The snow has fallen, Whistler is open, it’s a winter wonderland atop the Sea to Sky Gondola, and Vancouver still hasn’t figured out how to properly plow its roads. It’s safe to say it’s officially winter in the corridor.
Like most people here, I will soon be buying gifts, enjoying some sort of hot chocolate (preferably with marshmallows) and baking a litany of holiday treats.
Since we decided against travelling this year, the typically busy Christmas holiday will be quieter, so I will have much more time to enjoy one of life’s simplest pleasures: the Christmas movie.
Now, the great debate about the best Christmas or holiday movie crosses generations.
There are those who enjoy the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street or Holiday Inn. There are the cartoons: Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The romantic ones: Love Actually, The Holiday and The Family Stone.
Then, of course, there’s the Netflix category, which includes any streaming-only movie within the last 10 years. I won’t bother naming any of them considering I can’t keep up, but The Princess Switch holds up (and became a trilogy).
There are some of my personal favourites like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf and A Muppet Christmas Carol. Yet none of these possibly live up to the greatest Christmas movie(s) of all time: Harry Potter.
Harry Potter, you say? There’s no way. Oh, but hear me out.
There are three things that define all Christmas movies: snow, beards and, most importantly, magic.
Just think about it.
When Kevin was home alone on Christmas, snow played a key role in helping him defeat the Wet Bandits. Even an old guy with a beard and his mom showed up just in the nick of time to help him. If that’s not magic then I don’t know what is.
And what about the most controversial Christmas movie, Die Hard? Well, I’d sure say it took some magic for John McClane to survive the violence from the bearded Hans Gruber. And although no physical snow is apparent in the steamy Los Angeles, Let It Snow plays on just as the credits roll.
The Harry Potter films are chock full of beards, snow and, obviously, magic. They even spend time discussing Christmas, getting ugly but endearing sweaters as presents and, as the characters age, romance becomes a key ingredient to each film.
Though the films also tackle larger topics like bigotry, existentialism and free will, underneath these concepts are simplistic stories of joy and love — just as any great Christmas movie would have. The wizards and witches schtick is a great cover for teenagers who just want what most other teenagers want around Christmas: new, dope toys.
So relax, grab some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and hop aboard the Hogwarts Express. With a runtime of about 19 hours and 40 minutes for all eight films, watching the greatest Christmas movies ever made is the gift that keeps on givin’ the whole year.