Despite numerous Christmas movies being considered cult classics of their genre, the genre is saturated by cheesy, feel-good films to watch with friends or family during the holiday season. There are some Christmas movies that are enjoyed for their nostalgia (personally that’s Elf for me), others are liked because they’re fun (Home Alone), but some are loved because of their cheesiness and those are the ones we’re going to look at here! In no particular order…
The Christmas film from my childhood is Elf. I’m not entirely sure why or how it became a family favourite, but it did until I was about 11 when we also threw Arthur Christmas into the mix (more on that one later!) For those of you who are unaware of the cinematic masterpiece that is Elf, the movie follows Buddy the elf played by Will Ferrell who is a human that has been raised as one of Santa’s elves in the North Pole.
He later discovers, as an adult, that he isn’t actually an elf but was in fact orphaned by his father as a baby. Buddy then goes on an adventure to New York City to be reunited with his father (the late James Caan) and to spread Christmas cheer. Most people say how much they dislike Elf due to its cheesy nature, but I think if you’re willing to look past that it is a funny, uplifting movie to get you into the Christmas spirit.
Last Christmas (2019):
Anyone who knows me will know that I am not a rom-com person, but I am, however, a huge George Michael fan and so when I found out that a Christmas movie was being made with a soundtrack comprised entirely of his music, I had to watch it! The film stars Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, and Emma Thompson.
It follows struggling aspiring singer Kate (Clarke) works as a Christmas elf in a store and bounces between homes when she meets charming and optimistic Tom (Golding). I won’t describe much more for fear of spoiling the ending, but I did thoroughly enjoy the plot twist. I didn’t find it an overly cheesy Christmas romance, so it was rated quite highly by my standards.
The Princess Switch trilogy (2018, 2020, 2021):
Now, this is a movie that rates highly on the cheese scale! The Princes Switch stars Vanessa Hudgens playing both Stacy a baker from Chicago and Lady Margaret of Montenaro (ala. Selena Gomez’s Monte Carlo). Stacy is entered into a prestigious baking competition by her assistant Kevin which she travels to with him and his daughter and meets Lady Margaret.
They are struck by how they look identical (Parent Trap moment anyone?) and decide to swap places for a couple of days until the baking competition and Margaret’s wedding. Obviously, lots of inconsequential drama and romance ensue which is to be expected from a Netflix Christmas movie… and there’s two more films in the series to stomach afterwards!
Let It Snow (2019):
Let It Snow is another Christmas movie produced by Netflix but this one is based on the YA novel of the same name that contains three short stories about different romances that intertwine. The cast includes a cast of familiar faces among Gen-Z such as Isabela Merced, Odeya Rush, and Kiernan Shipka.
As it’s for teenagers, it is somewhat cheesy, but most romance movies are! I personally liked the different stories within although the book is definitely better than the film.
Holidate is a rom-com about Christmas cynic Sloane (Emma Roberts) who hates the holidays due to her family’s constant criticism and disapproval of her being single. Until she meets Jackson (Luke Bracey) and they agree to be each other’s dates but just on the holidays, only to develop real feelings for each other.
If you can’t spot how this film would be cheesy already then, I suggest you re-evaluate some things! I didn’t find this one to be overly funny and it isn’t particularly Christmas-y as it does take place over different holidays, but still, a good one to add to your list if you’re searching for films to watch.
Christmas With the Kranks (2004):
This film features Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen as Nora and Luther Krank, a couple who choose to boycott the holidays and go on a Caribbean cruise instead after their daughter leaves for a Peace Corps assignment in Peru.
However, their neighbours consider the couple social pariahs for not celebrating Christmas, but the Kranks remain strong until they discover their daughter will be home for the holidays. Their Christmas spirit is restored, and they decide never to skip Christmas again. The film is funny and puts you in a good mood, but the American comedy is cheesy at times.
Arthur Christmas (2011):
I have been informed that liking this film is a red flag, but my family and I watch it every Christmas Eve anyway. This Aardman animated movie includes voices by Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, and Hugh Laurie.
It is about Santa’s son Arthur who goes on an adventure with Grandsanta and elf Bryony to deliver a gift to a child that got missed. Like Elf, this film brings back childhood memories for me and is part of the tradition, but there’s no doubt that it isn’t silly and overdone in parts.
A Bad Moms Christmas (2017):
The Christmas-y sequel to the hit comedy film Bad Moms, stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn who have to spend the holidays with their own mothers who are each frustrating and difficult in their own ways! I personally love this movie despite it being cheesy in places, and it’s aimed at an older audience than Arthur Christmas or Elf so it’s great for watching with friends.
Cheese rating: Camembert with a Christmas tipple.
Just because these movies are cheesy doesn’t mean you should boycott them completely! They’re still a great way to get you in the Christmas spirit. If you’re willing to look past the cheesiness and don’t mind a bit of second-hand embarrassment in the quest for getting yourself in the mood for the holidays, then you might just enjoy yourself!