By Rob McCallum
Christmas offers me so many choices as what to write about and discuss, however I cannot remember a single Christmas film in which Christmas pudding is the leading star. Please feel free to correct me however if I have missed one. So, I’ve decided to focus on the meals you have on the day – breakfast, dinner with Christmas pudding and that cheeky late night snack.
First however I have to tell you about one of my own Christmas traditions. One of my favourite things to do is go out and buy the television guide, then spend the next few hours going through it day by day, page by page circling in thick black pen all the films I want to watch. What I’d like to do is to save you the task of switching between channels or fighting over the television guide by giving you film suggestions to watch (that you hopefully already own) with each meal you’re eating on the big day.
Maybe you awaken bleary eyed from the festivities of the previous night or full of excitement for the day ahead. If you have young children you’ve probably been awake since at least 6am (or so I’m told!). Now breakfast is many different things to many different people, however Christmas breakfast for me has always been special. All the bad foods – and by bad I really mean good – eggs, sausages, bacon, mushrooms, along with a glass of champagne with orange juice.
So what kind of film sets you up for a long day of family, celebrations, presents, family, gatherings, singing, family. Oh and eating, lots of eating. I’d like to start the day with a laugh, therefore the film in question has to be ‘Scrooged’. This is a modern re-telling of Scrooge, but this time lead character Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a television executive who is again haunted by three spirits. This film has a brilliant way of making you laugh out loud one moment, then touch your heart bringing tears to your eyes the next. It’s also one of those films that will properly set you up for the day, leaving you feeling very warm, cosy and Christmassy. Writing about this now from memory makes me smile when I think of one of the characters in the film, the ghost of Christmas present. In this film the ghost is a fairy played by Carol Kane. “Sometimes the truth is painful” she says followed by her, in another scene, hitting Frank in the face with a toaster! This film is the perfect way to begin your Christmas day with a smile and a laugh.
“Breakfast has been dispatched, bring on the main event” is the line used ten minutes after breakfast is over. So later in the day the table is laid and the family from four corners of the globe are gathered. All of this to witness and marvel at the enormous feast of food including the golden roasted turkey placed in the centre of the table. For the next hour or so the predominant sounds coming from the table will be cutlery and approving groans as the feast is devoured. So again what film should accompany such an occasion.
In my mind ‘the’ Christmas film is all you can watch right now. The film in question is ‘Miracle on 34th street’. Whether it’s the original version from 1947 starring Edmund Gwen as Kris Kringle or the 1994 version starring the complete legend that is Richard Attenborough, I will very happily watch both. It challenges the question “Do you believe in Santa Claus?” and goes to court to try and prove it. There’s a quote in the film when discussing if Kris Kringle truly is Santa Claus or not. The quote goes “I would ask the court to judge which is worse? A lie that draws a smile or a truth that draws a tear?” This is a beautiful story about belief and how it can bring everybody together. I’m filling up writing this article now! That is what this film does though. It does everything. It can bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face. For me this is ‘the’ Christmas film, however cheesy you may think it is! Whatever your opinion on this film you have to agree that this film is the perfect accompaniment to a family Christmas dinner. It offers hope, faith, love, belief, relationships, the legal system and most importantly Santa Claus! Who could ask for more at Christmas time.
THE LATE NIGHT SNACK
The late night snack is a guilty pleasure at Christmas time. Not being able to sleep while the rest of your extended family, filling every room in your house, happily snooze away full to the brim with Christmas cheer. You sneak to the kitchen and open the fridge door. Bathed in the cold chilling light of the fridge you peruse the shelves and decide the only thing to quench your hunger is for you to construct the mother of all Christmas sandwiches. A combination of Christmas food ingredients as yet not invented but created by the spontaneity of the moment. You choose from various delicious and delectable food stuffs from every shelf, until finally your Christmas creation is complete.
Now due to the complete randomness of this creation, I truly could not recommend one film to encapsulate this moment. Therefore I’ve decided to give you a selection of some of my personal favourite Christmas films, in the hope that amongst them will be a match for your own Christmas late night snack…
‘Elf’, ‘Home Alone’, ‘Love Actually’, ‘Gremlins’, ‘Muppet Christmas Carol’, ’White Christmas’, ‘Holiday Inn’, ‘Trading Places’, ‘Polar Express’ and of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. There are of course many more Christmas films that I haven’t listed here but to be honest a Christmas snack can only be so big!
It would also be hugely remiss of me not to mention some of the favourite Christmas films from the Bitten team, including ‘Superman’ (not Christmassy, but always on at Christmas), ‘The Snowman’, ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘E.T.’. Hopefully I’ve given you some choices that will suit your Christmas snack!
I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Enjoy all the Christmas food and happy film watching, see you next year.