Tom’s Top Christmas Specials and Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2016

Hey there, dear readers!

Welcome to the weekend! But more importantly, welcome to the start of the 2016 Christmas in July blogathon! All weekend long we will be celebrating the holiday season… six months early! Kicking off this little shindig is Tom from Plain, Simple Tom Reviews. Tom reviews all sorts of films and television shows so go check his site out after you finish reading his article. Now, let’s get this party started!


Ah, ’tis the season. Well, not exactly.

But it is certainly a time to be jolly, as Drew’s Movie Reviews is hosting this Christmas in July 2016 Blogathon!

Having considered possibly contributing a single review of my all time favourite Christmas film (more on that later!), I ultimately decided to make this a general celebration of the very best that TV and Film have to offer at “this” time of year.

So here, submitted for your approval, are my Top 5 Christmas TV Specials and Top 5 Christmas Movies.

Let’s start on the small screen . . .

5. Black Mirror: White Christmas (2014)

Jon Hamm - Black Mirror - White Christmas

Are you tired of all those sugar sweet Christmas specials where there’s good feeling all around and everything works out for everyone in the end? Well then be sure to enjoy the antidote to all of them; courtesy of Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror: White Christmas is a dark, twisted tale about social media, technology and obsession that quite often, doesn’t even seem to be about Christmas at all! Wickedly engaging and with Jon Hamm in super slick mode, this is a fascinating Christmas treat for those who want to add a bit of spice to the holiday season.

4. The Royle Family Christmas Special (1999)

Royle Family Christmas Special

No major plot points (except one), no complicated dialogue, no huge adventure, just a family sitting down, watching Christmas TV, drinking snowballs and talking as every family naturally does at Christmas. You’ll genuinely feel as though you’re there with them – sit down, relax, laugh along and simply enjoy.

3. Father Christmas  (1991)

Father Christmas

Whilst Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman obviously remains the most beloved Christmas animated classic, I’ve always enjoyed Father Christmas a lot more. Watching good old Saint Nick as a grumpy Englishman (voiced wonderfully by Mel Smith) as he goes on holiday to France, Scotland and Las Vegas is thoroughly entertaining and hilarious. The animation is beautiful, there’s great music and there are many genuinely heart warming moments. Truly wonderful – watch it and have a Happy Bloomin’ Christmas!

2. The Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special (2008)

Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special

In this pitch perfect adventure, the two families from England and Wales unite for a Christmas get together. With a hilarious, expertly written script and incredible ensemble performances, this special is hugely enjoyable, heartwarming and just so much fun. Along with some brief, but tense, “England Vs. Wales” hostilities, enjoy Smithy and Gavin singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas” over the phone, Doris getting “absolutely tw***ed” on Christmas Eve and of course, Mick’s Turkey – an “Arc De Triumph”! Bliss.

1. Father Ted: “A Christmassy Ted” (1996)

Father Ted

Ah, a beloved favourite. With its standout scene involving a group of priests getting lost in Ireland’s biggest lingerie section as well as a Golden Cleric award and a mysterious priest called Todd Unctious, this is a classic of UK TV, a wonderfully comical, fun and exciting adventure with a great plotline and marvellous characters. Truly “tea-riffic”!

OK, so now we’re all warmed up and in the Christmas spirit (here’s hoping!), let’s dim the lights, have another glass of . . . well, something alcoholic I’m guessing, and proceed to our feature presentation.

5. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Home Alone 2 - Macaulay Culkin

I know, choosing this over the first one is sacrilege, right? But I’ve seen this more times and it always helps to get me in the Christmas spirit. It’s got wonderful Christmas music, an awe inspiring toy store, a huge Christmas tree, a mountain of presents and Tim Curry! Plus, watching Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern getting repeatedly hurt never gets old.

4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's A Wonderful Life family

Confession: I’ve only seen this once. But I guess that that was enough, as this is clearly one of the best Christmas Movies ever made. Frank Capra’s one of my favourite directors, James Stewart’s one of my favourite actors and together, they create an amazing film that will never be forgotten.

3. Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard - Hans Gruber

OK, I was tempted to do like Home Alone 2 and put Die Hard 2 in at number 3, but I’m sure that that would definitely incur the wrath of many a movie fan! That’s not to say I don’t love this film; it is definitely required watching for every Christmas – a thrilling, exciting, funny adventure that never fails to inject some holiday cheer. As one of my friends says: “It’s not Christmas until you’ve seen Hans Gruber fall from the Nakatomi building!” On that note: Alan Rickman – perfection.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Nightmare Before Christmas

Perfect music, wonderful animation, unique story. ‘Nuff Said.

1. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

A Muppets Christmas Carol

Love it. Love it. Love it. Almost positive that I’ve seen it every year since it was released (well, I have seen home movies from 1993 where it was playing in the background!), this is the ULTIMATE Christmas film that appeals to all ages and never fails in bringing Christmas joy. It’s a funny, hugely enjoyable tale with great songs and Michael Caine doing some “dad at a wedding” dancing. Seriously, the years may take their toll on me, but I will ALWAYS watch this beloved film every year; I love it unconditionally.

So, there we are. Ten TV specials and films that make for an ideal Christmas.

And to finish it all off, there’s that little question of who I’d love to meet under the mistletoe. Well, there are many gorgeous actresses out there (Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis, Megan Fox) but I’ll go for someone who’s been on my mind quite a bit lately. She’s stunning, she’s cool, she’s totally awesome. She’s Natalie Dormer.

Natalie Dormer

Thanks to Drew’s Movie Reviews and to everyone who read (and hopefully enjoyed) my lists.

Merry Christmas in 6 months!


Thanks, Tom! There are some great selections in there. If it were my list, Die Hard would be my number one out of your selections but I guess that is why it is your list and not my list. 😛 Lovely choice in Natalie Dormer. She seems like she would be a fun and chill person to hang out with.

Stop by later for today’s second entry from Keith of Keith Loves Movies and his review of a more unorthodox Christmas movie.

See you soon!

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