Christmas films are a breed of their own, and unfortunately it’s a breed that is most commonly associated with gooey Hallmark card sentiment. At worst, they even share the aesthetic of a Hallmark Christmas card (you can send the films’ posters right along to your grandma for Christmas), and shamelessly exploit the most superficial aspects of human nature. At best, they are still exploiting cheap sentiment, but manage to go slightly below the surface and actually conjure up something that feels remotely genuine. Clearly, the former make up for the majority of the modern Christmas cinema market – you may think of the 2013 British film The Christmas Candle which is so hard trying to be fuzzy and cozy, it is anything but.
I am not arguing that these films are not supposed to aim for being warm and cozy, or nostalgic and uplifting for that matter. Sure, if there ever is a time to give into those cravings, Christmas time is the perfect occasion. In that sense, Christmas films are balancing on the same slippery slop as romantic comedies – they have to give us what we want, either moving us to tears or giving us that much sought after feel-good feel, but we don’t want to get conned into it. Many filmmakers know through dramaturgic tricks which buttons to press to make you shed a little tear or to feel good for a little while, but I am sure a part of you feels a bit ashamed at the same time. The rest of this article will name a number of new films that are great Christmas themed films AND manage to keep the feeling of shame to an acceptable minimum. Put in that perspective, here are the best Christmas films of the 2010’s up to 2016. In the past It’s A Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Apartment, Holiday Inn, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, The Muppet Christmas Carrol and even Home Alone did the Christmas theme justice, but which recent films are out there? From 2000 to now in 2016.
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