4 Christmas movie marathon ideas to add to your December watchlist

As winter arrives, and the days get darker, having a sufficient list of entertainment for those cold nights becomes all the more essential.

There is something truly unique about the Christmas season in its ability to filter through pop culture. Shops become filled with the sound of holiday anthems and our screens get taken over with a constant stream of snowmen, reindeer, and jolly old Saint Nick.

At times, it can be overwhelming as you try to find the right balance between holiday cheer and avoiding a painful two hours lost to a Christmas flick that would have been better off ending up on the cutting room floor.

But there are some absolute gems out there that are set during the holiday season and cover all kinds of genres. You just need to know where to look.

Read on to discover some of the greatest Christmas films across four different genres and start planning your next winter movie marathon.

1. Binge comedies like The Santa Clause or Home Alone

A night of laughter with the family can warm the soul and body. There are plenty of great Christmas comedies out there that err just on the right side of cheesy.

While Tim Allen’s star might have lost some of its shine in the years since his 90s sitcom heyday, The Santa Clause remains an all-time classic.

Allen’s washed-up divorcee and failing father, Scott Calvin, accidentally kills the current Santa Claus and starts a magical chain of events that bestows the title of old Saint Nick firmly on his shoulders. Seasonal comedy ensures as Scott piles on the pounds and finally finds his long-lost festive cheer.

Older generations are all familiar with the Macaulay Culkin classic, Home Alone, in which young Kevin McCallister is absentmindedly left behind by his family as they depart on Christmas vacation and has to subsequently defend his home from burglars using all manner of pranks and homemade booby traps. But perhaps it is time to introduce your kids to his hijinks.

The humorous stylings of legends like Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, and Bill Murray can all be experienced in great winter comedies such as Elf, The Grinch, and Scrooged.

A night of Christmas chuckles could be the bonding experience your family never knew they needed.

2. Choose a horror like Gremlins or Krampus

There are those of us who are autumn lovers and embrace the ghoulish festivities of Halloween and then there are those who prefer the cool of winter and the jolliness that it brings.

It can be a battle between differing personalities as the late-night parties of 31 October ring in the sudden arrival of Christmas jingles on 1 November.

But what if horror didn’t need to go away?

On the lighter side of the genre, you could opt for Gremlins or Krampus. Both films are horrors with more than a sprinkling of comedy.

Gremlins follows an uprising of the titular creatures that threatens to destroy a small town’s Christmas celebrations as gore and mayhem ensue. Krampus focuses on the arrival of the “anti-Santa” from Germanic folklore, a demonic beast known as “Krampus”, in a small town that has raked up a lengthy naughty list and is in need of punishment.

If full on horror is more your cup of tea, then the slasher film Black Christmas might scratch your itch as a group of young teens become victims of a masked individual.

3. Go for an animation like Klaus or Arthur Christmas

Much like a good comedy, festive animation can have a warming effect on the spirit.

2019’s Klaus, a Spanish-American animated Christmas film, rebooted the origin story of Father Christmas by pulling from folklore and a fictional 19th century northern setting to deliver a visually stunning production about underdogs and acts of kindness.

2011’s Arthur Christmas, from the successful Aardman Animation studios, delivers plenty of laughs and heart as Santa’s well-meaning but clumsy son, Arthur, embarks on an adventure to save Christmas for one young girl whose missing presents were considered an acceptable oversight in an otherwise successful Christmas delivery.

Alternatively, while not strictly animation, the Muppets Christmas Carol can warm the heart of any Scrooge and bring back a lost sense of child-like seasonal nostalgia.

4. Select an action film like Die Hard or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Every red-blooded male will argue in favour of the Bruce Willis action classic being defined as a Christmas movie — purely as an excuse to add it to the holiday viewing roster.

After all, the hostage crisis film is set over the Christmas holidays as thieves posing as terrorists, led by Alan Rickman’s iconic Hans Gruber, take over the company Christmas party at Nakatomi Tower as they try to break into the corporation’s safe and steal their untraceable bearer bonds.

Bruce Willis’s John McClane is in town to visit his estranged wife and ends up at the party just in time to go on a one-man mission to save the day.

2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, from writer/director Shane Black of Lethal Weapon and Predator fame, is largely credited as the film that saved Robert Downey Jnr’s career and earned him the role as Tony Stark in the Iron Man franchise.

The modern-day film noir set during Christmas in L.A follows Downey’s wise-cracking magician turned thief turned aspiring actor, Harry, as he helps his recently reacquainted childhood sweetheart, and a shady and flamboyant private detective, solve her little sister’s murder.

Ultimately if none of that is your cup of tea, you could play it safe, and put on Love Actually and watch Hugh Grant’s boyish prime minister, and a cast of British acting illuminati, find love once more.

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