There is no way Die Hard can be a Christmas film | Matt Mohan-Hickson
And where better to start than by reigniting one of the hot-button debates – whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not.
The answer is no. Die Hard is not a Christmas movie.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie – and some of the sequels. But it is categorically not a festive film.
Let me present my first piece of evidence: Bruce Willis, none other than John McClane himself, has categorically denied that it is a Christmas movie.
I could rest my case here, but I still have a few hundred words more to write to fill out the rest of the column.
You might be thinking: ‘But it is set at Christmas’. Okay, but that doesn’t make it a Christmas movie.
After all a Christmas movie is a specific type of film. It is practically a genre, it has cliches and trappings that audiences have come to expect. Small towns covered in layers of fake snow, a redemption story, messages of togetherness and family and the importance of community – running slightly in the face of the rampant consumerism associated with Christmas.
There is often a hefty sprinkling of magic – an advent calendar that might predict the future for example – and maybe a romance or two.
Santa might make an appearance, possible as the real deal who is being doubted by the state of New York – shout out to Miracle of 34th Street.
But most important of all, they leave you feeling gooey and warm and fuzzy, like the moment when George Bailey hugs his family at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life.
You might also end up with a slight sugar rush with how sweet they are.
Die Hard is probably a better all-round film than your everyday Christmas movie, but it doesn’t leave you feeling the way you do after watching a true festive film – from the throwaway flicks to the all-time classics.
Don’t get me wrong, if you want to spend Christmas Eve with John McClane, knock yourself out – just because it's December doesn’t mean you have to watch a festive film.
But just don’t call Die Hard a Christmas movie.
Dash and Lily is a bite size Christmas treat
One of the best parts about Christmas has to be all the festive treats, from stolen to mince pies and of course all of the biscuits.
It is the time of year when gorging yourself on sugary snacks is basically encouraged.
And this year Netflix has served up the television equivalent of a box of stolen bites, in the form of Dash and Lily.
The eight-part series is about two bookworm teenagers in New York who bond over a red notebook they pass back and forth to each other in the build up to Christmas.
Each episode only clocks in at around 25 minutes, so can be watched in bite size doses, perhaps while dipping a festive cookie in a mug of hot chocolate.
Like all the best Christmas visual media it is sugary, warm and fuzzy.
Plus in a year when we are all unlikely to get to see a major city fully decorated with festive lights, trees and window displays, it can transport you to New York City in December.
If you love cheesy Christmas movies, then you should give it a watch.
Punk rock carols are the best kind of carols
I love Christmas music. I mean I love the season as a whole – the movies, the jumpers, the decorations, all of it.
But I think I love the music most of all. The first time you hear Wham! In a supermarket or someone cues up Fairytale of New York.
And I have always had a big soft spot for carols – perhaps because I am Catholic and grew up singing them in church every week during advent.
There is something cosy and comforting about hearing a rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
However, I will freely admit they are often very stuffy and lack the bombastic excitement of modern festive music.
Or at least they did – until I discovered Bad Religion’s Christmas Songs a few years ago.
The nine-track EP takes eight traditional carols and infuses them with the propulsion of fast and furious punk music.
You might know the words to O Come, O Come Emmanuel but you have probably never headbanged to a guitar solo while listening to it! If you fancy mixing things up after hearing your 100th Michael Buble song this December.