Christmas in July: Flip Screen’s Top Festive Picks

Who says you can’t have Christmas cheer in the middle of the summer? Christmas in July is an unofficial holiday celebrated with Hallmark sales, movie marathons, and Christmas-themed parties. Flip Screen’s staff decided to put together a list of our favourite Christmas movies that hold up even in the off-season. 

Eloise at Christmastime (2003)

Eloise stands with her arms held out with colorful string lights wrapped around her
DiNovi Pictures

Eloise at Christmastime is my favorite Christmas movie. I have strong memories of watching it in my parent’s home while dancing along to the holiday tunes and adding ornaments to a pine tree glowing with rainbow lights. Every year, I return to the film and remember just how great it is. Inspired by the Eloise at the Plaza book series, the Christmas edition is full of hotel hijinks, Christmas decor, and, naturally, a Christmas Eve wedding that Eloise (Sofia Vassilieva) is determined to stop. As Eloise and Nanny (Julie Andrews) get things in order for Christmas, Eloise finds a problem she’s determined to fix: the heiress of the Plaza, Rachel Peabody (Sara Topham) is engaged to a suspicious man, Brooks (Rick Roberts). Rachel seems to like Bill (Gavin Creel), a room service waiter and dear friend of Eloise, so the six year old Plaza resident takes matters into her own hands. A delightfully funny and charming mess ensues as Eloise does everything in her power to convince Rachel and Bill that they belong together. As always, Eloise gets her way and things turn out wonderfully. Along the way, the all-star supporting cast makes every scene special, with appearances from Julie Andrews, Christine Buranski, Kenneth Welsh, and more. Every moment of the movie is brimming with cheer, so give it a watch if you need a little pick me up!

Written by: Jenni Holtz

Olive, the Other Reindeer (1999)

A cartoon reindeer stands in a room with a Christmas tree, presents, and a television set
Fox Television Studios

I’m not typically a Christmas movie person. Children’s Christmas films in particular feel incredibly formulaic, with their cast of characters often being pretty two-dimensionally “nice” or “mean” and their storylines predictable. While the protagonist of Olive, the Other Reindeer (1999)certainly fits the typical kind-hearted character type, her story is a unique one. Olive (Drew Barrymore) is a little Jack Russell Terrier who journeys to the North Pole to save Christmas after she misinterprets a radio broadcast asking for the help of “all of the other reindeer” as “Olive, the other reindeer” and assumes she must be a reindeer instead of a dog. Side characters such as the sarcastic conman penguin Martini (Joe Pantoliano), and disgruntled bar owner, Round John Virgin, (Mitch Rouse) also create some great character dynamics that aren’t present in many other films of the same ilk. Even the Postman antagonist (played by Dan Castellaneta) has an understandable plight, hating Christmas due to the stress all of the letters and packages put on his back. The film is animated in a mostly lineless art style which is equal parts charming and original and its unconventional story of misinterpretations sets it apart from other stories of the season, making it my go-to cheery Christmas movie to get me in the holiday spirit.

Written by: Beca Dalimonte

Nightmare Before Christmas  (1993)

a claymation skeleton wearing a striped suit smiles at colorful string lights
Touchstone Pictures

I’m going to let you in on a secret about myself; I’ve never really been a person for Christmas films. Perhaps this is not the best thing to write in a jolly seasonal article, but it is the truth. However, when I was around twelve, on the cusp of entering my emo phase, I came across a film that would alter my inability to get into Christmas films forever, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Slightly shamefully mismarketed as Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas (it is now well known that Burton produced, but did not direct, the film), the film is a stop motion animation musical, with elements of magical realism. It is probably the most popular ‘alternative’ Christmas film, and I am not ashamed to say that I still have a stuffed toy of Zero, the protagonist Jack Skellington’s ( Danny Elfman) dog, sitting on one of my shelves. The film is littered with iconic imagery, the entire character design of Skellington, the imagery of the characters of Halloween town building, and yet is so much more than this. To me, Nightmare Before Christmas has always tapped into the innocent, anti-consumerist, nostalgia of my childhood Christmases, which is why it will always exist as my favourite, and most joyous, Christmas movie.

Written by: Molly Miles

Elf (2003)

a blonde woman in an elf costume decorates a large Christmas tree while a man in an elf costume looks at her
New Line Cinema

My go-to Christmas film is none other than Elf (2003). This charming film tells the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell), a human raised as a North Pole elf who embarks on a journey to New York City in the hopes of finding his birth father. Once he arrives however, Buddy realizes that he doesn’t exactly fit in with everyone else. His childlike enthusiasm for the world around him and passionate love of Christmas makes him very different from his family, especially his no-nonsense dad, Walter (James Caan). While Buddy tries to gain his father’s affection, he bonds with his brother, Michael (Daniel Tay) and falls in love with department store clerk Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), who’s willing to entertain his weirdness. Hilarious, quirky, and infinitely quotable, Elf is a fun film that never fails to get me in the holiday spirit! 

Written by: Hayley Paskevich