The R&H Top Seven Christmas Movies-
Is there anything better to get you in the mood for Christmas than a mug of steaming hot chocolate with mini marshmallows on top, cosied up on the sofa, in front of a roaring fire and in the glow of the tree's fairy lights, watching some of the best, most heart-warming Christmas movies of all time?
There are certain films I have to watch every holiday season, and I do get quite edgy if the big day looms and they haven’t all been watched.
Now I know seven is an odd number but these are MY essentials. I couldn’t leave one out, and I also didn’t wish to shoehorn some in just to make up numbers. This is my ultimate list.
A musical version of Cinderella from 1976, starring the classically handsome Richard Chamberlain and then star of the West End, Gemma Craven. It features a cast of venerable British actors you’ll recognise and has some of the best songs ever. Fact. There was a time when I would watch this movie every single day after I got home from school. Rumours that I used to wear my hair long with a little bun on top to look like Craven as Cinderella are completely true. A gorgeous Saturday afternoon of a movie.
This 1947 original with Cary Grant, David Niven and the luminescent Loretta Young is simply heaven. It’s a gorgeous black and white movie and possibly my favourite in this list. Cary Grant is sublime and I long for the simplicity of a world where the only item on one’s Christmas list is a new hat with velvet and satin ribbons ( I do wish formal hats would make a comeback) and you pop out to do your shopping on Christmas Eve but also enjoy a spot of afternoon ice skating at the park. It’s funny, heart-warming and features a never-ending sherry bottle - now that there is my idea of heaven!
It is the 1994 remake that is my favourite rather than the original. For its duration I allow myself to day dream about being Dorey Walker, where I live in an amazing flat overlooking Central Park in New York, which seems to be decorated completely in cream, and sashay around in cashmere coats all day. There’s the sad bit I can never watch where Father Christmas is in jail, and I always have to ‘just pop out to make a cup of tea’ at that point. But if believing means Father Christmas buys me a stunning home and decorates it beautifully then I am firmly in the I BELIEVE camp.
My husband only watched this film once we had moved out to the country and as Kate Winslet’s cottage appeared in view, it caused him to stand up and shout ‘That’s our cottage’. Little did he know that it was watching this film whilst we were still living in London that made me realise we had to stop talking about moving to the country and just do it. Directed by Nancy Meyers who always has the most gorgeous houses and dreamy interior set designs ( I could write an entire blog on her films alone) I usually watch this just to drool over the interiors of Kate Winslet’s beautiful bijou cottage and Jude Law’s gorgeous home and spend time daydreaming over how to create his two daughters magical bedroom tent in my own cottage! And if that makes no sense to you, watch the movie!!!
This film is one of mixed emotions for me. As a film itself, I am not a massive fan, BUT my father worked on it and so we’d watch it every year whilst he punctuated each scene with details like, “I was under the table for this bit” and “oh it was a cold day by the Thames that day”. He’s no longer with us now and I miss him so much I simply can't not watch this movie if its on, just to feel him close for a second. It is also the only movie in this list THAT I AM IN! Yes I know! So I worked as an extra for a few days whilst I was home from Uni for the holidays. I always loved going to work with Dad - he was such a legend and spending time with him on set was an absolute treat. SO, you’re wondering where I am . . . Well I’m at the airport scene where Sam has chased the American girl to tell her he loves her. I am the passenger boarding just before the girl and her family. The plane was made of PAPIER - MACHE I seem to recall. Depending on which version is shown I’m either visible for 5 seconds or 10 but either way blink and you miss me but I always get texts from friends whenever it’s shown which I find amusing!
Oh so charming and full of the real childish joys of believing in the jolly fella in the big red suit. I usually watch this movie whilst wrapping up my presents. Will Ferrell is watchable in pretty much anything but there is something special about this film. I still laugh at scenes I've watched a million times and Elf's enthusiasm for Christmas and Santa is just infectious. Sometimes as an adult, amidst all the pressures we place on ourselves to bake mince pies, dress the house, and find everyone the perfect present, it's a good idea to just sit and remember what the real joy of Christmas is: Family, Love & Spreading Good Cheer.
I have to finish this list on this movie because if you can watch Michael Caine as Scrooge ‘sing’ A Thankful Heart at the end of it and not feel joy then you are cold my friend and need a little visit from the Ghost of Christmas Present methinks! This movie has everything - Muppets, Kermit in particular, catchy songs AND a singing Michael Caine. What more could you possibly want? This is one movie we and the littles can all sit through and watch together. It’s joyous and wonderful and always makes me want to run out and buy the biggest turkey and share it with the entire village which is truly the spirit of Christmas.
And in the wise words of the muppets in the final song from the film,
"In all the places you find love
It feels like Christmas"