The festive season is almost upon us, Santa-themed movies are beginning to climb the streaming charts, and people are starting up the age-old debate on what exactly constitutes a “Christmas movie”. The argument over whether Die Hard is or not (it is) is played out, as is whether A Nightmare Before Christmas is more of a Halloween movie (it’s both). Now there’s a new contender, as the internet is trying to decide whether the eight-film Harry Potter franchise counts.
My first reaction was that they don’t. Sure there are festive scenes, but the stories take place over the course of a school year at Hogwarts and often have summery or autumnal settings. But there’s a counter-argument, with some posters pointing out that the candle-lit environments, snowball fights, and wintery magic all add up to the perfect movies to watch while snuggled up on the sofa on a cold night. Also, if you squint, Dumbledore kinda looks like Santa Claus.
I think this is a bit of a stretch, though many people responded by saying that while they agree that the films aren’t explicitly Christmassy, watching the series has become a family tradition. By now, this story is cozy and familiar, and immersing yourself for a few hours in the Wizarding World next to a raging fire sounds like a good time to me.
However, you probably should pick the right film for the job. I’d stay away from the more serious-minded and mature Deathly Hallows and The Half-Blood Prince and go more for the early entries in the franchise with lower stakes and more comedy.
My top pick is Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, which contains a truly heartwarming sequence in which Harry celebrates his first proper Christmas. Here we see Hagrid dragging a Christmas tree to Hogwarts, the first appearance of the annual Weasley knitted jumper, and Harry receiving the invisibility cloak as his first-ever present.
If you’ve made Harry Potter a staple of a family Christmas let us know in the comments, especially if you’ve got a recommendation that’s a particularly festive pick from the franchise.