Ever since I started my blog maybe a year or so ago, I haven’t done a blogging challenge. Not a single one. I have done so few blogging challenges, that I don’t even know if they’re called “blogging” or just “blog” challenges. But I have wanted to. For a while, I considered doing the 20 day Disney Princess challenge, but didn’t get around to it. Then I thought about doing the mini 10-day Avengers challenge, but I never did that one, either. So when December rolled round and I was finally finished with the all-consuming yearly event that is NaNoWriMo, I thought it was time I actually put my foot down and did a challenge.
Because it’s December, I thought of the wonderfully original idea to do a “Twelve Days of [insert topic here]” challenge. Brilliant, yes? Then I had to think of a topic that I could stretch out over 12 days without losing things to write about or getting overwhelmed. And thus began the brainstorming.
The Avengers (yes, I’m obsessed)? No, people will get bored.
Disney films? No, there’s too much choice.
Books? Where would I even begin on that topic?
Umm…….Christmas films? Yes!
So as of tomorrow, I’m going to do my very best to watch one Christmas-themed movie per day and write about it on this blog, either on the same day or on the day after – I’ll see how we go time-wise. I’ve spent the last few days (not all of them, just parts of the days) compiling a list of 12 Christmas films with enough variety to keep things interesting. I ordered them up today, and although their final line-up might change – mostly due to accommodating other family members who also want to watch the films – this is the schedule I’m going to try to stick to. They are, in order from Day 1 to Day 12:
- Day 1. Wednesday, 12th: Home Alone.
Director: Chris Columbus. Writer: John Hughes. Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern.
How is it Christmassy?: This film is about a little boy (I think he’s about 8? 9?), played by Macaulay Culkin, who gets left behind in his house while the rest of his family goes on holiday for Christmas. There’s burglar-related drama and plenty of revenge pranks, but Culkin’s character still spends a good portion of the film trying to maintain the spirit of the festive season amidst all the action.
- Day 2. Thursday, 13th: Die Hard.
Director: John McTiernan. Writers: Roderick Thorp (novel?), Jeb Stuart, and Steven E. de Souza. Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, and Bonnie Bedelia.
How is it Christmassy?: Um……it just is. No, I’m kidding. But seriously, I haven’t seen this film before, so I don’t really know. I just saw it on a list of Christmas movies and was determined to watch it. Hang on; I’ll check the IMDB summary. Ah ha! It’s about people in New York being taken hostage by a terrorist during a Christmas party! Festive, am I right? This is one of the more tenuously Christmas-related films on the list.
- Day 3. Friday, 14th: A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Director: Bill Melendez. Writers: Charles M. Schulz. Starring: Charlie Brown and Snoopy! (None of the actual cast members seem to have been credited…..)
How is it Christmassy?: Apparently, this film is about what happens when Charlie Brown is repelled by the commercialism of Christmas and sets out to find its true meaning himself. So here we have a Peanuts TV movie about a child trying to find the true meaning of Christmas? If you don’t think that’s going to be heart-warming, I don’t know what to say.
- Day 4. Saturday, 15th: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964 TV movie).
Director: Larry Roemer. Writers: Robert May and Romeo Muller. Starring (the voices of): Billie Mae Richards, Burl Ives, and Paul Soles.
How is it Christmassy?: Here we have a children’s Christmas movie about everyone’s favourite reindeer under-dog. If my childhood memory serves me correctly, then Baby New Year will also make an appearance. I wouldn’t be expecting to like this film, given that I never really liked Rudolph (don’t hurt me!), but I think I liked it back when I was a wee bairn, so hopefully it will be interesting. It’s also about cute creatures finding somewhere that accepts them, so my heart might have a hard time staying frozen at this one.
- Day 5. Sunday, 16th. Jingle All the Way.
Director: Brian Levant. Writer: Randy Kornfeld. Starring: Arnold Schwarzenneger (did I spell that right?), Sinbad, and Phil Hartman.
How is it Christmassy?: You know those films that you know aren’t good, but you love and watch them anyway because of loyalty/memories/they’re so bad they’re good? This is one of those films. It’s about a stressed-out father (played by Arnie – I’m not typing his last name again) who has to try and get a super in-demand toy for his son at the last minute at Christmas time. I’ve heard that the story is based on the sales of the Buzz Lightyear toy when it first came out, which adds some factual value to the film. The lowest IMDB-rated on the list.
- Day 6. Monday, 17th. It’s a Wonderful Life.
Director: Frank Capra. Writers: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Frank Capra. Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore.
How is it Christmassy?: I’ll put it this way, this film is basically the Christmas film most famous for being a Christmas film that was ever created. Make sense? In other words, it’s probably one of the most critically-acclaimed and well-known classic Christmas movies you’ll come across. It’s about a man called George Bailey, whose life takes a downward turn during the Christmas season. Swamped in despair, Bailey is only saved by an angel who comes down to Earth to show him what life would have been like if he’d never existed. The highest IMDB-rated on the list.
- Day 7. Tuesday, 18th. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 animated version)
Directors: Chuck Jones and Ben Washam. Writers: Dr Seuss, Irv Spector, and Bob Ogle. Starring (the voice of): Boris Karloff.
How is it Christmassy?: Before I answer that question, let me just say that this is not the Jim Carrey version. It’s the older, cartoon version of the film. Anyway, this is one of those classic tales that most people will know already, but for those of you who don’t know: it is about a bah-humbug-grumpy-type of character called the Grinch, who is just so downright mean that he tries to steal Christmas from the residents of the nearby town of Whoville, who are called Whos. Like It’s a Wonderful Life, this is a classic.
- Day 8. Wednesday, 19th: The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Director: Henry Selick. Writers: Tim Burton (it’s pretty much his film), Michael McDowell, and Caroline Thompson. Starring (the voices of): Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, and Catherine O’Hara.
How is it Christmassy?: It’s Christmas, one of the most joyous, bright, colourful, and happy celebrations of the year. So who better to show us how to celebrate it than a man infamous for his dark, macabre films? That’s right – it’s Tim Burton! Believe it or not, Mr Burton can craft an excellent Halloween tale, which in this case also doubles as a Christmas film. The Nightmare Before Christmas is like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but flipped around so it’s the point-of-view of the characters stealing Christmas (the residents of Halloween town in this story) that we see the situation from. This is one of my all-time favourite films, so I can’t wait to watch it for this challenge.
- Day 9. Thursday, 20th: Joyeux Noel.
Director: Christian Carion. Writer: Christian Carion. Starring: Diane Kruger, Benno Furmann, and Guillaume Canet.
How is it Christmassy?: This is the only foreign language (meaning not English) film on this list, and it is inspired by true events that occurred during the famous Christmas Eve truce of World War I. It follows soldiers from Scottish, German, and French sides of the war and the impact this day has on them. Its title means Merry Christmas in English, by the way.
- Day 10. Friday, 21st: The Santa Clause.
Director: John Pasquin. Writers: Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick. Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, and Wendy Crewson.
How is it Christmassy?: The Santa Clause has been one of those Christmas classics for my family for years, even though it’s not famous in the same way as It’s a Wonderful Life or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It starts off with Tim Allen’s character, Scott Calvin (notice the initials), accidentally killing Santa. Yes, it’s a surprisingly grim start for a U-rated film. Luckily for concerned parents, though, the film quickly turns upbeat as Calvin finds himself turning into Santa Claus and replacing the old man in his role as guardian of Christmas. I blame this film for causing me to constantly misspell Santa Claus as Santa “Clause”.
- Day 11. Saturday, 22nd: The Snowman (1982 short)
Directors: Dianne Jackson and Jimmy T. Murakami. Writer: Raymond Briggs. Starring (the voices of): David Bowie and/or Raymond Briggs.
How is it Christmassy?: Allow me to digress for a second here. While searching for this film on IMDB, I came across two other films. The first was impressively-titled Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman. If anyone can tell me how a snowman can be a mutant, let me know, as I think it undermines my basic knowledge of biology. You have to admire how straight to the point the film is about its plot, though: “The Mutant Killer Snowman returns to kill more people during Christmas”. At least you know what you’re in for. The second film was called Snowman’s Land, which is just so terribly pun-y that I had to mention it.
The film I’m actually meant to talk about here, simply called The Snowman, is based on a beloved children’s book by Raymond Briggs. It’s about a snowman who comes to life at Christmas, and the film is apparently wordless except for the famous “Walking in the Air” song. David Bowie comes into it, somewhere.
- Day 12. Sunday, 23rd: Love Actually.
Director: Richard Curtis. Writer: Richard Curtis. Starring: Too many important roles to name! Here’s a link to the cast list, instead.
How is it Christmassy?: Finishing off the Twelve Days of Christmas Movies, Love Actually is the Christmas rom-com. Hey, come back! Trust me, it’s one of the best rom-coms you will ever see. I’ve heard this is a love-it-or-hate-it film, but I have been too absorbed by my adoration for the film to hear about this before now. It is one of those “ensemble cast” films, which stars just about every British actor you can think of off the top of your head. Alan Rickman is in it, just like he’s in Die Hard – because there was never a film that didn’t need Alan Rickman in it – and Ant & Dec even make an appearance. I have seen this film before (it’s one of my favourites ever, like The Nightmare Before Christmas), but if you haven’t seen it, then go do so now. Now.
And that’s the end of my Twelve Days of Christmas Movies list. Wow, that took a long time to write. I imagine it’ll take even longer to watch *gulp*. Oh well! It should be fun. If anyone else reading this (not including my family – you’ll get dragged into it anyway) wants to join in, either with the same list as me or with your own version of Twelve Days of Christmas Movies, then that would be awesome. Feel free to shamelessly link to your own blog in the comments if you want to take part. Even if you don’t do it yourself, I hope you enjoy reading about all these films in the coming days. Merry Christmas movie-watching!