James’ Christmas Countdown Wrap Up 2020

It’s all over now, Christmas has come and gone and my Countdown is finally complete and I can go back to watching Dawson’s Creek full time like I always dreamed.

So on November 25th I had the wise idea to start an Advent Calendar of Christmas movie reviews, wrote five in the first three days and thought I would be done by December 10th and I could put my feet up. That didn’t last very long, especially as we kept cutting and changing the movies and categories we would be covering until we were happy with it. While we had a slow start a huge reader boom in the middle really helped us push through to the end, and it was nice to see thousands of views on these silly little blogs.


Despite writing at least 10,000 words already analysing these Christmas movies, you all knew it eventually had to come down to some sort of ranking. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I didn’t watch these films alone, my best pal Matt joined me for this forced Christmas exposure.

While I’d seen 90% of this list before, he’d only seen Nativity, Love Actually and Home Alone before, so this was very much a crash-course in recent Christmas movie history. Obviously while we can pool our thoughts for a longer review, we don’t share the exact same rankings in terms of preference, so here are both our individual rankings of the 26 movies we fitted into the Countdown.

Best Movies: Scrooged, Klaus, Love Actually, Christmas Chronicles & A Christmas Prince

Worst Movies: Princess Switch, Christmas Prince 2, Eight Crazy Nights & Krampus

My rankings of all the movies we covered is on the left, Matt’s is on the right!

If you think we are wrong, then have no fear, the link to make your own superior versions of the ranking list is right here! We even threw in a few bonus movies that didn’t make the cut, either because we didn’t think they were Christmassy enough, or we ran out of room in the sections they belonged to.

Loose Ends

There were some bonus movies that we didn’t end up covering for a number of reasons, but I thought they might be worth a mention here! Santa Clause 3 is probably the weakest of the trilogy, but Tim Allen and Martin Short have really good chemistry, so if you like the others you’ll like this. I still haven’t got round to sitting through Nativity 3, but I did watch the fourth and currently last instalment, Nativity Rocks. Surprisingly it was great fun, Mr Poppy is finally removed from the franchise by his estranged brother, and this guy is way better in the role. He’s much nicer to the kids, he may be equally stupid but he’s not a teacher, just helping them make the musical, so it causes much less anxiety. For some reason it’s heavily tied to the Syrian refugee crisis for it’s plot, and somehow doesn’t mess up the message, making the final musical all about inclusion actually have an emotional and even political meaning.

I actually watched two newly added Disney+ festive movies, Noelle and Godmothered, with my little brother and had a great time! If I’d known about them at the start of December I would have made sure to include them, but we were already far too deep at that point. I’ve seen a lot of people compare the two movies to Elf and I can see why, both fish-out-of-water scenarios where they can get away with stupid actions due to their adorable personalities. Noelle really steals the show out of the two, ending on a really powerful final few scenes, Anna Kendrick really killing it as Santa’s duty-obsessed daughter. Godmothered is good, while no where near as emotional, it has much more slapstick and jokes crammed into it, most of them landing.

We watched About A Boy and considered Die Hard, which I still haven’t seen, but decided they weren’t really ‘proper’ Christmas movies, or at least not enough to knock any of the others off their slots in the run down so far. The Polar Express almost made it twice, being in the original introductory five, before we were persuaded to replace it with a Muppets Christmas Carol, and then we had it in the Creepy Christmas section, but swapped it out for both versions of the Grinch in one.

Thank you so much!

This project feels like a bit of a cringey mess, but we planned it, did it and actually finished it, and I’m really pleased with that. Every night at 11 we’d bang out the next Christmas movie and then get the review all cooked up and finished by 2am ready to roll the next day. Having something to work on at such a regular rate made the month of December go by in a flash, it feels like yesterday that I published the Dawson’s Creek review and had the stupid idea in the first place. We went from tens of readers to hundreds of readers and I can’t wait for our next big terrible idea. Happy Holidays!

Published by James Sumner

Writer, reviewer & journalist. BA: Multimedia Journalism. MA: PR & Digital Comms.

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