The newsroom’s favourite festive films

Robin the frog as Tiny Tim (voiced by Jerry Nelson), Kermit the frog as Bob Cratchit (voiced by Steve Whitmire) and Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit (voiced by Frank Oz) in The Muppet Christmas CarolRobin the frog as Tiny Tim (voiced by Jerry Nelson), Kermit the frog as Bob Cratchit (voiced by Steve Whitmire) and Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit (voiced by Frank Oz) in The Muppet Christmas Carol
Robin the frog as Tiny Tim (voiced by Jerry Nelson), Kermit the frog as Bob Cratchit (voiced by Steve Whitmire) and Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit (voiced by Frank Oz) in The Muppet Christmas Carol
After lengthy debate about what defines a Christmas film (is Die Hard allowed?) the reporters in our newsroom have come up with a list of our top films to watch this season.

Black and white classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life, various versions of a Christmas Carol, and of course Home Alone have all made the cut, but there’s some wild cards in there too!

Let us know if you agree with our choices, and tell us what festive flicks you’ll be watching during the Christmas break this year in the comments below.

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In no particular order, here are our top picks of movies to watch at this time of year:

Bill Nighy in Love ActuallyBill Nighy in Love Actually
Bill Nighy in Love Actually

Polar Express (2004) - A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express*

A Christmas Carol (1999) - Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge (Patrick Stewart) receives visits from three Christmas spirits who show him his past, present and future.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) - The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.

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Home Alone (1990) - An eight-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

White ChristmasWhite Christmas
White Christmas

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) - An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

Santa Claus the Movie (1985) - A peasant woodcutter becomes Santa Claus and later foils an evil toy.

Scrooged (1988) - A selfish, cynical TV executive (Bill Murray) is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

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Gremlins (1984) - A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Die Hard (1988) - John McClane (Bruce Willis), officer of the NYPD, tries to save wife Holly Gennaro and several others, taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

The Grinch, also known as Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) - On the outskirts of Whoville, there lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch (Jim Carrey) who plans on ruining the Christmas holiday for all of the citizens of the town.

The Holiday (2006) - Two women (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz) troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other’s countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love.

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The Santa Clause (1994) - When a man (Tim Allen) inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.

Love Actually (2003) - Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London.

Arthur Christmas (2011) - Santa’s clumsy son Arthur gets put on a mission with St Nick’s father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than two hours.

Harry Potter (2001 - 2011) - Follows the adventure of wizard Harry Potter at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as he fights the evil wizard Voldemort.

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The Great Escape (1963) - Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War Two.

The Snowman (1982) - Wordless (save for the song “Walking in the Air”) animated adventure about a young English boy who makes a snowman one Christmas Eve, only for it to come to life that night and take him on a magical adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947 and 1994) - When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.

Harvey (1950) - Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six-foot rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

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Perfect Day (1929) - Laurel and Hardy embark on a disastrous day out.

Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936) - Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers.

White Christmas (1954) - A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general, starring Bing Crosby.

Nativity (2009) - An improvised comedy based around a school nativity play, starring Martin Freeman and introducing the world to the lovable character of Mr Poppy.

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Star Wars (1977 - 1983) - Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot (Harrison Ford as Han Solo), a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from the evil Darth Vader.

Christmas with the Kranks (2004) - With their daughter away, the Kranks (Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen) decide to skip Christmas altogether until she decides to come home, causing an uproar when they have to celebrate the holiday at the last minute.

Escape to Victory (1981) - As allied prisoners of war prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, the French Resistance and British officers are making plans for the team’s escape.

The Italian Job (1969) - Comic caper movie about a plan to steal a gold shipment from the streets of Turin by creating a traffic jam, starring Michael Caine.

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Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but doesn’t quite understand the concept.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Five friends visiting their grandfather’s house in the country are hunted and terrorized by a chain-saw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals.

Trading Places (1983) - A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires, starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.

Jack Frost (1999) - A serial killer dies, comes back as a snowman, and wreaks havoc.

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) - he Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser’s redemption on Christmas Eve, starring Michael Caine as Scrooge.

Bad Santa (2003) - A miserable conman (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve; but they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.

The Ladykillers (1955) - Five diverse oddball criminal types planning a bank robbery rent rooms on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow under the pretext that they are classical musicians.

And finally, one member of the newsroom has been to see Krampus (2015) at the cinema, which he “highly recommends to our readers”. It’s about a boy who has a bad Christmas and ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.

*Descriptions taken from