It’s December now, which means it’s time either to feverishly mainline your favourite Christmas movies in a sugar-driven stupor or cower in the airing cupboard and cry silent tears while Santa beats his cold, fat hands against the door.
If you’re an aspiring Scrooge, move along, hop it, this article isn’t for you. We’re here to celebrate the best festive films ever made, and to help you take that love a little further.
There’s no need to huddle under your duvet with mulled wine hooked to your veins, desperately clawing at your screen to let you inside because you know actual Christmas can never be that delightful. Here’s how you can get out there and live your favourite Christmas movies.
It’s Christmas! A time when adverts tell us anything is possible!
A Muppet Christmas Carol
A part of London still exists where you’ll be surrounded by unusually dressed Muppets who appear initially charming before revealing themselves to be shallow and irritating. It’s called Shoreditch.
Dickensian London is long past (*resists Tory government joke*), and there hasn’t been a proper white Christmas in years, but England’s capital city can still bring the Christmas magic. Meander through the knotty alleyways at the heart of the City of London and imagine you’re following Ebenezer Scrooge on his journey home to meet with an unexpected trilogy of ghosts.
Then dance under the lights of Oxford Street on Christmas Eve singing ‘One More Sleep ‘Til Christmas’ to bring cheer to all the last minute shoppers buying presents their loved ones will return on Boxing Day. Perfect.
Where: New York
Look, if you go to the North Pole looking for a Christmas wonderland you’re just going to be disappointed, and probably dead. New York is the next best thing.
Recreate this modern classic by attacking strangers with snowballs in Central Park, visiting toy stores and fighting fake Santas, ordering spaghetti dripping in maple syrup, and claiming random men are your biological father. It’s scientifically proven that wearing an adorable elf outfit reduces your chances of being stabbed.
While you’re there, watch out for homeless pigeon ladies who save your life from bungling yet surprisingly resilient bandits. Meet her and you’ve stumbled into a different film altogether.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Obviously there’s nowhere in the world quite like Halloween Town – probably a good thing – but parts of Romania are about as close as you’re likely to get.
Visit Hoia Baciu Forest, proud cultivator of weirdly shaped trees and vegetation, ghosts, aliens, and other paranormal phenomena that regularly terrify locals and leave them with lasting physical and psychological trauma. Just like Christmas Day with your family.
There’s also bright colours and wry poems of The Merry Cemetery, the imposing fortress of Bran Castle (where Dracula lived in the famous gothic novel), or the drowned Underwater Church, which only emerges when rainfall is low.
Basically, if you smashed all of Tim Burton’s movies together and used the debris to found a country, it would be Romania.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Now we’re getting deliciously obscure. This is a weird Finnish movie in which some innocent rural folk accidentally defrost an ancient, evil Santa who promptly sets about enthusiastically murdering anyone he deems naughty.
Thankfully there are very few – possibly no – murderous Santas loose in Finland. In fact Helsinki is an ideal Christmas city, laden with lights and delightful markets, and boasting a good chance of snow on the day itself.
It’s also easy to escape into the stark wilderness portrayed by the movie. Wrap up warm and head out at night, casting your fears of homicidal Santa aside and your eyes to the sky to catch a glimpse of the winter Aurora; the ultimate Christmas lights. Magic.
Where: Your own house
Staying home for Christmas shouldn’t mean you miss out on the chance to recreate some movie magic. After all, it’s the season of love, understanding, and family, so what better time to test the love and understanding of your family by turning their home into a merry death trap?
Wait until your family is sound asleep on Christmas Eve, and make sure you’re the only creature stirring. Then rig flamethrowers over their bedroom doors, position paint cans to swing down and whomp their faces, hammer nails upwards through the stairs, and put tarantulas on their faces.
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.