Christmas is a time for eating, drinking and reflecting on the past 12 months – and above all, parking yourself in front of the TV for whole days at a time. While streaming services have the edge for the rest of the year, during the festive season terrestrial telly takes the lead, rolling out wall-to-wall favourites in the broadcasting equivalent of an endless box of Celebrations. Here’s our pick of the best films on over Christmas.
1. ‘Home Alone’
A strong contender for the title of ultimate Christmas film. Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin foiling burglars never gets old. A bonus: this year it’s followed by ‘Home Alone 2’ on Christmas Day, also on Channel 4.
Channel 4, Christmas Eve, 5.30pm
If you haven’t seen it yet, get ready for Moana, daughter of chief Tui, to steal your heart in this nautical animated adventure. The Disney crowdpleaser is impossible not to love.
BBC One, Christmas Day, 12.55pm
3. ‘Paddington 2’
Fast becoming a classic, the second ‘Paddington’ film sees everyone’s favourite mishap-prone bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) locking paws with Hugh Grant’s dastardly thespian Phoenix Buchanan. It’s a joy from start to finish.
BBC One, Boxing Day, 7.20pm
4. ‘Casino Royale’
Bond will be all over our screens for the next couple of weeks, as is traditional. Our pick is this one, Daniel Craig’s inaugural outing as 007, featuring high-stakes poker, plenty of chases and, yes, the blue swimming trunks.
BBC One, Sat Dec 21, 9.10pm
Kids and big kids alike will want to settle down on the sofa for Disney’s animated epic. This year it’s showing on Christmas Eve – the perfect distraction from the presents piling up tantalisingly under the tree. All together now: let it go, let it gooooo...
BBC One, Christmas Eve, 3pm
6. ‘Love Actually’
It wouldn’t be Christmas without Richard Curtis’s all-star, much-parodied seasonal heartwarmer. Love it or loathe it, watching this one is as traditional as sprouts and having a massive argument about when the turkey should go in the oven.
ITV1, Fri Dec 27, 10.10pm
7. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’
Harrison Ford in his prime, a thumping score, Nazis getting trounced – tick, tick, tick. The best of all the Indiana Jones films sees everyone’s favourite archaeologist on a mission to track down the Ark of the Covenant in 1936.
BBC One, Fri Dec 27, 1.25pm
8. ‘Back to the Future’
This 1980s favourite has all the elements of a Christmas classic: good triumphing over evil, plenty of quotable one-liners and, er, a time-travelling car. A solid Christmas Day choice.
BBC One, Christmas Day, 2.35pm
9. ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’
Based on the beloved children’s book by author Judith Kerr, who sadly died earlier this year, this new adaptation is a childhood favourite bought to life in a charming and nostalgic way.
Channel 4, Christmas Eve, 7.30pm
Rather head outside? Check out these festive film screenings or our pick of things to do when London is deserted over Christmas.