The Free Bundle

Christmas is back! We present you with an exclusive calendar of ten days with the best films to get into the festive spirit.

Lights! Cameras! Action!

Lights! Cameras! Action!

Lights! Cameras! Action!

Netflix is way too small for us—we discuss Korean films, Anime series and classic movies.

The Definitive Advent Calendar of Must-See Christmas Movies

Christmas is back! We present you with an exclusive calendar of ten days with the best films to get into the festive spirit.

Some of us here at The Free Bundle have decided to put together a small but quite effective list of Christmas films in the form of a ten days advent calendar to help you jumpstart your Christmas Spirit.

Whether you’re looking for a classic film about Christmas, have a laugh at the silliness of the Holiday stress, or simply spend quality family time, here are our favorite picks to plan ahead of time, pour yourself some egg nog, get cozy by the fire and enjoy the Christmas season.

DAY 16: “Jingle All The Way (1996)”

We start this list with a movie that will set the tone for the rest of our little calendar. Many people hate it, it’s true. It’s not really clear why, really. They just do. Maybe it’s because they can not stand watching another Arnold Schwarzenegger film, who here in The Free Bundle newsroom, we consider to be one of the best actors of our times. Or maybe they just hate it because they think the world is already too stuffed with Christmas comedies to waste time with yet another one. But the truth is that Jingle All The Way may very well be considered the favorite film to start our holiday season, and here’s why:

It has everything anyone could ask of a Christmas movie. Family, a little bit of magic, a touch of good intentions, and a story that ties everything together in a nice package with a colorful Christmas ribbon.

Now kids nowadays might go crazy for a Nintendo Switch or a new iPhone under the Christmas tree, but back in 1996 fun was still battery-powered and any working class parent could afford a present for the little ones in the family. Times surely have changed, but some things don’t: there is still something powerful in family stories like this one. Stories that leave an important message during Christmas season. This list hopes to group and explore these wonderful stories, and Jingle All The Way deserves to be among those for its warmth and family-friendly subject.

Arnold, I don’t know how, but you did it again.

DAY 17: “The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)”

If anyone knows how to create an original Christmas story that resonates for years to come, that is the father of the original Batman movie, Mr. Tim Burton. Not only has he captured the most iconic feeling of the Christmas movies we love so much (it’s a wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street), but he also put Halloween there!

Why is that so incredible? Well, because it made of Christmas a win-win situation for those of us who not only enjoy the special flavor of this time of year but also love the terrifying things that lurk in the dark weeks before, we have a new tradition: see Jack’s Christmas. If you did not do it during Halloween, do yourself a favor, look at Christmas!

DAY 18: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)”

Not the Jim Carrey version! He and Ron Howard did their best, but it just isn’t the same without Chuck Jones wonderful magic, isn’t it? This classic story from Dr. Seuss’ widely known book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was originally aired in 1966 and re-broadcast again next year, for twenty-six amazing minutes that ended up captivating an entire planet and that I would continue doing it for years to come.

If you are going to watch one movie from this whole list with your family, please let it be Chuck Jones’s heartwarming version of Dr. Seuss’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. You won’t regret it.

DAY 19: “Batman Returns (1992)”

We all miss the days when Batman was just a hero and not a martyr. The latest Hollywood treatments on the Dark Knight have been, to be mild, quite boring. Undeniably Nolan is an excellent director, but he simply could not achieve the Batman we deserve. In any case, it is understandable; everyone got scared when Joel Schumacher’s Batman tanked. Little by little, those running the show decided to steer away from the most attractive side of the franchise, which is fiction, and change it with a somewhat… incipient realistic look. But come on, the man it’s supposed to be Batman, not the Gothic kid in the schoolyard. He’s a freaking hero, a crusader! A Dark Knight!

That is why the second installment of Tim Burton’s Batman should not be taken lightly. This is an amazing Christmas movie to watch at any time of the year, but it is especially magical during December. With Danny Elfman on the soundtrack, an unmatched Michael Keaton as Batman, and a fantastically portrayed version of Gotham City during Christmas time (snow and all), Batman Returns must be seen at least once during Christmas week.

DAY 20: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (89)”

This film is definitely an acquired taste. Year after year, many choose to skip “National Lampoon Christmas Vacations” for the simple fact of being a Chevy Chase comedy. They couldn’t be more wrong. Luckily for them, it’s an easy mistake to correct.

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, its one of the most incredible cinematographic experiences that have been conceived for the Christmas season. The Citizen Kane of the Christmas comedy films, that’s what it is. With topics as current as the stress that can arise when trying to plan a Christmas out of the paintings of Norman Rockwell, and everything that family reunions mean for.

It’s also about the working-class Christmas reality, something that Hollywood used to do pretty well before each Christmas movie became an “after office party.” That is why despite being almost 30 years old, mark my words, with time, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation will become a timeless classic for the entire family.

DAY 21: “Gremlins (1984)”

Stephen Spielberg excelled himself with this Comic Horror classic. The star of the show is undoubtedly the most beautiful creature that Hollywood has given us: Mogwai (gizmo). Many do not know, but in the original script, this small and tender critter was destined to become the leader of the Gremlins (and the most sadistic). This was removed from the script in order to preserve the family rating (along with the beheading of Billy’s mother, among other things).

Speaking of Billy: At first, he was supposed to be the stereotypical nerd of the 80s, but at the last moment that was also changed. While it does not seem to be as big deal as Mogwai the killer, the reality is that this change turned out to be a disaster: the weakest point of the entire franchise turned out to be, precisely, its main character.

If the movies had been shot today, there is no doubt that Mr. Spilberg would have thought about that last change twice (especially with all this Stranger Things trend going on). That said, Gremlins remains, still, one of the best Christmas movies to have fun during our attempts to instill the joyful Christmas spirit.

DAY 22: “Home Alone (1990)”

Kevin McCallister needs no introduction. Since the character’s first appearance in Home Alone (1990), there has not been anything like it when it comes to Christmas comedies.

Either we are talking of the original 1990 version or the 1992 sequel, both are good-natured family movies that attract kids and adults every Christmas time with fun that we rarely see on TV nowadays. It remains as one of the highest ranked Christmas movies of all times, and for a good reason.

DAY 23: “Die Hard (1988)”

What can be said about this little Christmas tradition? In addition to shopping and drinking hot chocolate, watching Bruce Willis jump from a rooftop for the 50th time should be one of the best things to do each year. Although many critics do not count Die Hard as a Christmas movie, we do not care: there is a special place in our hearts for that final fight of John McClane and Hans Gruber in the Nakatomi Plaza building.

Based on the 1979 suspense novel by Roderick Thorp, “Nothing lasts forever” (I bet you did not know), this is by far the only Christmas action movie that has been made to date. A must in our list

DAY 24: “The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)”

There are many versions of the immortal “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickes out there, but without a doubt, this entry on our list would have been among the man’s favorites. “The Muppepts Christmas” is exceptionally performed by Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and Michael Caine in the shoes of Ebenezer Scrooge, this film proposes a version of the classic story that should be as traditional as the eggnog in all the homes.

And, to everyone’s surprise, this version of “Christmas Carol” is one of the few that follows the original story of Dickens almost to the letter, to the point that many are convinced it is the most faithful adaptation of the work of the author conceived to date.

Just to cite an example, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” presents us with an omniscient narrator throughout the history (masterfully interpreted by The Great Gonzo), just as if we were reading the book!

That is, to my knowledge, something that all of the other versions simply lack. Even the most acclaimed ones. That is why, if everything else fails this Christmas, then this movie is the only one you need to make sure to watch during the holiday season.

DAY 25: “The Polar Express” (2004)

Based on the 1985 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg, this computer-animated graphics version of the classic tale is perfect for the entire family to enjoy. With a digitalized Tom Hanks playing several roles (including Santa!), this film needs to be watched during Christmas Day for its full effect to take place.

The film is also a reminder to some of us who have grown perhaps a little too busy and too fast, that the magic and wonder of Christmas is a treasure that should be relished, not only during childhood but as we grow older as well.

EMERGENCY BONUS: “Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)”

If everything else has failed, there’s always the chance to lit a candle and summon Walt Disney. While many like the new version of Christmas Carol magistrally portraited by Jim Carrey, the original 1983 animated version with Scrooge McDuck is, perhaps, one of the best movies of this list and a must-watch when it comes to lifting up the Christmas Spirit.

Even if we already watched The Muppet Christmas Carol, this version of Dickens’s tale is highly recommendable and a tradition in many families across the world.


This Month's Cover

Did you Miss one?

The Free Bundle is published online once every two months, absolutely free. Movies, Comics, Video Games, Books, Hobbies, Warhammer, Table Top Games and more.