My Favourite Christmas Movies

I was originally going to call this, “The Best Christmas Movies” or “The Definitive Ranking of Christmas Movies” but then I remembered that taste is subjective, and I think we all forget that sometimes.

ANYWAY.

I’m a big Christmas movie nerd. In my time, I’ve seen my fair share of them, both popular and not-so-popular, and while I’m always looking for new ones to watch (in desperate times I HAVE watched Hallmark movies, but I need to be in the right romantic, weepy mood) I do have those Christmas movies that I return to time and time again.

Remember what I said earlier about tastes being subjective? My tastes are definitely not everyone’s. For example, controversial opinion here, but I don’t really like It’s A Wonderful Life. Like man, that’s hard for me to sit through in its entirety, as much as I like James Stewart.

Also, I like kids’ movies. And animated movies. Christmas is kind of about being a kid again anyway.

Now, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my favourites:

A Christmas Story

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This movie is a runaway classic, with enough mishap and mayhem to make the family at its centre believable. Amazing cast all around, with the same type of overly-dramatic flair we’ll all recognize from when we were younger.

What’s it about? One boy with a dream: a dream to get a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas. Never was a dream so unattainable. Chaos ensues, but the type of holiday chaos you can really identify with.

The first time I saw it – I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe, and I remember thinking: how have I never seen this before? My life was forever changed.

Love Actually

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Right, so the thing about Love Actually is, even if you consciously don’t like it, if it’s on during Christmas, you’ll probably watch it. Overrated? Absolutely not. Overplayed? Probably. Still amazing? Definitely.

Every year I forget how much I love this movie until I see it, and then I’m gushing about Colin Firth all over again. (Honestly, the movie needs to be seen for Bill Nighy’s performance as an aged rocker alone.)

What’s it about? A collection of sometimes related-sometimes not stories about Brits that all play out in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Ridiculously sweet and at times heartbreaking. Also, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman are in it.

The first time I saw it – Probably was waaaaaay to young to be watching it, especially during the body double sequences. (You know what I’m talking about.) The whole movie gave me the warm and fuzzies, even if I couldn’t fully grasp some of the concepts that I am (unfortunately) familiar with now.

The Polar Express

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FOR SOME REASON every time I mention that I like this movie, someone goes, “Ugh.” WHYYYYY. I get it, okay, it’s pretty strange to adapt a children’s book into a feature-length film, but while some of the action sequences run long, I think a decent job was done. I like trains and I like Christmas. Done and done.

What’s it about? A young boy beings to doubt the existence of Santa, so in the middle of the night, a mysterious train comes to take him on a trip that will change his mind. Based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.

The first time I saw it – In theatres with my mom, which seems like an age and a half ago now. (2004!!!) It was long ago enough that I was amazed by the animation, and to be quite honest I still think it was pretty dang good for the time.

A Christmas Carol

OKAY BUT THERE ARE TWO VERY IMPORTANT ADAPTATIONS OF THIS STORY:

  • The 1951 Version

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Why? Because it is amazing. It’s the best no-frills adaptation ever done. Alistair Sim IS Scrooge. The first time I saw it, I only saw the ending. I walked into the living room during the scene where Scrooge wakes up a changed man after his dream. To this day, I think that entire scene is one of the best I’ve ever seen in a film. It made me so inexplicably happy, and I now watch this version every year.

  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol

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Why? Do I really need to say? This is the version of the Dickens story I grew up with. I loved it, but I was scared of the Ghost of Christmas Future. Though, I think everyone is a little bit. A little creepy, a lot heartwarming.

The Holiday

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I know, I know. Max cheese. But it’s so good. Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, my people. Also, can we talk about how Jack Black is actually pretty fantastic in this? While it is a bit predictable, The Holiday is also really, really sweet. It has no ulterior motives other than being about people falling in love, with each other and with themselves.

What’s it about? An American and a Brit swap houses for Christmas, and wind up becoming involved in way more than either of them imagined. Jude Law (who is weirdly tan in this by the way) is there too.

The first time I saw it – With my sister, and now it’s a tradition for us to watch it together because we’re both secret soppy messes who love this type of shit.

Christmas in Connecticut

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THIS MOVIE. HAS EVERYTHING YOU NEED. Literally – a zany comedy with Barbara Stanwyck’s amazing wardrobe, Sydney Greenstreet doing his thing, an I-love-to-hate character, a few classic Christmas mixups and the most stupidly handsome, stupidly nice, piano-playing sailor you’ve ever seen.

*pauses for breath*

What’s it about? Elizabeth Lane, a writer working with a pen name and a pretend life, must scramble to convince her boss and a war hero that she is an an amazing cook living with her husband and child in Connecticut when she is, in fact, none of those things.

The first time I saw it – I was with my mom and I was melting into a pile of festive goo every time the sailor, named Jefferson Jones, naturally, did anything on screen.

Home Alone

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A great movie with a great cast and, interestingly enough, a pretty good sequel. I won’t speak for the 3rd, but Home Alone 2 is just as good as the first. Chalk it up to a winning formula of Christmas, physical comedy and Macaulay Culkin when he was still an adorable kid.

What’s it about? Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister is left behind on his family’s Christmas vacation to Paris. At first it’s his dream come true, but trouble arises in the form of the Wet Bandits: two crooks out to rob every empty house in Kevin’s neighbourhood.

The first time I saw it – I think it was at a friend’s house, at a sleepover around Christmas, all of us cracking up at the traps set for the burglars. This was, of course, one of the Christmas movies at the time, and I think can be comfortably moved to the category of contemporary classic.

Arthur Christmas

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According to my sister, I am obsessed with this movie. And yeah, I more or less am.

It’s just so excellent. The animation is great, the jokes all land, the storyline is genuinely sweet and there is no. unnecessary. romantic. subplot.

What’s it about? The current Santa Claus, in a long line of Claus’, is on the brink of retirement. His older son Steve, a corporate militaristic type is set to succeed him, while the younger Arthur seems set to spend the rest of his days in the letters department. OR SO WE THINK.

The first time I saw it – About three years ago, putting off studying for exams by wrapping presents and watching a movie. In that moment, sitting on the floor of my room with tape all over my hands and this movie on, I felt so ridiculously Christmas-y. I still love to put this movie on in the background when I’m doing any kind of Christmas-realted activity.

Latest Faves: Mid-Autumn Edition

Seasons change, etc. etc.

I’m still unsure if I will make seasonal favourites a regular occurrence, but for now I continue to enjoy things, and those things continue to change as time goes on.

Without further ado, here’s a selection of various clothes, beauty and random things I’ve been into lately.

Friends, I use natural light for my pictures so they’re a bit terrible.

Fashion

Urban Outfitters “Girlfriend” Jeans

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This is one of the most obvious favourites I could’ve picked. These jeans have featured in nearly every outfit post lately, and it’s because I love them and no one can deny true love.

When I first tried these on, I was so shocked at how well they fit that there was a near breakdown in the fitting room. Jean shopping always seems like a losing battle, but that day I felt like Patton. Or something.

I always wear the black pair, but you know I also bought them in a blue wash. Because obviously.

Free People Knit Sweater

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Knit sweaters for fall? Groundbreaking.

Listen, folks. It’s a seasonal staple for a reason. It’s getting colder, so you wanna snuggle up in some thick, warm goodness, but it’s also that perfect time where I can wear a sweater like that with no coat over it.

This guy from Free People is amazing. Perfect colour, perfect length, super cozy. Say what you want about that store, but they kill the sweater game.

*Moonwalks away humming Sweater Weather*

American Apparel Denim A-Line Skirt

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When you are a person with hips and a butt, a-line skirts are a mere dream. An urban legend, something you’ve only heard but never experienced.

If you don’t know, here’s why:

Unless that skirt has a hella lot of stretch, there’s no way you can get an a-line to fit both the booty and the waist. You’ll have to size up hugely and get half of the damn thing altered and at that point the skirt is twice as expensive and you stand there in a Topshop shaking a fist at the heavens for both the blessing and curse of a bodacious bod.

Anyway.

I found this skirt in an American Apparel, and it fits perfectly. It’s a-line, and the little bit of a flair at the bottom is enough flair so the whole thing just works. This has truly been the month of me finding clothes that properly fit and nearly weeping from satisfaction.

Brandy Melville Velvet Choker

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This time of year is about those possibly-witch-possibly-vampire-definitely-dangerous-and-sexy vibes, you feel me?

This choker fits the bill pretty well. Velvet is badass any time of year and I was super into the black/burgundy colour when I first saw it. Wicked accessory when I’m feeling my outfit is just not the place where I need it to be in terms of drama.

Beauty

Too Faced Melted Matte Liquid Lipsticks + Lip Insurance

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I’ve been around the block with a few liquid lipsticks. I’ve got my faves, but I hadn’t tried any of Too Faced’s until recently. More to that, I hadn’t tried any of Too Faced’s products until recently.

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I was recommended the brand’s lip primer, but while grabbing that I was waylaid by the beautiful matte liquid lipstick shades. I was intrigued, and picked up two vastly different colours to try. One is a pinky-browny colour, basically that colour every brand has their version of lately, called ___ and the other is a deep, rich burgundy called ___.

I’ve tried both shades, and have put them through various tests (i.e. drinking a coffee, eating a salad, wearing for an entire shift at work). They’ve really impressed me.

With the lip primer, they’re not too drying on me and stay put until I have to forcibly remove them with makeup remover and a cotton pad.

10/10.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-H Blush

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I’m not a massive blush person, which kinda sucks, because that’s a whole other area of makeup to explore. I went through a phase over the summer where I wore bronzer and highlighter always. No blush.

But recently, I’ve only been wearing blush, and this Tarte one is the reason for it.

I wanted to try a different fall look, one with a simple, darker blush that I can wear into the colder months. I’ve heard good reviews of Tarte blushes for years, and went searching for that perfect fall shade.

I found it in a little fella called Risqué, and I’m crazy about it. It’s a gorgeous shade that wears so well for the entire day. It looks like I haven’t used much, because it’s so highly pigmented you really don’t need a lot, but I’ve worn it nearly every day since I got it.

The Body Shop Honeymania

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Starting to think this may become my new signature scent. There’s something about it I really like.

There are other fragrances I like to wear sometimes for special occasions or whatever (read: partying) but the body butter and eau de toilette from this collection are part of my daily routine. It’s to the point where some of my clothes smell like it.

Idk guys, but it may be a mix of genuinely enjoying the scent and also wanting a daily reminder of our very important friends, the bees.

Culture

Estee Lalonde: Bloom

I’ve been subscribed to Estee Lalonde’s YouTube channel for a little while now, and I think she’s great. I’m not sure what drew me in the first place, maybe the Canadian connection, maybe the makeup videos or just her personality in general. Either way, I’m a fan. When she posted a video saying she was releasing a book, at first I was a bit dismissive because it was, unfortunately, at a time when I was seeing lots of YouTubers publishing books. I have my own opinions on that, but when I saw a couple tweets about people reading the book and enjoying it, I decided to pick up a copy.

So far, I’m only about halfway through Bloom, and I actually really like it. The photography and layout is gorgeous, which is something you could expect from her, but in my opinion the text itself is well-written and painfully honest at times.

Anna of the North

Bless Spotify, because I’m able to discover so many new artists I wind up loving off of that app. I first heard a song by Anna of the North in passing earlier this year, but now she has a few more circulating, and I’m really into her dreamy, minimalist sound.

Currently loving the tracks “Baby” and “Us.” Inexplicably, they remind me of high school.

Kings of Leon: WALLS

I’ve been a Kings of Leon fan for years. It’s true, I hadn’t heard of them until the big “Sex on Fire” takeoff, but I stuck with them. I got into their old stuff and kept following their new stuff. I think they may be the artist with the most songs listen in my iTunes other than Coldplay (and possibly One Direction, shhhh.)

When I heard WALLS was coming out, I was instantly stoked. There are definitely some albums by them I like more than others, but I’ve enjoyed nearly everything they’ve released. This album is no exception.

My favourite tracks off of WALLS right now are “Muchacho” and “Eyes On You.”

Black Mirror

I straight up only started watching Black Mirror because someone told me it was like a current Twilight Zone. Listen, there’s so damn much to watch on Netflix that things can easily get looked over, but the Twilight Zone is fantastic, so I was curious about Black Mirror.

Luckily for me, the third season came out recently, so I dove in, and was not disappointed.

It’s like the Twilight Zone in the sense that episodes are self-contained and can be awfully unsettling. Black Mirror’s perspective is mainly on technology, throwing in some dystopian and near-future elements. It’s pretty good, and has made me think pretty differently about certain aspects of technology.

Latest Faves: Midsummer Edition

Sometimes, I un-ironically like things. Sometimes, those things are related to fashion and beauty. Sometimes I assume absolute strangers will care about those things, so I list them on the internet.

Monthly favourites are a common topic for bloggers and YouTubers and I thought, maybe I should do that too. Why not capitalize on someone else’s idea???

However, since I’m only putting out one blog post a week, for the sake of not getting repetitive, I’d like to do posts about my latest faves every once in a while, kind of a “what I’ve liked in the past few months” type of thing.

This is clearly a well-thought out plan.

I’m calling this episode of latest faves the “midsummer edition.” It is definitely past the official midsummer time and I have no excuse other than I liked how it sounded. Generally, the way this will work is I’ll sort everything I mention into three groups: fashion, beauty and assorted.

Fashion

Rompers

What an extremely vague favourite I have given you to start with. I posted a picture on Instagram a few weeks back about how rompers are the only thing I can wear in extreme heat, other than absolutely nothing at all. There’s something about the ease in dressing, with the coolness of a dress and the freedom in wearing shorts. And it is true, if you see me around town on a very hot day (basically every day in Toronto, RIP), then chances are I’m in any one of these rompers.

Aritzia romper

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H&M romper (similar)

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Urban Outfitters romper (similar)

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Vintage 80s Sweater

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I met my friend Sam for lunch at the El Furniture Warehouse on Queen St. earlier in July. We drank, ate, got sunburnt and decided, after all of those things, to pop into Tribal Rhythm Vintage to have a poke around. Now, I don’t go vintage shopping nearly as much as I would like to. Part of that is because of time, because I really like to hunt for the good vintage stuff. The other part is laziness, which can also be linked to the previous statement. While I was in Tribal, I found this French tennis player meets vintage English private school kid sweater and I loved it. It’s a bit weird I liked it so much, because I’m not the preppiest dresser, but something about it made me so down to have it in my wardrobe. I’ve loved having this around to chuck on when it’s slightly cooler in the evenings, throwing around some “I’m vaguely European” vibes. I don’t know when those became vibes I want to put out into the world, but here we are.

Aritzia Monterey Bralette

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It’s a bit weird to have underwear as a favourite, so all I’ll say about this is I love it and have it in two colours. It’s comfortable, beautiful and works well under most of my wardrobe. The last time I wore a proper padded bra was back in the Spring. Once you go bralette, you really don’t want to go back.

Block Heel Sandals by Seychelles

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The 90s are it right now. Chokers are everywhere, space buns are popping up on Instagram and block heel shoes are coming back. These sandals I found at Heel Boy aren’t as 90s as the jelly shoes, but the thick straps and block heel made me think of The Craft and I was sold. I’m really not a big sandal person — I like to wear sneakers and boots all the time — but these were a great middle ground for me.

Similar

Quay Australia Sunglasses

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The perfect summer sunglasses. Colourful, round without making my already-round face look like a beach ball and reflective, so people never know when you’re staring at them. These sunglasses were a bit of a gamble because I bought them online, and you never know how a pair will look on you. In this case, however, the gamble paid off very nicely.

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Beauty

Colourpop Blush in Birthday Suit

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Colourpop products are amazing. With the price point, quality and ever-growing product list, my only complaint is that the prices are in American, and the exchange rate doesn’t become real until the credit card bill. (I cry.) I wanted a pretty pink shade I could dab on to give myself a fresh-faced flush, and this dude delivers. I love how this shade looks with my skin tone and I really like how subtly you can apply it. Obviously for super pink cheeks, you could always build up the colour, but I like the soft spot of blush. It’s as though I just finished a round of skiing in the Alps. Or whatever.

MAC Lip Pencil in Spice

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Hand to God, every single time I wear this lip liner, someone compliments me on it. It’s the prettiest brown shade that wears flawlessly on its own. This is one of the things I love about MAC liners – they’re creamy enough that you could wear them without lipstick no problem. I first picked up this colour to use as a linear for Persistence, but found wearing it on its own gave me a more dark mauve-brown tone, if that makes any sense at all. It’s that 90s inspired, summer neutral lip. Get into it.

MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream

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Fun fact: I do not like wearing foundation in the summer because I sweat. That’s just the truth. I do, however, love wearing sunscreen because my sensitivity to sunburn is too real. Enter this tinted face cream. Given the name this is probably obvious, but it applies just like a moisturizer and has very light coverage. I don’t necessarily need heavy coverage, so I wear it in place of foundation and set it with a powder. If you’re looking for much heavier coverage, this would also make a great primer, especially with the added SPF 30. Sunscreen that shit.

Assorted

Stranger Things

Believe the hype about Stranger Things. It’s wonderful. I loved the story, the characters, the way it was shot and I am obsessed with the soundtrack. Gimme all that 80s synth action. This is a spoiler-free zone, so I’ll just say that the show made me feel really nostalgic about being 12 years old but also made me rethink so many things about life, science and my own existence.

The Black Tapes  

I’ve talked about this podcast before on Snapchat and how it has made me scared of everything. I’m one of those people who absolutely should not get involved with anything horror-related because I scare really easily. And yet. This podcast isn’t straight-up horror, but it’s so suspenseful and contains some pretty harrowing moments. It’s a mockumentary podcast, following a journalist investigating unsolved paranormal cases. It’s really good. So good, in fact, that the last time I listened to it I was so engrossed I missed my subway stop.

Arkells: Morning Report (Released Singles)

Here’s the thing about this band: I always have their albums on non-stop during the summer. There’s something about Arkells and these dog days for me that just works. The full album will be released on August 5th, just a couple of days after this blog post will go up. I can tell you right now I’m going to love it for two reasons: 1) I’ve been pretty consistent with enjoying everything this band puts out and 2) I’m already in love with the first tracks they’ve released as singles. Drake’s Dad and Private School are, in particular, some supremely decent jams.