Awkward Christmas moments: On that family film dilemma

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You know the dilemma. You’re sat in a stuffy room strewn with bloated relatives and discarded scraps of wrapping paper. The food has been consumed, the presents have been opened; the charades, if you’re into that kind of organised jollity, have been played. And it’s only four o’clock. To get you through until bedtime, you’re going to have to watch a film.

But how to choose? The likelihood is, you’ve got such a range of ages and/or tastes represented that you’re never going to please everyone. You’re faced with potential boredom and confusion at best, and with deep embarrassment at worst. What if you’re forced to sit through a sex scene with grandma in the room? What if your hard-of-hearing uncle insists on having you explain every plot development in Inception? What if your annoying little brother makes you listen to his running commentary about the back-story of each of the Avengers?

Watching films at Christmas is a total minefield. Here at Damaris headquarters (which we share with staff from Charity Office), we may not have the answers, but we can certainly offer a little solidarity.

Sophie – your humble blogger, Damaris Media

In my living room at Christmas: Adults of varying ages

Most successful: You literally cannot go wrong with The Muppet Christmas Carol. This film is a perennial delight. It’s witty, it’s sweet, it’s sad, it’s joyful, it’s genuinely scary. It is, according to an acquaintance of mine who studied Dickens to PhD level, the most faithful screen adaptation of A Christmas Carol ever made. And it features a performance of remarkable commitment from a game Michael Caine, who has never been better.

You’ll laugh, you’ll sing along. A poignant ballad performed by a tiny green frog will make you cry.

Least successful: Last year I attempted to introduce my family to the transcendentally beautiful Irish arthouse animation The Secret of Kells. While it wasn’t exactly a disaster, I think it just confused them. Might have to stick to  musical Muppets.

Steve #1 – Admin, Charity Office

In Steve #1’s living room at Christmas: Adults of varying ages

I literally can’t remember anything I’ve ever watched at Christmas. Ever. Can’t you ask me about what food I like?

[When pushed] Er, what about Die Hard? That’s a great Christmas film. Or the Hobbit films. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that we’ve genuinely enjoyed those over the past few years.

Steve #2 – Director, Charity Office

In Steve #2’s living room at Christmas: Little kids, adults of varying ages

The Princess Bride! Elf! Such great films!


Judy – manager, Damaris Media

In Judy’s living room at Christmas: Slightly older kids, adults of varying ages

Santa Claus: The Movie – best film ever, nostalgic for the adults, great fun for the kids.  But I watched this film … [Pause of approximately 15 minutes as she attempts to remember the title]… called ‘All I Want for Christmas’ with my ten-year-old and it was so traumatic! All a bit too real and upsetting. We had to switch it off.

Craig – communications, Charity Office

  In Craig’s living room at Christmas: Adults of varying ages

What’s that film about America? [American Beauty?] No, the one with the puppets. [Team America?] Yeah, that one. Do not watch that film with your parents.  Miracle on 34th Street, now that’s a solid, middle-of-the-road choice.

Mark – Director, Charity Office

In Mark’s living room at Christmas: Teenage kids, adults of varying ages

My family doesn’t really enjoy the stuff that’s usually on at this time of year, you know, the James Bonds, things like that.

We watched a great Christmas film the other day, that one with the guy off Doctor Who. [David Tennant?] Yeah, him. [You mean Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger?] No, the first film. [Nativity! So you mean Martin Freeman?] Is he the one off Doctor Who?

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Sophie Lister

Damaris resources bring films to new audiences, start conversations, and enrich lives. Find out more at Here at the Damaris Film Blog, we publish regular discussion guides to help you make the most of the latest cinema releases.

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