Text by Christopher O’Keeffe

If your stuck for something to do this Christmas season, why not head down to your local Tsutaya and check out one of these great Christmas movies?

Here are Weekenders pic of five Christmas favorites. They may not all be classics (Here’s looking at you Santa Claus: the movie!), but they should bring a smile to both young and old on a cold winter’s day in Tokyo.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

This classic 80s Christmas comedy follows Clark W. Griswold as he tries to create the perfect Christmas, in the face of terrible bad luck and troublesome family members. Chevy Chase is at his best playing Clark and Randy Quaid is hilarious as Clark’s disgusting brother Eddie. Everything that can go wrong does, from the inedible Christmas Dinner to the malfunctioning Christmas lights, the movie is hilarious, and despite the occasional bad language and risque jokes, it has a warm-hearted center.

Bad Santa

Not safe for children! Billy Bob Thornton gives an outstandingly bad-mouthed performance in this comedy about a pair of thieves who rob department stores every Christmas while posing as the store Santa and his Little Helper. The robber’s plans come undone however when Thornton’s character, Willie, befriends a troubled young boy who teaches him a little something about the true meaning of Christmas.


This is the story of Buddy the Elf, played by Will Ferrell, a human who was raised by elves at Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Buddy is sent to New York to find his real father, a grouchy James Caan, and ends up changing his life for the better. Will Ferrell is great in the title role as the sweet-natured, Christmas loving Buddy, and there’s good supporting roles from Caan, Zooey Deschanel and Mary Steenburgen.

Santa Clause: The Movie

I asked a group of Japanese children recently “How many reindeers does Santa have? And the best answer they could come up with was “errr… 2?”. So if you want to teach your Japanese friends about the true meaning of Christmas, and that its not all about fried chicken and a trip to a love hotel, there’s no better place to start than this. The film is aimed squarely at children so adults may bristle at its slightly ropey story and aging effects but that would be missing the point. Everyone who saw this film as a child has warm memories of this tale of Santa, his elves, and Dudley Moore.

Die Hard

I know what your thinking – “that’s not a Christmas movie!?” but bear with me. Watching this tale of a tough cop, played by Bruce Willis, going it alone against a team of slick European terrorists led by a snarling Alan Rickman, is a surprising festive treat, and a welcome break for those of us tired of Christmas songs and Santa-san! From the opening scene playing Run DMC’s ‘Christmas in Hollis’ to our hero scrawling ‘Ho, Ho, Ho, now I have a machine gun’ on a dead terrorist, Die Hard is a true Christmas alternative.