These underrated holiday films need more recognition

By Rukayah Hussein

It is that time of the year again. Starbucks brought back their holiday cups a few weeks ago, Christmas music is on repeat throughout every department store, and the end of the semester is drawing to a close. It is the holiday season once again, which means it is time for a holiday movie marathon. Even for those who do not celebrate Christmas, the holiday spirit in the air is enough reason to recreate Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas watch schedule. For myself, this time of year is when I like to rewatch old classics and even movies that are not explicitly Christmas movies but embrace the holiday’s vibes.

For many, as soon as December 1st rolls around, it is time for an annual “Harry Potter” movie marathon. The “Harry Potter” series has plenty of scenes set around Christmas time, even though they are not actual Christmas films. From drinking butterbeer to walking the grounds of Hogwarts in the snow, the fireplaces in every House common room and the flickering candle lights floating around the Great Hall, the “Harry Potter” films just exude Christmas-time energy. From feel-good comedic moments to dark and painful scenes, the shifting tones of the story envelop into what is an incredibly emotional series that you would want to watch snuggled in bed with a cup of hot chocolate (or warm and homemade butterbeer). 

Another set of films that give the aura of the holidays are the “Little Women” movie adaptations. The one from 1994 starring Winona Ryder and Christian Bale and the most recent one from 2019 starring Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet are both the epitome of goodness during the Christmas season. The story takes place over many years, but the scenes that occur during Christmas time are incredibly touching. The story can leave you in tears, but aren’t the holidays a time to get emotional? 

“Rise of the Guardians” from 2012 is one of the most underrated animated movies from the last decade. Contrary to what some may believe, the movie makes an incredible Christmas watch. The film, which follows iterations of characters like Jack Frost, Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, is the culmination of incredible figures from several holidays. The theme also focuses on the pursuit of good, which reflects the spirit of the holidays phenomenally. Plus, Jude Law voices the film’s villain, so it can’t get any better than that. 

The next several films are some you would typically find on a list of holiday movies, but they definitely should be for people like myself. For fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the first is “Iron Man 3.” “Iron Man 3” is the most Christmas movie of the franchise, as it does take place during Christmas. As Tony Stark battles internal and external demons to save the country, the Christmas spirit propels the film’s themes forward. 

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Next, surely a blast from the past for many is Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh Christmas movie, “Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh!” It’s an odd choice for sure, but growing up, it was a regular on the network throughout this time of year. As the pair of chaotic brothers get into their usual antics, they make an effort to give a foster family the Christmas they deserve. It emulates what Christmas is about, which is giving and doing good. I admit to having cried while watching this movie before. 

Those were just a few of the movies I find myself going back to each year once December rolls around, but of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas if we all didn’t watch “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” for the umpteenth time.

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