Home for the holidays roundup
Tis the Season for Streaming!
Ah, winter—the time for snow, puffy jackets, and holiday gatherings. We all live far away from our families, and part of the joy of the season is a trip home. So for this December's roundup, we offer you a wintery mix with a homecoming twist! Tis the season for streaming, so grab your favorite blanket and stock up on Swiss Miss. Or, consider enjoying these seasonal streamable offerings with a mug of homemade hot cocoa!
Liz's Perfect Hot Chocolate Recipe
3 tablespoons Hershey's syrup
2 dashes of salt
1 mug's worth of milk
A tiny bit of vanilla
LOTS of mini marshmallows!
In a medium saucepan, combine syrup and salt. Add the milk and heat while stirring for about 2 minutes. Warm it up to your preferred temperature (don't boil!), then remove from heat. (You can also microwave in 30 second intervals.) Stir in the vanilla and whisk until frothy. Give it a taste, and add more salt or syrup until it's just right. Pour into your favorite mug and top with marshmallows, snuggle up, and press play!
A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy (TV-PG, 2018, Hulu) Y'all. This is the holiday viewing we never knew we needed. In this sitcom-style special, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen decide to have everyone over to their house for the holidays. Yes, everyone. Kenan Thompson. The entire cast of Queer Eye. Stevie Wonder. Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian. Awkwafina. The judges from The Voice. Luna and Miles, John and Chrissy's children. As guests arrive for a dinner party—complete with a mac and cheese "s'macdown"—Legend and friends add some cheer to the holidays with your favorite songs, old and new. A Legendary Christmas truly is... legendary.
The Family Stone (PG-13, 2005, Amazon Prime, $3.99) This one features one of our all-time favorite ensemble casts and is, in our humble opinion, the very best "home for the holidays" Christmas movie. The Stone family doesn't much resemble our families, yet there's something that feels essential about their dynamic. From bratty sister Amy's (Rachel McAdams) NPR tote bag, beat up station wagon, and basket full of laundry, to brother Everett's (Dermot Mulroney) uptight girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker), to brother Ben's (Luke Wilson) laid-back, easygoing, weed-smoking antics, this movie is a hoot—and a true classic. The Family Stone is about a family called Stone, and it's also about that family's rock, mother Sybil (Diane Keaton). Grace isn't embarrassed to admit that she tends to watch (and happily cry over) this movie every July-ish, as well as every December. Because why wait for the holidays to enjoy it?
Bridget Jones's Diary (R, 2001, HBO) We can already hear you on the other side of our computer screen: yes, we know this isn't technically a holiday movie. But Bridget Jones's Diary has enough ugly Christmas sweaters jumpers and uncomfortable family gatherings to earn its spot on this list. After a trip home to her parent's holiday gathering that culminates with her being called a "verbally incontinent spinster," Bridget Jones (Renée Zellwegger) decides to take control of her love life. Enter two men that make a love triangle for the ages: Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. If you're feeling lost or less cheerful this holiday season, we hope this one will help restore your faith in the power of fresh starts and a new year.
Love Actually (R, 2003, Netflix) So you don't need us to recommend you rewatch Love Actually... but we're here to do it anyway! The movie starts and ends at the arrivals gate at London's Heathrow Airport, where people are coming home to the friends and families that they've missed for maybe days, weeks, months or years. These two bookending scenes remind us of our favorite part of the holidays. Reuniting with loved ones is, after all, one of the true gifts of the holiday season.
Christmas with the Kranks (PG, 2004, Amazon Prime) This movie is ridiculous and kind of terrible. (And we strongly encourage you to watch it while sipping an adult beverage.) Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) have decided to skip Christmas this year. Instead, they plan to spend the money they would have spent during the holiday season on a trip to the Caribbean. The movie is based off of John Grisham's equally absurd novel Skipping Christmas, and serves as a reminder that home is where the holidays are!
The Holiday (PG-13, 2006, Freeform) L.A.-based Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Cotswolds-based Iris (Kate Winslet) both need to escape their ex-boyfriends, so the two decide to switch homes for the holidays. From romantic-comedy perfectionist Nancy Meyers—who was once dubbed by the New York Times "the most powerful female writer-director-producer currently working"—this movie delivers everything we'd expect in one of her films. Liz recently watched this with her husband, his first introduction to a Meyers masterpiece. When Amanda just happens to meet the very cute Graham (Jude Law) when he happens to stumble into her cottage, Michael said, "WHAT is happening?" This, friends, is a Meyers meet cute! Enjoy!
Honorable Mention: Fireplace For Your Home (TV-G, 2010, Netflix) We couldn't end a holiday roundup without the true star of the season: the yule log. Fireplace For Your Home brings the festive crackling of the fire right to your TV or computer screen with "all of the beauty and none of the ashes." Two of the episodes even feature music in the background for a little added holiday cheer! Oh, and if you burn through this collection, don't worry. There's also a "Classic Edition" and "Birchwood Edition" for your enjoyment!
There are obviously many more holiday movies that could've made the cut (see Home Alone, Last Holiday, and, yes, Mariah Carey's Merriest Christmas) but the ones above are those that, perhaps inexplicably, we want to rewatch over and over again.
To borrow from Love Actually, we hope that this year you're able to find what "isn't always dignified or newsworthy," but actually is all around: love, whether from family, friends, or a really good bad movie.
Liz, Tess, and Grace