Festive films to watch

Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up under blankets, watch films and eat yummy snacks.

Earlier this week we asked you what your favourite films are for the festive season, here are some of your suggestions.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

A Muppet Christmas Carol lego scene

The Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale, complete with Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and Miss Piggy doing what she does best. Is a miserable old man capable of redemption and happiness?

Nativity! (2009)

A British schoolteacher tries to convince his ex-girlfriend, who now works in film production in LA, to come back to Coventry to film his school’s nativity play.

Love Actually (2003)

Love is all around – and so is heartbreak – as multiple couples navigate romance, family, weddings and airports at Christmastime.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Harry Potter scene made with lego

An orphaned 11 year-old enrols in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, here he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world.

The first of the eight Harry Potter films is perhaps the most festive, with the Great Hall full of trees and treats, homemade Christmas jumpers and snowy scenes, however that isn’t to say you can’t watch the entire series over the course of winter break.

The Lighthouse (2019)

Maybe not the most traditional of Christmas films, but in the Victorian Era ghost stories were an integral part of the season, with families gathering round the fire to tell tales of terror.

In The Lighthouse, two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

Die Hard (1988)

Not considered a Christmas film by everyone, but Die Hard has become a staple holiday viewing for many.

New York City policeman John McClane is visiting his estranged wife on Christmas Eve. He joins her at a holiday party in the headquarters of the Japanese-owned business she works for. But the festivities are interrupted by a group of terrorists who take over the exclusive high-rise and everyone in it. Very soon McClane realises that there’s no one to save the hostages – but him. Yippee Ki-Yay!

Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Generation after generation, immortal Guardians like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy protect the world’s children from darkness and despair. However, Pitch Black, a bogeyman that generates fear and nightmares, plans to overthrow the Guardians. It falls to a winter sprite named Jack Frost to thwart Pitch’s plans and save the Guardians.

La La Land (2016)

Sebastian and Mia are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

Lego Santa Claus with reindeer and presents

Other notable film suggestions include:

  • The Grinch (2000)
  • A Christmas Prince (2017)
  • The Holiday (2006)
  • Polar Express (2004)
  • Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1972)
  • Home Alone (1990)
  • Bad Santa (2003)
  • Elf (2003)

Many of these films are available on Netflix and Amazon Prime, or from Bristol Library for a £1 fee for a week’s loan.

If you are staying in Bristol over the course of Winter Break, ResiLife have events on every day for all students, whether you live in Halls of Residences or not. There is also support available throughout the entire winter period if you need it.

Images provided by student champion Josh.

Festive Recipes From Around The World

Words by Student Champion Lottie

The days are getting shorter and your fluffy socks have made a comeback for another winter season. You’ve just bought your first pack of mince pies since last year and all you can smell is your spiced apple scented candles. This is the perfect time to try out some traditional, cosy festive recipes from around the world. Here is a starter, main and dessert to get you into the festive spirit!


Let’s start in France with an easy festive soup, made with chestnuts. This recipe also involves ‘duck confit’, which is a traditional French dish where a duck is slow cooked until completely softened. It can be stored for up to a month in preserved fat.  

You can be pretty flexible here and use any vegetables which will add to the warm, winter feel of the foamy dish. Heavy cream and stock are also required. 

  1. First of all, fry your selection of vegetables with a knob of butter in a large pot, until they are tender. 
  2. Add a handful of chestnuts, some duck confit and a stock which covers all of the ingredients. Bring the pot to a boil and then allow it to simmer for 20 mi
  3. After 20 minutes, add a generous dollop of heavy cream. Allow the mixture to simmer for another 5 minutes and season to taste. 
  4. Transfer to a blender and purée the mixture until it has your desired texture.  
  5. Serve with a spoonful of maple cream and enjoy! 


Flying across the world to South America, it’s time for the main! Here is the recipe for the traditional dish, Bacalao Guisado, which is often served during this festive period. It consists of a salted cod, served with an assortment of vegetables in a tomato sauce. 

  1. Fry an onion, a clove of garlic and a red pepper in a deep pan until softened. 
  2. Add any desired spices, roasted tomato sauce and some water to the pan – just enough so that the vegetables are covered. 
  3. Add a diced potato to the mix and cover, allowing it to simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. After this, the potatoes should be semi-boiled and we can add the salted cod, gently folding it into the base and then leaving it for 5 minutes. 
  5. And we’re done! Serve with white rice. 


Finishing with a dessert, it’s time to try some classic Canadian butter tarts, often served around the time of thanksgiving. This easy recipe requires a variety of basic and accessible ingredients, such as pastry, eggs and sugar.  

  1. After pre-heating the oven to 180C, cut a sheet of pastry into the same shapes as you would for a mince pie and add the bases to a cupcake tin. 
  2. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl and add a handful of raisins, a generous amount of sugar, a dash of vanilla extract, a knob of butter and a dollop of cream.  
  3. Heat this mixture in a bowl until it thickens.  
  4. After stirring in a handful of walnuts, add the mixture to the tart bases. 
  5. Cook until golden and you can eat these cold or heated up! 

Are you feeling festive yet? If you try any of these recipes, make sure to post a photo and tag the University of Bristol on Instagram!