From the Nakatomi Plaza to the North Pole, from Buddy the Elf to Turbo Man, Christmas movies are an unavoidable festive treat – and they’re actually good for you.
It’s November. Whether you’re a humbug or yulephile, you can’t avoid the season, whether it’s Mariah Carey’s perennial tune echoing through supermarkets, or the erection of trees and decorations everywhere you see.
But, as the nights grow darker and colder, is there a more wholesome feeling than sitting down to a classic Christmas movie with a cuppa?
Sony launched their 24/7 Christmas movie channel back in September, offering up a never-ending stream of seasonal schmaltz.
Yes, much of it is relentlessly cheesy and saccharine – but that’s the spirit of Christmas. Goodwill, happiness, ‘joy to the world’ and all that jazz – we could all be doing with a bit more of that, according to an expert.
Talking to Do You Remember?, a psychologist explained watching Christmas movies triggers the release of dopamine, a feel-good hormone.
It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness. I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation, the normal day in, day out… signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it’s pleasing or not. Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone.
It makes a lot of sense. Christmas films are familiar: they remind you of the good times spent growing up with friends and family, making you feel all warm and fuzzy.
They also help to reduce anxiety and stress levels. We’re all familiar with how hectic the Christmas season can be, with food planning, desperately trying to see all the family, and of course, the crippling effect on your bank account.
Christmas films are filled to the brim with goodwill, generally always aiming for a positive message. It’s a Wonderful Life may feel like an onslaught of misery for much of its run-time, but its coda is triumphantly happy, sparking universal tears.
Elf is a one-size-fits-all film for the family: you’ve got jokes that appeal to kids and adults and everyone in between, and a pure handle on what the season is all about.
If, like me, you routinely watch the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special, we have a real gift in store in December. With recent reactions, it appears we won’t disappointed when the show makes its long-awaited comeback.
The Christmas countdown is on. Don’t be a cotton-headed ninny muggins, chuck a festive film on.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.