Every year I get asked ‘What are your favourite Christmas films?’ And I’ve never had a satisfactory answer… until now.

After much head scratching, and much discussion, I’ve settled on three films that I could watch every year to give me that festive feeling.

All That Heaven Allows (1955)

I first came across All That Heaven Allows while studying AS Level Media Studies. I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched it, or parts of it. Analysing the character motivations, societal themes and cinematography in great detail. Surprisingly, that hasn’t put me off, and I still consider this my favourite of Douglas Sirk’s melodramas.

As well as having a large chunk of the story set at Christmas, the film’s overarching message of finding the freedom to live and love can’t fail to evoke the Christmas spirit.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

I was reminded of The Shop Around the Corner, and its Christmas connection, this year as it was featured in Newcastle University Library’s Christmas film screenings. Personally, it’s my favourite Jimmy Stewart Christmas film.

There’s something about a straight-laced curmudgeon falling in love and finding a touch of empathy that fills me with a warm glow. Especially when it has Christmas as a back-drop.

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

You might think I’m stretching things adding A Matter of Life and Death to my list of Christmas films, given that there’s no link, not even a tenuous one, to Christmas. However, this contemplation of mortality and transition never feels more appropriate to me than when we approach the end of one year and the start of the next, reflecting on what’s past and what is to come.

Honourable mentions

There are a couple of other, more recent, and perhaps more familiar, films that are worth a mention too:

What will you be watching this Christmas? Let me know in the comments.