair, but soon his own feelings for her overwhelm him and Lucy finds she is falling for him also, but panics when Peter regains consciousness. Everyone will find out the truth and hate her.
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)
A straight to video release, this tells the story of Belle’s first Christmas locked up with the Beast. Whilst she becomes excited by the magical time of year, Beast forbids all celebrations. However, even Beast’s mood will not discourage Belle and she sets out to create a beautiful Christmas and even travels to cut down a tree from the forest, but evil Forte (a musician transformed into an organ) fears Belle’s plans will end the spell and return him to his disrespected role within the castle.
When Beast tries to thank Belle for her gift, Forte is determined to tear the couple apart and make sure the spell is never broken.