Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
London Film Festival 2014
Our round-up of the galas, films and interviews
Feature
When To Watch Your Favourite Christmas Movies
A guide to festive viewing this holiday season

submit to reddit

If you’re reading this, you probably quite like Christmas movies. You may even be the kind of person who has done all their Christmas shopping already and wears a reindeer jumper from November onwards. But either way, you have to struggle with a thorny question: when is it OK to watch (or admit to watching) the many Christmas movies out there? When should you programme in Elf, and what’s the right time for It’s A Wonderful Life? For your convenience, we’ve assembled a Christmas timetable below…

WORDS HELEN O'HARA
1
  1 of 1  

Halloween
The Nightmare Before Christmas The Nightmare Before Christmas
The perfect bridge between Halloween (Town) and Christmas (Town), the Henry Selick / Tim Burton stop-motion classic comes into season at the spookiest time of the year.
November
Brazil Brazil
Terry Gilliam's demented dystopian thriller is, technically, a Christmas movie. It just doesn't feel quite like any other, so watch this if you secretly need a Santa fix but can't admit to it.
 
Edward Scissorhands Edward Scissorhands
Another stealth Christmas movie, this seems sunny and non-seasonal through most of its running time before hitting Christmas hard at the end. That final scene will make you impatient for snow.
 
Lethal Weapon Lethal Weapon
Shane Black has a peculiar obsession with Christmas – most of his scripts feature the holiday – and after all the mayhem, here there are presents and a tree and family togetherness. Hurrah!
Thanksgiving
Miracle On 34th Street Miracle On 34th Street
The fourth Thursday in November is America's Thanksgiving, and since Miracle On 34th Street starts with the Thanksgiving Parade, it's now in season. Original or remake: your call. (You might also choose purely Thanksgiving movies here: Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Pieces Of April and The Ice Storm are options.)
Early Dec
Meet Me In St Louis Meet Me In St. Louis
This story takes place year-round, with an aggressively pastel spring section. But it works well to start December because of that knockout Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas in the third act.
 
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Another Shane Black Christmas joint, this comedy noir is smart, sarky and sees Michelle Monaghan wear a sexy Santa costume for much of the running time, if that's your bag. For everyone else, there's Robert Downey Jr.
 
Batman Returns Batman Returns
As the Christmas lights are switched on by C-list celebrities, watch this and reflect that they probably could have found someone dumber for the job – and the Penguin could have murdered her.
Before Xmas Shopping
Scrooged Scrooged
You're going to need a dose of Dickens' Christmas Carol to get through the shopping experience without losing your mind / goodwill towards men, and this one's just cynical enough to be useful even early in the month.
 
Bad Santa Bad Santa
If braving the high street has left you snarling, you will feel right at home with Willie's attitude here. But it will also perk you up and restore your faith by the end, so it's a double win.
Putting Up Decorations
Christmas Vacation Christmas Vacation
Your lights may have tangled themselves since last year and your tree may mysteriously list to one side, but we can guarantee that Clark Griswold has it worse than you. This will put things in perspective.
 
Elf Elf
Will Ferrell's dementedly good-natured starring turn will put whatever decorating you do to shame, but only a son of a nutcracker could possibly hold out against its Christmas spirit.
After The
Office Party
Trading Places Trading Places
You may have decided you can't bear your boss after making you conga twice around the pub, but at least he or she didn't make you destitute and homeless for a bet. We hope.
Mid Dec
While You Were Sleeping While You Were Sleeping
When you're dreading the prospect of time with your family, watch this and remember that it's better to have a family than not. As a bonus, contains Bill Pullman explaining how to lean.
Late Dec
The Muppet Christmas Carol The Muppet Christmas Carol
The definitive adaptation of Dickens' classic tale, at least as far as we're concerned, this will remind you what's important this time of year, and also to be nice to small frogs.
Xmas Eve
It's A Wonderful Life It's A Wonderful Life
The quintessential Christmas movie, this will put anyone and everyone in the right frame of mind for a perfect Christmas. It's the attempted suicide, grinding despair and yet happy ending that gets us every time.
Xmas Day
Die Hard Die Hard
Because nothing says goodwill to men like slaying terrorists and swinging off buildings on a fire hose.
1
 
1 of 1
 

Have Your Say
Register or login now to let us know what you think.

Your Comments

21 RE:
ly agree with all of these and make a habit of watching Trading Places, While You Were Sleeping, The Muppet Xmas Carol and Die Hard religiously every holiday season (as well as out of season). re is one film which is definitely missing from the list: Love Actually. I know it's schmaltzy Christmas goo... but it's British goo and has great comic timing (I'm not even going to mention Selfridges and holly) and really get's one revved up for the season. Recommended watching: 1st week of Advent.ote] No,,. just no. More

Posted by xzynomorpher on Tuesday December 4, 2012, 19:26

22
Why would any Brits be arsed about Thanksgiving? More

Posted by Charles B. Potatoes on Tuesday December 4, 2012, 19:03

23 What about...
You were dreading this, weren't you? Where we point out all the films you missed and shout "HOW COULD WE FORGET THAT?!" in the middle of the office. Case in point: Gremlins. Definitely mid-to-late December. More

Posted by The Tingler on Tuesday December 4, 2012, 18:45

24 Where's the love?
I totally agree with all of these and make a habit of watching Trading Places, While You Were Sleeping, The Muppet Xmas Carol and Die Hard religiously every holiday season (as well as out of season). But there is one film which is definitely missing from the list: Love Actually. I know it's schmaltzy Christmas goo... but it's British goo and has great comic timing (I'm not even going to mention Selfridges and holly) and really get's one revved up for the season. Recommended watching: 1st week of Advent. More

Posted by Rizzla7024 on Tuesday December 4, 2012, 15:39

Previous Page

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast: David Ayer Talks Fury
Plus Steve Carell talks Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Avengers: Age Of Ultron Trailer Reaction
We dive under the hood of Whedon's sequel teaser

10 Of The Most Impressive In-Universe Movie Tie-In Websites
From Blair Witch to Days Of Future Past, expand your cinematic horizons online

The 12 Apps Every Film Fan Needs On Their Smartphone
The handheld essentials to enhance your movie life

Empire Meets Jason Bateman And Tina Fey
The stars of This Is Where I Leave You hang out

The Scariest Film Of The Year? Jennifer Kent On The Babadook
The director talks us through her terrifying new film

10 Horror Spin-Offs We Want To See
After Annabelle, what other supporting characters deserve their own film?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)