For lots of people, December marks the start of the annual festive film marathon, but what about those who don’t celebrate Christmas, or simply don’t fancy watching the Home Alone trilogy for the billionth year running? This is where non-Christmas, Christmas films come in. The sort of films that have little to no mention of the festive season, but somehow still manage to achieve the same sentimental feeling of winter cheer. Everyone has their own idea of what a Christmas film that has no mention of Christmas is, usually attached to childhood memories of winter’s past, but these are my recommendations.
First of all, Disney films, specifically Pixar films. Usually, I’m not a Disney lover, and certainly can’t recommend to you any recent releases from Walt and co., but there is something both nostalgic and entertaining about Toy Story, Cars and Up that I think makes for perfect holiday viewing. As we head into the Christmas break, Pixar heart warmers are the ideal way to spend a well needed break from deadlines and revision. For anyone who also craves the light-hearted comedy and cheesy redemption storyline of a Pixar film, Dreamworks’ classics like Shrek also fit the bill. If you don’t fancy paying for films like these, but wouldn’t mind catching them over Christmas, BBC One are showing all three Kung Fu Panda films on Christmas Eve morning alongside Cars 3, and Madagascar 2 also makes an appearance on Boxing Day.
But there is one genre of films that completely embodies festive charm: musicals. The music, the lights, the costumes and big ensemble numbers, combined with an often sentimental, redemptive narrative arc that feels all too similar to Christmas movies, but without the need for Christmas itself. As someone who loves a film musical any time of the year, there are certain ones that I reserve for December only: Julie Andrews’ musicals. There is something about Andrews’ incredibly posh English charm, and her typecasting as the saving-grace Nanny of children with absent fathers that just fits the winter period. I think the way that Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music hone into the sentimentality of family is the perfect sickly-sweet metaphor that you might just find yourself craving over the Christmas break. Plus, when else in the year are you going to be willing to dedicate three hours of your day to a musical about a very large anti-Nazi family and their nanny?