Well, I immediately failed the experiment. My Christmas spirit was not strong enough to overcome my weak body which was hit with food poisoning, a migraine, and arthritis in the span of a week. I’m sorry to have let you down.
But there’s still time to enjoy at least 75 more Christmas movies before Saint Nick blesses us in two weeks. Additionally, I have added one new tool to my rating arsenal: the death meter. It’s only a Christmas movie if at least one of the main characters is grieving, isn’t it?
Without further ado…
From December 1 – 25, I will endeavor to watch a different Christmas movie each day and write about it on this blog. Here are the parameters:
- The movies I choose from cannot have been distributed in theaters for wide release (so no Elf, The Santa Clause, etc.). Movies made for TV, direct to video, streaming, or otherwise independent are up for grabs.
- I will only cover live-action full-length feature films. No reality shows or television shows (but again, made for TV movies are fine). I also won’t cover any holiday specials (ex. the Bob Ross special, Mariah Carey holiday special, Charlie Brown Christmas, etc.).
- All the available movies to stream (along with a Hallmark wildcard) are in a Google sheet, from which I’ll randomly choose one each day. If the movie turns out to be truly unwatchable within the first 10 minutes, I will redraw.
- Each movie will be rated based on a very strict set of Christmas criteria.
Got it? Let’s go!
The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000)
Directed by: Greg Beeman
Written by: Hallie Einhorn and Michael Hitchcock
Starring: Hallee Hirsh and Brenda Song
Synopsis: “A girl steals a weather machine from Santa Claus, to make a snow day. The machine breaks, and causes an out-of-control snowstorm.”
Watch on: Disney+
If you’re looking for immediate ’90s nostalgia, this is the Christmas movie for you. Lizzie McGuire’s mom, the little girl from You’ve Got Mail, and Spencer Breslin in one movie? It’s too good to be true!
Allie (Hallee Hirsh) is your typical kid looking for a way out of homework when Santa accidentally drops a weather machine into her lap. What starts as a simple snowday soon spirals into a storm that gets out of control, shutting down portions of the state and threatening to keep her family apart for the holidays.
It’s a sweet movie overall as it mostly centers on the friendship and antics of Allie and her best friend, Sam (Brenda Song!). There’s also a whole weird B-story with Peter Scolari as a crazed local news reporter/weatherman that’s pretty entertaining.
Also, if you’re into Santas that are kind of weird, you’ll like this movie. He’s still nice, but also kind of a dick. (Spoiler: the movie ends with him telling Allie she’s on the naughty list but may be able to work her way off.) And it features what may be the only portrayal of a 6′ tall Black elf!
All in all, I can guarantee that this Disney Channel Original Movie is better than half of the movies on my list, which is kind of The Ultimate Christmas Present.
A real Christmas movie should be so full of snow that the characters are at risk of suffocating on it. The more snowflakes, the snowier (and more Christmasy) the movie.
Snowmeter: 10 out of 10 snowflakes. That’s literally the plot of the movie.
What emotional cord is the movie trying to strike? Is it all about believing in the season? Or is it about the disillusioned bakery owner finding love once again? The higher the mistletoe, the feels this movie has.
The Feels: 5 out of 10 mistletoes. It’s pretty cute, but the kids (aside from Sam) are kind of jerks in this movie, too, so I ultimately wasn’t rooting for them that hard.
Related to the previous metric, but different, how much of the grieving process is portrayed in the movie? Was Christmas Mary Sue’s dead dad’s favorite holiday? Is this Lori Loughlin’s first Christmas without her husband? The more tombstones, the more our characters are grounded in the true meaning of the season–mortality.
Deathmeter: 1 out of 10 tombstones. Aside from one throwaway scene about Sam’s dead dad, everyone is alive and well.
How good of a job does the movie do at getting you in the mood for Christmas? The more snowy white Santa beards, the more Christmas cheer.
Overall Christmas Spirit: 10 out of 10 Santa beards. This is definitely the most Christmasy movie we’ve watched so far. Plus, Santa is in it.
Would I Recommend? Yes. It’s a cute family friendly watch with nostalgia for days.