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December 16, 2020

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Touchwood PR’s Favourite Holiday Films

This December will likely be different for most of us, with quieter, more intimate gatherings in place of the usual busy schedule of holiday parties and dinners with countless members of your extended family. But despite the adjustments we will all have to make this season, hopefully the holidays will be able to provide a sense of comfort, familiarity and tradition in a year that was anything but normal. 

Here at Touchwood PR, we are always watching new films, keeping up with the latest entertainment news, and chatting with our co-workers about the movies, TV shows and web series creating buzz in our industry. But when the holidays roll around, we often look to familiar favourites to get in the holiday spirit… even if we’ve seen them a thousand times. These movies might not be critically acclaimed or box office hits, but they certainly bring us a sense of tradition, comfort, and dare I say… holiday cheer? 

I surveyed the Touchwood PR staff to find out which holiday film they keep coming back to, year after year, global pandemic or not.

1. Love Actually (2003) – Michelle + Steph

In this early 2000s holiday rom-com, Love Actually shows different aspects of love during Christmas time in London. With a star-studded cast and both heartwarming and heartbreaking storylines, Love Actually has become a modern-day Christmas classic. This was Michelle and Steph’s pick for their favourite holiday film. 

“From the Hugh Grant dancing scene to the Keira Knightley note-card scene, it brings a smile to my face every time I watch it.” – Michelle

“My mom, sister and I watch this movie pretty much every year. The best scenes for me have to be between Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman – the acting is incredible even though their story is so heartbreaking.” – Steph

Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube and the iTunes store.

2. A Christmas Story (1983) – Lauren

In this classic comedy holiday film, Ralphie Parker reminisces on one particular Christmas when he was nine years old and all he wanted was a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. The film is presented as a series of vignettes set in Indiana in the 1940s of the shenanigans Ralphie and his family and friends get up to.  

“This movie reminds me of growing up because my parents always loved watching it leading up to the holidays. As I got older, I grew to enjoy the movie even more and found it absolutely hilarious as an adult. For me, it’s a combination of the memories associated with watching it along with genuinely appreciating it as a standalone holiday must-watch.”

Where to watch: Rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, and iTunes

3. The Santa Clause Series (1994, 2002, 2006) – Shima

When divorced dad Scott Calvin accidentally causes the death of a man in a Santa suit, he and his son are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas arrives. Over three films, Scott embraces the role of Santa Claus and helps save Christmas despite threats from villains including Toy Santa and Jack Frost. 

“My family celebrated Christmas because of me and my sister. All of our classmates did – it was the norm. I don’t have a particular attachment to Christmas except for this series – I would watch it every year with my younger sister and we would play the special features on the DVDs. More than anything I think I love it for the nostalgia.”

Where to watch: Watch with a subscription on Disney+, and rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and iTunes

4. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – Jane and Meg

Both Jane and Meg picked How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the holiday film based on the famous Dr. Seuss book of the same name. The movie stars Jim Carrey as the title character who is intent on crushing the Christmas spirit of the townspeople of Whoville.  

Jane: “As a child, this movie always got me in the holiday spirit so watching it as an adult gives me the greatest feeling of nostalgia.”

Meg: “We watched it every year growing up, so it brings back fun memories of Christmas as a kid!”

Where to watch: Rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and iTunes

5. Home Alone (1990) – Jen

This holiday classic follows eight-year-old Kevin who must defend his home from two burglars, Harry and Marv, after his family accidentally leaves him behind on their vacation.

“Besides the fact that it’s nostalgic magic, it’s SO quotable. I like to use “You’re what the French call, ‘les incompétents’!” on a daily basis.”

Where to watch: Watch on Disney+ with a subscription, rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and iTunes

6. Elf (2003) – Susan

Susan’s favourite holiday film is Elf, which centres on Buddy, a human who was adopted and raised by Santa’s elves. When he learns the truth about his past, he heads to New York City to meet his biological father while also spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics.

“I am a huge fan of Will Ferrel and Jon Favreau, and together, they created magic with this super creative story. I also really love Ed Asner and Bob Newhart too – a total blast from the past and they were so great in it.”

Where to watch: Rent on YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime and iTunes

7. Little Women (1994) – Keira

Keira’s favourite holiday film is Little Women, the 1994 film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel. The film focuses on the March sisters: responsible Meg, tempestuous Jo, tender Beth, and romantic Amy, who are growing up in Concord, Massachusetts during and after the American Civil War. With their father away fighting in the war, the girls struggle with teenage-hood under the guidance of their strong-willed mother.

“This movie is all things cozy! It has family, love, compassion, feminism and is 100% sure to make you bawl. The 2019 remake from Greta Gerwig is a close second, but you can’t beat the nostalgia and peak 90s cast from Gillian Armstrong’s adaptation.”

Where to watch: Watch on Amazon Prime with a subscription, rent on YouTube, Google Play and iTunes

8. The Holiday (2006) – Hayley

Hayley picked The Holiday, a 2006 romantic comedy film written, produced and directed by Nancy Meyers. The film stars Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as Iris and Amanda, two lovelorn women from opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, who arrange a home exchange to escape heartbreak during the holiday season. 

“Honestly, it’s just so good, and it never gets old! I watch it with my mom every year, and I always look forward to it. It’s just such a great rom-com, and I’m a sucker for a film with a happy ending. It’s the perfect, cozy holiday film.” – Hayley

Where to watch: Watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime with a subscription, rent on YouTube, Google Play, and iTunes

9. Beauty and the Beast (1991) – Alma

In this Disney classic, a prince who was magically transformed into a monster imprisons a young woman named Belle in his castle. To break the curse, Beast must learn to love Belle, and earn her love in return. While not necessarily considered a Christmas classic, Alma said she selected it because it “brings love and warmth to my heart and also leaves you with some important lessons as you reflect on the past year and start a new chapter.”

Where to watch: Watch on Disney+ with a subscription, rent on Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime and iTunes

10. Last Holiday (2006) – Judy

In this feel-good holiday movie, overly cautious and shy Georgia discovers she has a terminal illness, prompting her to make the most of her last days. Upbeat and passionate, Georgia charms everybody she meets but the only one missing from her new life is her long-time crush Sean Matthews (LL Cool J).

“Queen Latifah and LL Cool Jay together in a rom-com – what more is there to say?! This movie is silly and totally over-the-top but there are such powerful, universal messages at its heart – about embracing life fully, kindness and mindfulness, and looking for miracles – that still resonate, perhaps even more so this year.”  

Where to watch: Watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime with a subscription, rent on YouTube and Google Play

11. The Family Stone (2006) – Andréa

The film revolves around the misadventures of the Stone family when Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) brings home his uptight fiancée Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) to meet his bohemian Connecticut family for Christmas. 

“The ensemble cast is perfect. The sentiment is wonderful – funny, heartbreaking and touching.”

Where to watch: Watch on Amazon Prime with a subscription, rent on YouTube and Google Play

Christmas, Film, Holidays, Movies, Staff Picks