Every year, I subject myself to a round of pre-Christmas movie watching. I am not entirely sure why. It’s sure beats Christmas music! I’m an atheist but there is something nostalgic about watching certain Christmas movies, like It’s a Wonderful Life or (don’t judge me, I can’t even explain it) The Santa Clause. I do draw the line at Elf, because while Will Ferrell might actually be an exemplary actor and terrific guy, something about his face bothers me and I can’t spend 1 hour and 37 minutes looking at it. I am sorry, Will, if you are reading this.

This year, I have mixed it up a little. I’m going for nostalgic, sure, but also more entertaining. Here’s my list:

Christmas movies and shows and where I’m watching them.

Let’s start with the paid options. I only do Stan and Netflix, because they’re cheap and I am poor when it comes to time and also money. Especially in December, but that’s another matter. Sigh.

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A Stan-tastic Christmas

Louis Theroux’s Weird Christmas Special

This one was filmed in 1997. Louis gathered together 4 people he’d previously filmed a “Weird Weekend” with. Each guest was from a different cultural sub-group and they all got together to spend Christmas with Louis in New York. Who wouldn’t love that? Louis being a thinking person’s crumpet and all. The guests were a survivalist, a fundamental Christian, a Reverend and a gay porn star. FESTIVE!

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Cabbage Patch Kids: First Christmas

I watched this with my 6 year old and it was 22 mionutes well spent. It’s from 1984 and I had to explain the whole stork-cabbage patch- baby thing BUT there is also a cool song about diversity. The Cabbage Patch Kids were woke even then!

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Bad Moms 2

This is not a great movie, in the scheme of movies, but Christmas movies can’t really be held to the same standards as regular movies. I had a discussion about this with a knowledgeable friend, so I am pretty sure it’s fact. Anyhoo, the best things about this movie for me were the waxing scene (hilarious) and watching it at the cinema after a few drinks. There are some genuine chuckles and loads of pretty decorations, so that’s nice. Does it hold up to at-home viewing? Sure! Even better with a nice rosé!

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Love Actually

I know, I know. It’s such an un-feminist choice and if you examine all the happenings too closely, it’s ruined forever. Or is it? We have Colin, cheeky git who is desperate for sex and goes to America because apparently no one in Britain will shag him, despite his excellent prospects as a sandwich delivery guy who hits on everyone. Or Colin Firth’s character, who manages to fall in love with an extremely hot woman who is has never had a conversation with because she doesn’t speak English. And Hugh Grant as the PM with the hots for Natalie, the office mail deliverer/tea lady, who he has “relocated” when the American President hits on her. But he loves her, truly. Oooh! Or Alan Rickman in his least likeable role as he starts a dalliance with his secretary despite being married with kids. Okay, it’s not really about love and it doesn’t retain it’s charm, but it’s fun to watch. Suggestion- down a shot every time a male character does something supposedly romantic that’s actually skeezy, shallow or otherwise shithouse. You’ll feel festive in no time! Cheers! (Ha! Don’t do this, you might die!)

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Honourable mentions:

There are so many Christmas TV specials that will take you waaaay back. Have a look at Absolutely Fabulous, Keeping Up Appearances, Friends and Will and Grace. For an Aussie touch, No Activity has a Christmas special too- Patrick Brammall, need I say more?

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Happy Netflixmas!

Christmas Chronicles

This was a surprisingly watchable and fun Christmas movie. Santa is also disturbingly hot when played by a fit-looking Kurt Russell. Surprise Silverfox of 2018- who knew he’d be wearing a furry red suit? For real, though, it’s about family sticking together when shitty things happen. Plus, you know, the magic of Christmas, flying around the city in a sleigh and being nice to your mum.

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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale

This works best if you have watched all of Season 1. If you aren’t up to date, I’ll just say the Christmas episode includes Yule logs, a seance, poltergeisty (totally a word) type things and a demonic Santa kidnapper. Cool, eh?

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El Camino Christmas

If you’re looking for a soppy Christmas movie starring the likes of Tim Allen (The Santa Clause!! Stop judging!), this is not it. Christmas is kind of a backdrop to this story of a young man looking for his absent father that somehow ends up in a bungled shootout at a liquor store. Different and quite a few familiar faces- Vincent D’Onofrio, Jessica Alba and Dax Shepard, to name a few. And genuine laugh out loud lines throughout. I liked it!

El Camino Christmas Drinking Game

It’s a Wonderful Life

My kids balked at the black and white, but geez, it was made in 1946. And if anyone tries to remake it, I will fight them. That’s a promise. It’s beautiful. Just trust me and watch it. I dare you not to cry and be totally charmed by the nicer aspects of old-timey Christmas. Plus, a man must deal with his feelings! Yes, he needs divine intervention to do it, but still!

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Honourable mentions:

Arthur Christmas is a great kid’s movie and very watchable for parents who, unlike me, have not seen it 476 times.

Also, Nailed It! has a festive season special. It’s like 7 or 8 episodes of the charming and wonderful Nicole Byer and chocolate king Jaques Torres laughing their arses off at substandard cooking efforts. Get on it!

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Freebies

I never know what is on free-to-air or when, but I know I can usually find something to watch on SBS On Demand or ABC iView!

SBS On Demand

Gordon Ramsay Seasonal Special

Love him or hate him, the man knows how to cook. Learn how to make the perfect Eggs Benny, or just enjoy watching while someone else does it. Best done with an accompanying cheese platter.

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Bush Christmas

It’s an early ’80s film, set in the ’50s, and also Nicole Kidman’s movie debut. Outback Queensland, money struggles, horse racing and thievery and plucky kids to save the day. Bonus: bush dancing! Does it get any more Australian Christmas?

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Honourable mentions:

There’s a couple of kid’s shows on SBS on Demand, including An Outback Christmas, which is the story of a blue heeler travelling across the outback for Christmas day. CUTE!

I also spotted a Finnish film that is probably NOT for kids, but haven’t watched it yet. It’s called Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale and it definitely appeals to me. Described as “darkly hilarious”, it’s about the capture of a murderous Santa and the demonic elves who are trying to set him free. So cheerful!

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ABC iView

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol

If you haven’t already seen it, it’s a classic. Have you been living under a rock? Flipping the script on the Scrooge story, Ebenezer Blackadder must learn to mend his generous ways.

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Sammy J: The 12 J’s of Christmas

This looks like it’s a kid’s special. But it is not. Don’t be fooled! It’s a compilation of episodes from this year, including the one where he snuck into Malcolm Turnbull’s final press conference!

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Call the Midwife: Christmas Special

I loved this series and liked rewatching the Christmas special from a few years back. Nonnatus house helps a grieving mum among all the festivities. Warm fuzzies for all.

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Honourable mention:

Christmas with Poh is drool-worthy and inspired me to think about fancy Christmas foods that I’ll probably never cook. But I did enjoy thinking about it. And iView has loads of kid’s shows with all the holiday specials as well.

Happy holiday couch-sitting!

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