Christmas is a time for gathering with the family by a fire, flicking on a classic holiday film that you have watched time and time before, and more than likely, falling asleep in a Christmas pudding food coma. But, if you’re feeling a bit more naughty than nice this year, it may be time to switch things up for your nearest and dearest, and give the worst Christmas films of all time a chance. You never know, it could be the new family classic.
Falling for Christmas (2022)
First and foremost, if you managed to watch this film all the way through, we salute you. Falling for Christmas makes absolutely no sense: the hotel hair dryer creating the perfect bouncy blow; the random falls from a surprise raccoon; the convenient memory losses; the Netflix product placement. It’s a horrible watch. But, with the return of teen icon Lohan, it makes complete sense. Her films were never Oscar-worthy, and provide nostalgia more than they do Hollywood gold. If you can get past the gilet-wearing, bearded love interest and excruciating influencer fiancé romance and focus on Lindsay Lohan in her gloriously tepid return, then this may be the shoddy Christmas film for you.
Fred Claus (2007)
Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti play brothers Fred and Nicholas for Fred Claus, one naughty and sarcastic, and one that is so nice that he delivers presents to kids all around the world on Christmas Eve. It’s a bit like Elf in that one of the characters is festively displaced, and also Bad Santa, but just, kind of, worse. It keeps it simple and it aims low, and hits that target with a mediocre plotline and a ton of plot holes. It’s a watch for when you’re wrapping the presents let’s say. The only redeeming quality? Vaughn’s delivery. Guaranteed a cheeky smile you’re mad at yourself for eliciting.
The Nutcracker (3D) (2009)
Don’t be fooled, this is not your classic ballet. If you haven’t watched The Nutcracker (3D), then you must sleep well at night. But for those who have, we understand the crippling nightmares that would have, and still do, occur thanks to the rat king. The special effects of his teeth popping out his rat face, the electrocuted shark and the drummer’s boy’s head being ripped off and used as a ball: it’s deeply, deeply disturbing. The Nutcracker puppet himself deserves a spin-off horror series. Amidst all the seriously dark shenanigans, Elle Fanning is quite cute as she plays Mary at the age of 12 years old. And if you’re a fan of gut-wrenching, eye-gouging, life-questioning cinema, then this is definitely one for you this Christmas.
Jingle All The Way (1996)
Ever had that nightmare where Arnold Schwarzeneggar was your dad and just won’t buy you Turbo Man for Christmas? Us neither but if we did, it would look a little something like Jingle All The Way. Like some sort of fever dream, the film includes exploding mail bombs, children hanging from rooftops and a drunk reindeer. How do they coincide, you may ask? Well, with a spattering of random cartoons, a few bits of slapstick and a good old moral lesson in Christmas consumerism. The only saving grace is the son, who drags us through the whole thing with a little heart.
Deck The Halls (2006)
Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick play rival neighbours in the bid to create a light show that can be seen from space in the Deck The Halls. It’s so predictable that if you haven’t seen it, you could probably tell us the plotline from the opening sequence. The characters are painfully cliche, there’s a plethora of unnecessary sex puns considering it’s a family film, and two great actors are left telling jokes that fall rather flat. But in all its Christmas nonsense, the soundtrack is guaranteed a sing-a-long and the crappy jokes can be funny at times – after a few mulled wines that is. The rivalry also harks back to a time where the cost of lighting was not on the forefront of everyone’s minds, and in this current climate, provides a good old glimpse into the sparkly past. Ahh the noughties.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
For a couple who wanted to bypass Christmas in favour of a Caribbean cruise, it is their painfully jolly neighbours that crack the whip of festivities to convince them to stay. Tim Allen who plays the husband is a tacky Christmas icon in his own right, and Jamie Lee Curtis as the wife can do no wrong in our eyes. It comes on every year and let’s face facts, it’s not very funny. Yes it’s kind of a classic, but it also makes us feel rather hateful towards the sentiment of love thy neighbour in that, the neighbours are very annoying. Other than for a dose of Jamie Lee Curtis, we feel the couple should have perhaps gone on that Caribbean cruise at the start and made for a chipper vacation Christmas film instead.
The Princess Switch (2018)
Vanessa Hudgens takes on the role of both princess and ordinary Chicagoan as they swap places and fall in love with each other’s love interests. It’s only possible in that they look exactly the same, mainly because they are played by the same person. It’s mindless, it’s basically The Parent Trap, and one of those you watch then spend scrolling on TikTok instead. But, it has to be said that for all its cheesiness, Hudgens does a great job of embracing the Christmas spirit, and since High School Musical, we will never get tired of seeing her on screen. So before you skip past it on Netflix due to its Hallmark-adjacent cover, just know that there may be a little Christmas pep in your step after watching. It’s rather wholesome.
Santa Claus conquers the Martians (1964)
This one is a huge WTF. Whoever came up with the whole concept of Santa Claus kidnapping some children from Mars who have been brainwashed by Earth’s pop culture by watching too much TV and forced to get into the Christmas spirit were frankly ahead of their time. Some say the worst movie ever made, we say unintentionally funny. There’s a lot of sub-pots, a lot of questions left unanswered and a lot of archetypes; but it makes for a worthwhile watch. If you’re a fan of classics, we would recommend not to flick it on – it’s not cinema’s finest. But if you’re catching it on TV and want a festive giggle, all we have left to say is “Hooray for Santy Claus!”