What you are reading today is the fifteenth edition of this idea. FIFTEENTH EDITION!? I cannot believe it.
The routine is simple: I watch a film, write a little bit about it (see below) and then move on to the next film. I repeat that process until Christmas Eve. Then, in the early hours of Christmas morning, you should see the latest 'A Diet of Christmas Films' waiting for you.
A rowdy. unorthodox Santa Claus is fighting to save his declining business. Meanwhile, Billy, a neglected and precocious 12 year old, hires a hitman to kill Santa after receiving a lump of coal
I cannot recall how I came across this movie other than I saw it listed on Sky last Christmas and thought I would record it. I was late in attempting to watch in 2021, but made a personal vow to have it at the top of the viewing list for 2022. And here we are.
Mel Gibson played Santa in this movie. It isn't your typical Christmas film with a happy ending. There are deaths. A lot of them at that! And, even at the conclusion, you don't know for sure whether the 'little shit' of a boy realises the true meaning of Christmas. I know the hitman didn't learn anything that's for sure.
Its uniqueness made this an enjoyable film.
Sonic: Christmas Blast (1996)
Sonic the Hedgehog must stop the evil Dr. Robotnik from ruining Christmas after Santa Claus disappears
Sonic the Hedgehog must stop the evil Dr. Robotnik from ruining Christmas after Santa Claus disappears
Even though I enjoyed the first Sonic the Hedgehog video game, when it first came out on the Sega Mega Drive in the early 1990's, I was mainly a Nintendo guy. By 1996, when this animated TV short was released, I wouldn't have been interested.
I saw the film listed on Amazon and, realising it was only twenty-one minutes in length, I thought I'd have a watch.
I don't regret viewing the film, but I do feel I am far too old to have watched it. I am sure I would have felt too old to see it back when it first came out in '96 as well, though.
Children should find this story enjoyable and I would go so far as to say they can watch it without having any prior knowledge of Sonic the Hedgehog or other characters in that universe.
Father Christmas Is Back (2021)
Four feuding sisters get a crash course in family togetherness when their long-lost father shows up for Christmas at their post ancestral manor
This movie came out on Netflix last year and I was planning to watch it then. However, time (and having a lapsed Netflix account) made me put it off until this year's viewing.
I haven't read any reviews of Father Christmas Is Back. Going by my own opinion, it would not surprise me if it had a lot of critics. I found some of this quirky movie a bit over the top in its attempt at 'British humour' at times, but it does have its charm.
The film has a roster of famous stars like John Cleese, Elizabeth Hurley, Kelsey Grammer, Caroline Quentin, and Kris Marshall. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I cannot - as I write this out - think of a Christmas-themed film with so many famous faces in.
All About Christmas Eve (2012)
There's two sides to every story, and Eve is about to live both of them
This was a fun film. Even though I haven't seen Sliding Doors, I am aware of its plot and this kind of has the same narrative with time reversing itself and there being a parallel Eve (one who manages to get on a work trip to California and the another Eve who fails to board the plane in time and has to deal with Christmas in New York without a job).
Not knowing how Sliding Doors is resolved at its conclusion, I didn't know what to expect in the end of this film. I assumed the Eve who made it on the business trip would be the winning parallel (if that makes sense). I was wrong!
David and the Elves (2021)
A jaded, overworked elf runs off to the real world where he tries to experience the magic of Christmas with the help of a newly-befriended young boy
I found David and the Elves very enjoyable.
I found David and the Elves very enjoyable.
It has a typical narrative about an elf from Santa's Workshop going out into the real world to experience what Christmas is like for real people. It has been done many, many times. However, this film was Polish, so it was great to see a Christmas film from a completely different country than usual.
As soon as the credits rolled for David and the Elves, a trailer for another foreign Christmas film came up on Netflix. 'Why not?' I thought..
The Claus Family (2020)
When his grandfather suddenly falls ill, holiday-hating Jules learns of his family's magical legacy and realises he's the only hope to save Christmas
Okay, these foreign Christmas films on Netflix are excellent (okay, the majority of the films I watch are really 'foreign' to me because they're from America, but I hope you know what I mean).
This one was about a widowed Dutch mother and her two children who move from the Netherlands to Belgium just in time for Christmas. The children's grandfather turns out to be Santa Claus and he has to get his grandson, still mourning the loss of his father, into the Christmas spirit. It is then revealed to the boy that he is the heir to the 'Claus' name and has to deliver the presents on Christmas Eve.
There are sequels coming. Great!
Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1991)
Inspired by the famous 1897 editorial that has become a holiday staple. The film tells the story of young Victoria O'Hanlan
This film was recommended to me by a friend. I hadn't heard of it until she asked if I knew it.
The version I watched was a TV Movie from the early nineties which had a trio of big names starring. Richard Thomas - from The Waltons - plays James O'Hanlan a father of a young girl who writes a letter to a newspaper asking if Santa Claus exists. The letter is handed over from the paper's editor (Ed Asner) to a once popular journalist, played by Charles Bronson, who is dealing with the loss of his wife and daughter from the previous Christmas. The letter inspires Bronson's character to write the editorial and, by doing so, bring the spirit of Christmas back into his life.
It was a really enjoyable story. As was its subplots concerning the O'Hanlan Family's struggles living in 19th Century America.
The Claus Family 2 (2021)
Jules Claus has embraced Christmas again and is getting ready for the busiest time of the year together with Grandpa Noel. Everything seems to go according to plan, until Jules receives a very special letter with an intriguing question
Netflix put The Claus Family 2 up only a few days after I had watched the prior movie, so it worked out perfectly.
It was fun to catch up with all the characters a year (or in my case - days) removed from the first instalment. This edition was very close to being as good as number one. I look forward to seeing the third film in the series whenever that will be.
The Santa Clause (1994)
When a man inadvertently makes Santa fall off his roof on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place
This was the first time I've ever bothered to watch The Santa Clause. The only reason why I chose to view it this year is to prepare for the The Santa Clauses television series on Disney Plus. The commercial had my favourite American football player - Peyton Manning - in it, so I thought I would watch the episode he guests in when it comes out.
The Santa Clause has never appealed to me before this year because I've never been a fan of Tim Allen or, back when the film came out, his TV series: Home Improvement. Whenever I would see the film on the schedules, I felt it was an easy pass.
I enjoyed The Santa Clause. But, I will state this - I did not regret passing on it all those times I had the opportunity. Well, I suppose I have to regret it slightly because I now have to watch its sequels to prepare myself for the television show...
The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
Scott Calvin must get married by Christmas Eve or lose his title as Santa
My quest to watch all the Santa Clause movies before watching the Disney+ series continued with the viewing of the second movie. I preferred the first movie, but this one was good in its own way. I particularly liked how they were able to bring back most of the characters from the first movie and to see how they've grown into their roles in eight years.
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
The holidays take a chaotic turn when Jack Frost puts a freeze on Christmas
To be fair, I think the Santa Clause 3 was a step below the second Santa Clause. Therefore, it is not as good as the first. However.. it was still fun and I think I did laugh out loud more times in this one than I did during the previous two films.
Now that I've watched the trilogy of movies, I can start watching the Disney+ series. You'll read my thoughts on it below.
It is November 17th as I add this part to the post. A movie I wanted on this year's list came out today. It's jumped the queue. Next up is...
The now adult Ralphie returns to the house on Cleveland Street to give his kids a magical Christmas like the one he had as a child, reconnecting with childhood friends and reconciling the passing of the Old Man.
I could very well be biased with what I am about to write, but A Christmas Story Christmas could likely be the best Christmas film I'll watch this year.
I've already established, over the years of doing these movie viewing marathons, that I enjoy the original film. On top of that, I love Jean Shepherd's work. Not just his novels, but also his radio shows from before I was even born.
A Christmas Story Christmas was a homage not only to the 1983 movie, but also to the entire work of Jean Shepherd and - if you're a fan of the film or Shepherd - there will be an abundance of things in the film that will make you happy to have watched it.
I am very happy to have seen this movie so soon after its release. I didn't dislike A Christmas Story 2, but if I had to watch A Christmas Story and then pick either Christmas Story 2 or this one as a sequel, it absolutely would be the latter.
Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory (1966)
It's the last Christmas together in Depression-era Alabama for a boy and his elderly cousin, who he considers his best friend. The pair spend their savings buying ingredients for thirty fruit cakes. They spend Christmas flying the kites they made for each other while Truman Capote's narration explains their later separation followed by their dog's passing and - eventually - the death of his cousin.
I read a book of Christmas short stories written by Truman Capote this year. A Christmas Memory was the main story in the collection. I thought I would see if there was a film of it.
This edition was from 1966 and it appears to be from an anthology TV series similar, in ways, to some stories I have seen of Jean Shepherd's work.
Truman Capote is an excellent writer. He narrates this film which shows a unique bond between the family members. I have to admit it does seem a bit creepy in a couple of places especially with the old lady giving alcohol to the child and with them waking up in the same bed one morning. There is no malice in the latter, but it is something I don't think would cut it in a modern TV movie.
Despite those two questionable things, I enjoyed this short film. It compliments the short story greatly and Capote's voiceover work - especially at the film's conclusion - was a huge plus.
By the way, another story in the book is One Christmas. I watched the 1994 TV Movie of it TEN YEARS AGO and called it 'one of the best Christmas films I have ever seen'.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)
Star-Lord, Drax, Rocket, Mantis and Groot engage in some spirited shenanigans in an all-new original special created for Disney+.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special was excellent! A really fun forty-plus minutes featuring all of the Guardians celebrating Christmas.
The story sees Drax and Mantis travel to Earth to abduct Kevin Bacon in order to give the actor as a Christmas present to Peter Quill.
One of the many good things about the Guardians movies are the soundtracks. This TV feature had some cracking Christmas tunes on it.
Oh, and there was a part in the movie where Kevin Bacon was sitting at home watching a Christmas movie. It was Santa Claus Conquers The Martians! That made me chuckle because it has been ten years since I watched that one. It wasn't the only laugh I had while watching it, though.
My nephew and I are planning to watch this Holiday Special again before Christmas. That's how enjoyable we both found it.
The Noel Diary (2022)
Clearing out his childhood home at Christmas, a novelist meets a woman searching for her birth mother. Will an old diary unlock their pasts - and hearts?
I know Justin Hartley from This Is Us, so - when I was made aware of this film - I thought I'd put it on my list to watch this year.
As funny as this may come across, even though there are a lot of Christmas themes within this film, The Noel Diary is something that could be watched any time of the year.
It was a nice story about.. finding.
Your Christmas Or Mine? (2022)
It's Christmas Eve..Eve. After waving goodbye in Marylebone Station, new lovers Hayley and James can't bear to be apart for Christmas, so both decide to surprise each other and unwittingly swap trains by mistake. The snow begins to fall and - with it - they realise they are trapped with each other's family for the whole of Christmas. Will their love survive as their secrets get unwrapped?
'Your Christmas or Mine?' is a British Christmas film that came out this year on Amazon. I thought it was very good.
I found myself laughing out loud at some of the comedy in it. Another great film on this year's list!
A Christmas Carol (1971)
An old bitter miser is given a chance of redemption when spirits visit him on Christmas Eve.
I have a story to tell.
This short animated film was recommended to me by YouTube. I noticed that Alastair Sim did one of the voices to it, so thought it would be interesting to watch it because Sim is one of - if not THE - most iconic actors to have ever played Ebenezer Scrooge. Reprising the role, for an animated version of the story, twenty years later must have been quite newsworthy at the time.
After hitting the play button, a personal memory flooded back. I had watched the film thirty-nine years ago while I was living at a different home following a house fire. The film must have been on one of the terrestrial TV channels back then and I can now vividly recall watching it not long after going to the cinema with my mum to see Mickey's Christmas Carol (well, I went to see The Jungle Book, but Mickey's Christmas Carol came on before it!). I also recall feeling somewhat irked that the film on the TV didn't have any of the Disney characters.
Now that I have seen it with older eyes, I have more than a couple of thoughts. First - I cannot believe how I had forgotten about this edition of A Christmas Carol. Secondly, I am in awe at the animation considering the time it was made. 1971! I was a foolish kid not to have appreciated what was before me back then. Third - I am so glad I found this film again.
By the way, this won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1972. Like I said, the animation must have been amazing to appreciate back when it first came out.
I'm so glad I found this film again...
After a reunion with an old A Christmas Carol animated film, I suppose it's appropriate to meet the newest one..
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (2022)
On a cold Christmas Eve, selfish miser Ebenezer Scrooge has one night left to face his past - and change the future - before time runs out
This was Netflix's animated - and musical - offering of the Charles Dickens story. I thought it was really good. I'd go so far as to say I think it is better, visually, than the one which came out in 2009 with Jim Carrey's voice as Scrooge.
Emmet Otter 's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)
When a Christmas Eve talent contest is announced, Emmet Otter joins a jug band and his Ma decides to sing a song as they risk it all to make each other's Christmas dreams come true.
This is a film made by Jim Henson based the book by Russell and Lillian Hoban. I hadn't seen it before this year, but had heard of it through a nostalgia podcast I listened to a few years ago. It had been on my list ever since I knew of the film's existence.
I like old school puppetry. Therefore, it should go without saying that I enjoyed watching this film. I sure would have enjoyed it more if I had watched the film when I was a child.
It looks like Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas was on television over here a few years after it came out in the USA. I've looked through the archives and I see that it aired on one of the ITV regions on Boxing Day morning in 1981.
Planes, Trains and Christmas Trees (2022)
Kayley and Brett seek refuge in a small town due to a snowstorm. This ignites some needed Christmas magic in their hearts.
I feel like I haven't shown, for want of a better word, 'love' to the romancey Christmas films this year. I made up for it with this offering I found on Paramount Plus.
When I saw the title 'Planes, Trains and Christmas Trees', I assumed it would be - very mildly - similar to Planes, Trains and Automobiles in that two passengers force themselves to travel together in order to make their way home.
It was partially like that. When their flight is cancelled, the two characters decide to join up and travel by train to their respective destinations. However, when they reach the railway station, they notice the trains have also been cancelled. They then end up spending time at the male's former home in preparation for better travel weather.
I suppose you know what happens next. The two end up falling for each other as they prepare for Christmas.
I'm glad I was able to tick this one off the list and get back on track with a modern TV movie. For now..
The Santa Clauses Season 1 (2022)
After nearly three decades on the job, Scott Calvin considers retiring as Santa Claus
As you've seen above, I watched all of The Santa Clause movies in preparation for the debut of The Santa Clauses television series.
I wouldn't have watched the programme had I not watched the films. I wouldn't have got a lot of what was going on otherwise, but I surmise it is somewhat possible to like the series without having watched the films. Not that I would recommend doing it that way, however.
There are a lot of little nods to the movies in the series. For example, there are characters from the movies that only appear briefly.
Totally biased, I know, but my favourite scene is when Peyton Manning is interviewing for the job of Santa Claus.
Grumpy Christmas (2021)
A family trip to the beach turns crazy when Servando and Alicia, Alma's wilful aunt, start an over-the-top competition to control Christmas
This is another Christmas film with dubbed audio. I believe it's originally from Mexico.
It was also another case of me finding enjoyment in seeing how Christmas films are done in foreign lands.
Grumpy Christmas had some intriguing characters and an okay story. It took me a little while to get into, however, because I had a feeling I was watching a sequel even though we were introduced to all the characters right at the beginning of the film.
On November 9th, I wrote a post detailing that I set a goal to watch twenty-two titles this year as it'll be double the amount I watched in the first-ever Diet of Christmas Films. I have now reached that goal. With that said, I'm not done yet...
Carol For Another Christmas (1964)
Daniel Grudge, a wealthy industrialist and fierce isolationist long embittered by the loss of his son during the Second World War, is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve
I am a fan of Rod Serling - the creator and writer of The Twilight Zone - so, when I came across his reimagining of A Christmas Carol, I thought I'd give it a go.
I didn't find it as enjoyable as episodes of The Twilight Zone. However, had I watched this film without knowing Serling had written it, I believe that I would have concluded he had a part in it. There is something about it which reminded me of Serling's work on The Twilight Zone and his other anthology series - Night Gallery.
Carry On Christmas (1969)
The Carry On troupe's rendition of A Christmas Carol.
I have never been a fan of the Carry On films. I came along after they were at their peak and was never keen to go out of my way to watch any of them.
With that stated, I noticed that Talking Pictures TV channel had a special from the late 1960s with a Christmas theme, so thought I would add it to the list of Christmas films to watch.
It for sure had its moments. I found myself laughing at some of the witty dialogue and comedy.
I still wouldn't go out of my way to seek out other Carry On films, but this was enjoyable.
Albert, a little Douglas fir tree who loves Christmas more than anyone, goes on a road trip from his little nursery to the big city to make his dreams come true
Albert is a CGI film which, I believe, aired on Nickelodeon years ago. I thought it was funny in spots, but is obviously aimed at a far younger audience. In a way, I think it reminded me of Toy Story albeit with different varieties of plants being the characters instead of toys.
Children will love this.
A Child's Christmas in Wales (1987)
Young Thomas is disappointed because it's raining on Christmas Eve, but his spirits are son lifted by grandfather - who gives him a snow globe and recounts his own childhood Christmas memories
While watching Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, I had a vague recollection of watching a TV film of Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales when I was young. I managed to find it on YouTube.
This film compliments Truman's. It's Christmas through the eyes of another famous writer. From a totally different country at that.
Girlfriends of Christmas Past (2016)
This Christmas, three women plot revenge on the guy who cruelly dumped them all. But will vengeance be worth risking the chance at new love?
Girlfriends of Christmas Past is a film that has popped up on the schedules many times over the years. I simply never felt compelled to record it.
That all changed for a couple of specific reasons.
Earlier this year, Tammin Sursok - who played Dani Sutherland in Home and Away in the mid 2000s - spent a few weeks as a guest character, Montana Marcel, in Neighbours.
It had been a long time since I had seen Sursok on TV and was unaware that she had starred in American films. She brought an American accent to the Neighbours appearances.
Anyway, as I was scrolling through the channels, I noticed Sursok in a Christmas film and stopped what I was doing, noticed it was the film I had passed over on countless occasions, and decided to record it next time it was on.
I have now watched it.
The film had a funny story and the acting was not as bad as I had initially feared (I find a lot of films on the Great! Movies channel tend to be bad).
My Home and Away bias might be affecting my criticism, however.
The Night Before Christmas (1946)
An adaption of the famous poem, with a mixture of animation and live action
This short film was on Talking Pictures on Christmas Eve.
I was amazed at how much the animated scenes complimented the live action. In its time, it must have been received well by the audience. Just like the animation in the 1971 version of A Christmas Carol.
* * *
And that is almost it for another Christmas.
I've had quite an experience of films this year, even with the limited time to consume them due to the World Cup taking place in November and December this year.
I've travelled from 2022 all the way back to 1946 with many stops along the way. I've encountered foreign films, accidentally reacquainted with a film I watched as a child, binged on a movie series just so I could watch its spin-off TV series and more.
As per usual, my plan is to watch A Christmas Story sometime later today. However, before I close out this marathon, I'd like to dedicate this year's post to someone who played a part in Christmases of my childhood.
The world lost Raymond Briggs this year.
As I wrote, upon learning of the news of his passing in August, his characters were with me through most of my childhood. Fungus the Bogeyman was my favourite. However, you cannot really mention Briggs at Christmas without mentioning his books of The Snowman and Father Christmas.
Briggs' The Snowman was a popular book in my childhood. The film was equally received. I believe that Boxing Day (tomorrow when you read this) will be the fortieth anniversary of the day since the animated film of The Snowman first aired on Channel 4.
It's only fitting that The Snowman closes this year's marathon. It needs no 'summary' or 'thoughts'. I've already done those in the past. So, here goes...
The Snowman (1982)