Friday Drinking Game #70 – Christmas Films

After my impassioned celebration of The Muppet Christmas Carol yesterday, I seem to have landed myself the role of Best For Film’s official Christmas correspondent. So here I am, once again corresponding with Christmas, but in a way that will get us all good and drunk. There has been an abundance of cracking Crimbo flicks over the years. Some are bursting with festive cheer: How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street. Others are set in the season of goodwill; from Love Actually and Home Alone to Die Hard. And an awful lot are about Santa: Bad Santa, The Santa Clause, Santa Claus: The Movie. Remarkably, despite their apparent variety, they all seem to have an awful lot in common, and I can guarantee you’ll all be watching at least one of these tinseled and jingle-belled beauties at some point in the next two and a half weeks. Probably whilst wearing a pair of reindeer antlers and eating Twiglets. In the spirit of the penultimate Friday before Christmas: drink, drink, and be merry!


Every time somebody is wearing a Santa hat. Including Santa.
This shortcut to a festive feel happens a lot and makes everyone involved look ridiculous. Particularly the dead terrorist in Die Hard. Ho Ho Ho. If you’re really hitting it hard this year, this rule can be extended to much-loved TV characters in Christmas specials. And your friends and family. Just avoid sitting in Santa’s Grotto with a bottle of whiskey, it never looks good.
As seen in: Basically every Christmas film ever. And Mean Girls.

Every time a child looks excited.
Films with Santa Claus in their title are a good bet for this one. Also, any set in department stores. Children just love old men in department stores. Anytime a child can’t sleep on Christmas Eve you should jump up and down in excited joy and do a shot of eggnog.
As seen in: Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, Santa Claus: The Movie, Elf, The Grinch – all the usual suspects. But not The Usual Suspects.

Every time Christmas accoutrements are used for something other than their intended purpose.
Here I’m thinking of the Christmas tree baubles under the window in Home Alone 1. And the red stocking that hits the bad guy in the face in Home Alone 5. And the string of Christmas lights that Mrs Tweedy climbs up in Chicken Run. Oh, and the Christmas tree that hits the pianist in Home Alone 2. Extra points if the seasonal irony is palpable.
As seen in: Home Alones 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.


Every time disaster strikes.
In a tradition as old as Good King Wenceslas, Christmas can never go off without a hitch. What should be referred to as The Casualty Theory states that, as the festiveness of a film increases, as does the likelihood that something horrendous is going to happen. Which, in Christmas films, usually translates as something that threatens the magical day itself. On this perfect day of all days, the cynical filmmakers amongst us know that it is far more likely everything will go wrong than nothing will.
As seen in: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Santa Clause, Die Hard 1 and Die Hard 2

Every time your heart is warmed.
Somehow, the coming of the festive period allows for more saccharine sentimentality than we would ever normally permit. Probably due to the excess goodwill in our bloodstreams. If ‘goodwill’ means sherry. Anyway, don’t think you can get away with watching a Christmas film without inadvertently getting your cockles gently heated, so match this with a pleasant warm feeling tickling down your throat.
As seen in: Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually, any film with children in it, Miracle on 34th Street again

Every time Santa is located with no regard for geographical accuracy.
THE MAGNETIC NORTH POLE OR THE GEOGRAPHIC NORTH POLE, FOR RUDOLPH’S SAKE?! You might be interested to know that there are absolutely no reindeer at the North Pole, they mostly populate the Arctic, northern Russia, and North America, where they are called caribou (nice woody word). In addition, the North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amid waters that are almost permanently covered in shifting masses of deadly ice, making it nigh on impossible to construct a fixed abode there. WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING AT, SANTA?!
As seen in: The Santa Clause, The Polar Express, Elf


Every time you’re reminded of the magic in the world and/or your faith in humanity is restored.
That’s the Christmas message, folks! Christian values of love, charity and compassion abound in Christmas films, with the useful addition of a magic flying pensioner encouraging even the most sceptical and stony-hearted of us to wish that Santa was real. A wish that Coca-Cola exploit mercilessly and without remorse every year. See: that moment when the little girl sends The Grinch into cardiac arrest.
As seen in: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Santa Claus: The Movie, Miracle on 34th Street, Bad Santa

Every time there’s a reunion moment.
Christmas is a time to celebrate friends and family, meaning its films are littered with strung-out emotional reunions. If this occurs in an airport, feel free to down a miniature bottle of your choice, if it occurs at an airport AND in slow-motion, send your best to Santa Claus and drink everything in sight. Love Actually is a killer.
As seen in: Home Alones 1 and 2, Love Actually all over the bloody place

Every time someone makes a last ditch attempt to profess their love.
As Cliff Richard once said: love and laughter and joy ever after, and people just love professing their love at Christmas time. Or this is what films have led me to believe, anyway. They’re pretty reliable sources, right?
As seen in: Love Actually (unsurprisingly), The Holiday, It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard (HAHAHA, NOT REALLY!)

Make like a sled on a snowy hillside and


Whenever Santa sails across the sky.

The stuff of childhood dreams; Santa Claus in his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer is the epitome of the Christmas spirit. A creature of sheer goodwill and generosity and one of the reasons you should never, ever grow up. So forget you’re a real life adult for a moment, revel in the magic of Santa Claus, and get yourselves roaring drunk. Merry Christmas.

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