People talk all the time about pairing wine and beer with food. But what about other things? I am a staunch believer that a well-thought out drink will make anything better. It’s like putting together the perfect outfit for a themed party, it feels perfect when things match.
It’s in this spirit that I offer you this list of holiday movies with drinks pairings. Whether traditional or modern, funny or heartfelt, I hope something will pique your interest and inspire you to create a great holiday experience.
Disclaimer: I was raised Catholic, so these movies are all quite Christmassy. Apologies to those who don’t celebrate this particular holiday! I hope you’ll still enjoy this post, if only for the suggested accompaniments.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Oh Whoville, with your adorably gentle love for Christmas! This one is a personal favourite. I look forward to watching it (and quoting along) every year and I’m not ashamed to admit that I usually shed a big-hearted tear or two at the end. Between the Whos’ handholding and joyful singing on Christmas morning, sharing the day despite the Grinch stealing everything, or the Grinch carving the roast beast for one and all – the warmth and love gets me every time! Christmas day will always be, just as long as we have we.
Suggested accompaniment – Absinthe, to match the zany, whimsical trippiness that is Whoville. And because it’s green, duh.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
How can you not identify with Charlie Brown? This poor kid, stuck in his own head, over analyzing why he just can’t get into the Christmas spirit. Now that I’m an adult (and a childless adult at that) I definitely struggle to feel the true spirit of the season (which is usually my cue to put on How the Grinch Stole Christmas). I know this Christmas special is pretty religious, what with Linus quoting the bible and all, but there’s just something about the kindness those kids show Charlie Brown at the end that keeps me coming back.
Suggested accompaniment – A hot toddy, to match the cozy comfort of this holiday classic.
I’m sure every 90’s kid gets where I’m coming from on this one. Sure, it’s unrealistic at times (not to mention sadistic!) but, like the first two I’ve talked about, it’s got a soft, gooey centre that gets me right into the holiday spirit. I’m not much for the booby-trapped house scenes – it’s the quiet ones that get me, like Kevin’s realization that he ‘made his family disappear’ and the conversations he has with the Santa stand-in and his scary not-really-a-serial-killer next door neighbour that make me watch it year after year.
Suggested accompaniment – Egg nog. Straight up if you’re 8 years old. Spiked if you’re not.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
As you can tell, I tend to gravitate toward the more mushy holiday classics, so it took me a long time to realize the genius of this movie. But I’m sure glad I did. Between the ridiculous dinner scene (that turkey! the grandparents!), the marathon bad-to-worse tobogganing episode, the hilariously off-kilter neighbours, and Gus Griswold finally losing it at the end, this movie is non-stop hilarity. If you have a personal aversion to schmaltz or come from a family that is less than perfect (and who among us doesn’t?) then this movie is for you.
Suggested accompaniment – Beer. The cheaper the better.
Speaking of schmaltz, there is nothing more schmaltzy than a heartfelt Christmas classic chock full of songs written by an iconic Jewish songwriter. Enter White Christmas. My mom and I are locked in an eternal debate over which is better – White Christmas or Holiday Inn – but this is my blog so you get White Christmas. It manages to have a WWII plot line, excellent musical numbers and a fair amount of romance (it is a golden-era Hollywood movie, after all). Plus, how can you say no to Rosemary Clooney, and snow?? Don’t try, just watch and enjoy.
Suggested accompaniment – A sparkling wine cocktail, which you can sip while pretending to be at General Waverly’s swanky celebration. My fave is cava poured over a splash of St. Germain. If you’re feeling extra fancy you can put a raspberry in the bottom of the glass.
It’s A Wonderful Life
I have to admit, this movie is not one of my favourites – even I have my sappiness limits! But I still acknowledge its status a mainstay of the holiday movie pantheon. You don’t even have to seek it out, I’m sure it’ll be airing non-stop on Christmas Eve and Day on some tv channel or other. You could probably spend a full 24 hours listening to Clarence’s sage advice, watching the rise and fall (and return) of Bedford Falls, and listening to George and Mary singing about dancing ‘by the light of the moon’.
Suggested accompaniment – Mulled wine, because I’ve decided that’s what they’re all drinking as they toast George Bailey at the end and declare him ‘the richest man in town’.
What are your top holiday movies?