The Christmas season is a time for giving gifts and spending time with the family and decking the halls with boughs of holly and roasting chestnuts on an open fire. But most importantly, it’s a time for food. Turkey and stuffing and eggnog and mashed potatoes and carrots and gravy – not to mention all the chocolates and crackers and booze. Point is, the holidays are the one time of year that we get to pig out, guilt free. There have been some truly tantalizing and mouth watering food moments in Christmas movies over the years. Here are the 10 most delicious and festive!
10. Candy corn in Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton claims that although he starred in this dark crime comedy set during the Christmas season, he does enjoy the holidays. The movie had a belated sequel released in 2016, thirteen years after the original was released, but it failed to garner the cult audience of the first movie. The kid says, “Whoa – there’s a candy corn in this one!” Then Thornton, in the role of Willie T. Soke, replies, “Well, they can’t all be winners, can they?” It is often included in lists of the greatest movie quotes that sum up life – this one is about life being unfair to you, even when it’s in the form of a treat in an advent calendar. You simply can’t win. The Christmas pickle gift gets an honorable mention, because it’s a hilarious food moment from the movie, but the pickle technically isn’t edible, since it’s made of wood. But as it turns out, Christmas pickles are actually a thing. It’s a Christmas tradition for some people in America – not all, because it’s a little weird – whereby a decoration that is shaped like a pickle is hidden somewhere on the Christmas tree. If you find the pickle in the Christmas tree, then you either get a reward or simply have good luck for the rest of the year.
9. The dinner scene in Almost Christmas
This is a relatively recent Christmas movie, but it is sweet and funny and sentimental enough to already warrant viewings in the holiday season. It’s about a family who get together for their first Christmas together since the matriarch passed away. Danny Glover, who has become underrated in the years since his runaway Murtaugh fame, plays the patriarch of the family, while Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, Mo’Nique, and J. B. Smoove – who is better known for playing Larry David’s streetwise sidekick Leon Black on HBO – provide strong support, and it’s great to see so many talented black actors being given a chance in Hollywood. One might hope that this family could get through one simple Christmas dinner without bringing up any old feuds or airing any grievances or making any passive aggressive comments or, you know, creating any drama. But this is the Meyers family, so there was no way that was going to happen. These people all berate themselves across the dinner table while they pass around the dishes of vegetables and meat and gravy. Isn’t that just like your family? They’ll yell or say something passive aggressive or insult you, but then they’ll pass you the mashed potatoes and all is forgiven. That’s what family is all about.
8. “Hot Chocolate” in The Polar Express
While Tom Hanks is best known as an actor, he has tried on a number of other hats over the years. He has directed and written movies. He published his first collection of short prose last year. And in this animated Christmas adventure directed by Robert Zemeckis, he introduced the world to his singing voice. In the role of the Conductor, he performs the song “Hot Chocolate.” The song proved to be so catchy that it became a calling card for the movie itself and it was included in the film’s closing credits alongside the likes of “Spirit of the Season” and “When Christmas Comes to Town.” This movie was included in the 2006 Guinness World Book of Records, in which it was recognized as the first ever movie shot entirely using digital capture technology. It’s great that it made these technological achievements, but it meant that the animation looks a little rough, and a few critics found it to fall into the uncanny valley and therefore be super creepy. But it’s a Christmas classic and a lot of moviegoers loved it and it has the song “Hot Chocolate” in it, performed by Tom Hanks and the Conductor. Bonus fact about the song: the soundtrack version has a little instrumental cue from “Jingle Bells” that you won’t find in either the movie’s version or the version that plays over the end credits. That’s a little treat that was thrown in for the fans who were dedicated enough to buy the movie’s soundtrack.
7. Five pounds of veal in Scrooged
What a lot of people don’t realize is that Bill Murray’s brother, Brian Doyle Murray, is an actor, too. The two of them worked as caddies at a country club golf course over summers when they were kids, their experiences of which formed the basis of Caddyshack. Brian Doyle Murray wrote the script for the movie with Harold Ramis and Doug Kenney, while Bill Murray starred in it and improvised that classic “Cinderella story” monologue. The two have collaborated on a lot of movies together. Bill Murray might be the more famous one, but his brother is still an actor and writer whose work would be recognized by a lot of people. This is the duo’s dark Christmas comedy, which also features their other brothers John and Joel, and the “five pounds of veal” moment encapsulates a communist alternative to the very capitalist season of Christmas. Brian Doyle Murray’s character Earl Cross tells his son, “Here, Francis, I’ve got something for you. Merry Christmas.” Francis excitedly replies, “A choo choo train?” Earl says, “No, it’s five pounds of veal.” Disappointed, Francis says, “But Daddy, I asked Santa for a choo choo.” Earl says, “Then go out and get a job and buy a choo choo.” So cruel, and yet so hilarious!
6. The Christmas party buffet in Trading Places
Business Insider ranks this movie as both the greatest Wall Street movie ever made and the greatest Christmas movie ever made. It stars Eddie Murphy as a low class, streetwise guy and Dan Aykroyd as a Wall Street highflyer. They dare each other that the other couldn’t hack it in their shoes. Aykroyd doesn’t think Murphy could make it as a businessman and Murphy doesn’t think Aykroyd could make it on the streets. So, they trade places, just like the title says. The movie takes place over a few days across the Christmas and New Year’s season. It only takes a few days to get Dan Aykroyd’s character from being a well dressed, clean cut stockbroker in a suit to being a filthy vagrant dressed as Santa Claus, crashing his old office’s Christmas party. He gets incredibly drunk and raids the buffet, grabbing hunks of meat and stuffing them into his pockets. Then he flees, makes it to a bus, and starts eating the food out of his fake beard. Rest assured that Dan Aykroyd – the guy who ‘busted the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with Bill Murray, caused the biggest car pileup in movie history with John Belushi, and battled a bear with John Candy – can always be counted on for a good gag.
5. Chinese food in A Christmas Story
Since it’s one of the most endearing and beloved Christmas comedies ever made that is fun for the whole family, it’s difficult to accept that this movie’s script was based on stories that were originally published in Playboy magazine. Then again, as much as it is a sweet coming of age story about a young boy growing up with strict parents and local bullies, it is a story about a kid who drops F-bombs in front of his dad and wants a firearm for Christmas, so the signature chauvinistic Playboy sensibility is there. One of the funniest tropes of Christmas movies is the Christmas dinner getting ruined, because we can all relate to it. The dinner being ruined is the worst thing that can happen to anybody’s Christmas. In this movie, the family’s turkey is eaten by “at least 785 smelly hound dogs” who manage to get from their neighbors the Bumpuses’ house and into their kitchen. So, they have to go to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner instead. The waiters at the restaurant sing to them and it ends up being a really sweet moment. The message is that it doesn’t matter where you have your Christmas dinner or what you eat – as long as you’re with your family, it’ll be perfect.
4. Roast beast dinner in How the Grinch Stole Christmas
There have been a few versions of the Grinch character portrayed on the screen in the years since this animated classic came along with its roast beast. Jim Carrey played a live action version in a movie directed by Ron Howard that went on to become one of the highest grossing holiday themed movies of all time. A new version of the story, animated with CGI, was just released starring Benedict Cumberbatch and it’s been stealing the box office just like the Grinch has been stealing Christmas. But none of the remakes and reboots will ever be able to match the sheer pleasure of this colorful animated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss Christmas classic. Back in 2014, according to the Daily Meal, there was a Christmas promotion at a sandwich shop in New York called Katz’s Deli that honored this classic Christmas movie food moment. They called it the “Roast Beast Sandwich,” and rather than feature the unusual meaty delights that the Grinch treats himself to in this movie, it instead was filled with roast beef, turkey breast, salami, and coleslaw and placed on rye bread. With two animals between its slices of rye bread, “Beast” is certainly the appropriate word for this sandwich.
3. Pizza in a limo and room service sundaes from Home Alone 2: Lost In New York
Despite the fact that the critics did not initially take too kindly to the slapstick gags and cartoonish portrayal of sadistic violence in the movies, Kevin McCallister’s holiday adventures have joined the ranks of the most celebrated Christmas movies ever made. Every year, millions of people across the world dust off their old DVDs and relive Macaulay Culkin’s childhood. In the first movie, Kevin is stuck in his own house, so his enjoyment of the freedom allowed by that can only go so far. He can eat all the ice cream in the house or he can drink all the soda in the house or he can order a pizza, but he can’t truly live a life of excess. In the second movie, as he finds himself stranded in New York City with nothing but his father’s credit card, then he truly can live a life of excess. He can get the biggest suite in the fanciest hotel and buy all the room service he wants. He hires himself a limo and meets Donald Trump. The hotel makes the most delicious looking ice cream sundaes and the pizza that he eats in the limo is the cheesiest, greasiest New York pizza in town. It’s impossible to watch this movie and not immediately want a pizza or an ice cream sundae when those scenes come on.
2. The turkey dinner in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Chevy Chase’s unfortunate, downtrodden, tragic hero Clark Griswold is the try-hard father to end all try-hard fathers. All he ever wants is to give his family the perfect vacation, or in the case of his third adventure, the iconic holiday themed one, the perfect Christmas. Of course, it’s not long before things are derailed. The Christmas tree goes up in smoke, the hastily grabbed replacement tree has aggressive wildlife in it, Cousin Eddie shows up in his RV, the Christmas lights won’t work, there’s a slobbering dog slowly destroying the whole house, and Clark’s bonus check from work is suspiciously late – it seems as though nothing else could possibly go wrong. And then, to top it all off, the turkey is as dry as a bone. The second Clark tries to carve it, it pop so open to reveal all the meat has dried out and it’s just a hollow shell of its former self. Cue one of Clark Griswold’s famous explosive rants in which he deconstructs his entire family and then his own life and puts them all back together with a sense of anger and hopelessness. It all works out in the end, with a little help from the Christmas spirit, and that’s what makes this movie an enduring holiday classic.
1. The breakfast in Elf
Back in 2003, Will Ferrell had yet to break out as a movie star with his revelatory turn as Ron Burgundy and he was still best known for playing George W. Bush on TV. And then he came out with a Christmas movie where he played a human man who had grown up in Santa’s grotto on the factory line and decided to track down his birth father in New York City and was immortalized as a movie star forever. The movie has a couple of great food moments, including when Buddy knocks back an entire jug of cola, lets out an explosive belch, and then says, “Wow, did you hear that?!” But the greatest food moment in the movie is easily Buddy’s “breakfast.” All he’s eaten for his entire life is candy. That is, until he had spaghetti for dinner with his dad and his new family. So, for breakfast the next morning, Buddy combines all his favorite foods by piling chocolate and candy and syrup on top of a plate of spaghetti. According to a report by Food & Wine, a restaurant called Miss Ricky’s in Chicago actually has this sugary spaghetti dish on their menu – it’s called the “Spaghetti Sundae.”