Christmas Movies: English Center Favorites

Christmas movies are the perfect way to enjoy some quiet time at home. Choose a holiday film, grab the remote, and don’t forget the popcorn!

Four Christmas movies to make you smile, even in lockdown

A famous Christmas song says, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays;” and while that may be true, with a new Covid lockdown in the Netherlands announced a few days ago, many of us are feeling a bit bored and “cooped up.” (=feeling confined in a small space)

Still, we will all make the best of it, right? We have to keep safe and count our blessings, and one of the blessings of this season is an ample (=more than sufficient) supply of great holiday movies. As a bonus, movies are a great way to work on your English, eh?

Our little list of Christmas movies

Our holiday film list includes 4 of our favorite English language holiday films. I hope Santa brought you Netflix, Videoland, Pathe Thuis, Ziggo Film1 or Prime so that you can watch these feel good films. And many of these films are available for rent on YouTube, too.

So pop some popcorn, grab a blanket and settle in for some holiday cheer.

We have selected a wildly mixed group so we hope there is something here for everyone. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, check out this Rotten Tomatoes list of 65 Top Rated Christmas Movies.

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1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) a beautiful, wholesome, holiday film

The Rotten Tomatoes algorithm ranks this old movie as the number one holiday movie of all time, and their critics say that It’s a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing (=you should watch it every year.)

After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel pretends to drown, knowing that George will save him. The angel then proceeds to show George how much good he has done in his life. (This is a reference to Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.”)

This movie is a slice of small town life in an America that is long past. But the lessons are eternal and the story has a happy ending.

YouTube Trailer: It’s a Wonderful Life

 

2. A Christmas Carol (1951) – a Christmas ghost story for the entire family

While there are older and newer adaptations – Scrooge (1935), Scrooged (1988), and The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) – this 1950s version is my favorite. It is properly spooky and dramatic but also wonderfully vintage, with a very authentic look and feel.

A Christmas Carol, a story written by Charles Dickens in 1843, is about a mean-spirited and selfish old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who hates Christmas. One cold Christmas Eve, Scrooge is unkind to the people who work for him. Then he refuses to give even a penny to charity, and finally, he’s rude to his nephew who invites him to his house for Christmas.

When Scrooge gets home, he is very alone. He tries to sleep, but is visited by the ghost of his old business partner Jacob Marley – and then by three more ghosts! They are the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future.

The ghosts’ show Scrooge his life – past, present and future – thus teaching him the error of his ways. When he wakes up on Christmas Day, he is full of excitement and buys the biggest turkey in the shop for the Cratchit family before spending the day with his nephew, full of love, charity and the joys of Christmas. A very happy ending!

YouTube Trailer: A Christmas Carol

3. Bad Santa (2003) – A funny (but naughty) Christmas movie for older teens and adults

“Once a year, the chronically depressed, misanthropic, alcoholic wreck-of-a-man safe-breaker, Willie T. Soke, wakes up from his annual slumber to team up with his partner-in-crime, the ill-tempered dwarf, Marcus. Theirs is a simple but ingenious plan: Willie, as a department store Santa, and Marcus, as his trusted elf-helper, use this cover to crack safes for nearly eight years now, in the most wonderful time of the year. However, this time, the scheme is on the verge of falling apart, as Willie’s professional incompetence along with a hawk-eyed mall security chief in Phoenix, threaten to blow their cover–and to top it all off, Willie finds the time to befriend a lonely picked-on kid, Thurman. Is now the moment for some unorthodox Christmas spirit?”

Plot summary by Nick Riganas, reproduced from IMDB 

FYI, the IMDb (an abbreviation of Internet Movie Database) is a good online resource – a database of information related to films, television series, home videos, video games, and streaming content online. It began as a fan-operated movie database but is now a subsidiary of Amazon.

YouTube Trailer Bad Santa

4. Home Alone – a modern, timeless Christmas movie for all ages

A very clever 8-year old boy has to protect his house from two burglars when he’s accidentally left behind during Christmas vacation.

“It is Christmas time and the McCallister family is preparing for a vacation in Paris, France. But the youngest in the family, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), got into a scuffle with his older brother Buzz (Devin Ratray) and was sent to his room, which is on the third floor of his house. Then, the next morning, while the rest of the family was in a rush to make it to the airport on time, they completely forgot about Kevin, who now has the house all to himself. Being home alone was fun for Kevin, having a pizza all to himself, jumping on his parents’ bed, and making a mess. Then, Kevin discovers two burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), about to rob his house on Christmas Eve. Kevin acts quickly by wiring his own house with makeshift booby traps to stop the burglars and to bring them to justice.”

Plot summary by John Wiggins, Reproduced from IMDb

YouTube Trailer: Home Alone

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Didn’t see the right film for you? No worries! Go to Rotten Tomatoes right now and cruise through their extensive list of 65 holiday Christmas movies – real cinematic gems. I am sure you will find the right movie for you. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, soulful solstice and a happy, healthy new year from the English Center Team– Brenda, Kerry, Marike, Michael, Ian, Noelle, Tina, Carolyn and all the English Center Teachers

PS Are you looking for some Netflix series?

Would you like to read a famous Christmas poem? 

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Brenda de Jong-Pauley, December, 20

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