Mood Swings: The Festive

Have you ever been stuck for a film or show to watch, or book to read? You know you want to desperately immerse into an alternate universe, but you just can’t find the “one”? Well, Bon Vivant has all the answers. Each week, we will publish an article in our Mood Swings series with a different emotional theme, providing you with the best on-screen and reading material to fit your every mood. Do you want the inspirational? The quirky? The depressing? Be sure to check The Bon Viv to find your fix.


Just to prepare those who tend to mutter how “December just started!” at the sight of decorated trees, upon hearing the first note of joyful music, or when walking into a holiday party, I am about to touch upon something else that may ruffle your anti-festive feathers…Christmas films! This week’s column is dedicated to some of the best Christmas movies around, which you can sit by the fire with mulled wine and a box of Thortons as early as November. As jolly temperaments join families and friends at this time of year, Christmas films knit them even closer, transgressing any hostilities that may be caused by different movie preferences. So, sit back with your loved ones and make your way through this jolly and festive list.

It's a wonderful life

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

This is a truly classic Christmas movie. One you can watch over and over, only to still find yourself entranced by the beauty and rawness of its sweet plot. James Stewart plays George Bailey, a young man who has spent his entire life at Bedford Falls. When he wishes he had never been born, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery with an angel who makes George’s wish come true. He learns how his presence impacted those around him and how their lives changed dramatically upon not knowing him. This film plays on your heart strings in wonderful ways; however, be prepared. At a time of year when emotions are already running high, you may require a box of tissues by the end.


Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Another classic! Edmund Gwenn plays Kris Kringle, an elderly man who finds himself filling in for a drunk Santa in a Thanksgiving parade. A surprising success, Kringle soon fills this role regularly at a Macy’s store in Manhattan. This story takes a dark turn, however, when he begins to convince people he really is Santa – which results in legal actions and questions about his mental health and authenticity. In spite of this, this movie will leave you feeling warm and re-assured about the goodness that resides in everyone.


Elf (2003)

I personally find it impossible to imagine Christmas without several viewings of Elf, and I am sure many will agree with me. The lovable composition of its characters, and the child-like, but honest portrayal of life is enough to attract people of any age. Buddy (Will Ferrell), has always been an unusually large elf in the North Pole community; however, after coming to learn the truth about his human parents, he sets off on add adventure to New York City, in search of his father. As he becomes a part of his new family’s life, we see the collision of the real world with everything Buddy has grown to know. While he eats maple syrup and spaghetti for breakfast, sings to strangers in public showers, and attacks Santa Claus impersonators, we get to relive the Christmas experience in a fresh lens, reminding us to shed the bah-humbug attitude towards the holidays. If you have not seen this already, put it to the top of this list – and if you have, don’t forget to watch it this year.

The Polar Express

The Polar Express (2004)

Although an animated film, this movie is surprisingly dark to convey a strong message about the resilience of belief. Tom Hanks – who voices several of the characters in the movie – needs a particular round of applause, as his voice carries us through different dimensions and tones. Our protagonist, a young boy who embarks on the Polar Express – a magical train that takes children to the North Pole to meet Santa on Christmas Eve – for the first time, rediscovering his diminishing holiday spirit. This journey teaches the viewers of the true meaning of Christmas, with lots of other heart-warming lessons along the way.

The Grinch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Grinch could not possibly be left from this list, being a film so full of fantasy and imagination. Inside a snowflake lives the land of Whoville, in which lives a community of Whos. Whos love Christmas and value it as the most important time of year; however, just outside the town resides the Grinch (Jim Carrey), who loves anything and everything but Christmas. Just as the title suggests, he plots to steal the holiday away from these lovable ‘munchkin-like’ people, but when he befriends a young girl, he too comes to question the true meaning behind believing. Spoiler alert: his ‘three sizes too small’ heart grows a bit as he finds a love for others and a fondness of the Christmas season.