A Christmas film is a film set at Christmas, right…?

…or does it have to be about reindeer, elves, Mrs Claus and all the festive fun that comes with the jolly old man? Maybe it doesn’t have to be about Christmas at all…could it be a film that you usually watch around the 25th December?

We were stuck with this question. So to answer it, we first needed to find out what people’s favourite Christmas films were. Luckily, we’re currently running a competition (hyperlink) on our social pages which asks people to tell us exactly that!

From a quick look, these are some of the answers we’ve found: Elf, Hook, Die Hard, Gremlins, Love Actually, Home Alone, Great Escape, Scrooged, Muppet Christmas Carol, The Santa Clause.

Films about Christmas

Out of those 10 answers, we think there are four that are unmistakably about Christmas. Elf, Scrooged, Muppet Christmas Carol and The Santa Clause are all stories where Santa, or other Christmas traditions, play a major part.

Films shown at Christmas.

On top of the ones we’ve already mentioned, we can count another 5 that are set at Christmas. Die Hard, Gremlins, Love Actually, Home Alone all show Christmas lights or mention Christmas Day. We also think Hook is set at Christmas because it’s snowing in England when they arrive.

Films that are set at Christmas

We can’t really see any reason why the Great Escape is shown at Christmas.

Plus, if you think that all Christmas films have to have a ‘feel good factor’, the Great Escape kind of ruins that.

To find out what makes a good Christmas film, we thought we take a look to see if there are any similarities in the 10 films that we’ve found. So here it goes:

A setting that doesn’t help the main character

Neverland, a terrorist-controlled office tower, a prisoner of war camp. The main characters in all these films are thrown into scenarios that they aren't comfortable with.

We think this ‘out of the norm’ kind of plot mirrors Christmas – where everything changes and you feel like you’re in another world.

A grump/bad guy/Grinch figure

All these films have a main protagonist bad guy. We won’t go as far as saying a ‘Grinch’ figure, but there is one person in all these films that aims to take away the good spirit of the ‘hero’. It’s almost like a battle of good will to all men against the guy who doesn’t want people to be happy.

The bad guy turned good

The Christmas Carol is one of the most famous Christmas stories of all time. One of the reasons for that is the 'bad guy turns good' story line which people seem to love. They like seeing the good in people and believing that people can change.

Just think, in Hook, Peter starts out as a grumpy old man who doesn’t let his kids be kids. In Home Alone, Kevin doesn’t want to be part of the family or do as he’s told. In the Great Escape, Hilts doesn’t want to help the escapists at first, but solitary changes his mind. And of course in Die Hard, Mclean starts angry at the world, before softening to Al, the police man.

It’s funny

Even the Great Escape, where we’re talking about the Nazis and PoWs, has humour in it. Christmas is a time for cheer and merriment, and so there has to be some kind of comedy involved to make a good Christmas film.

So what do you think makes a good Christmas film? What does a film have to have to make you feel all festive inside? Let us know in the Facebook comments section