The best Christmas dinners in film

Culture Screen

Image: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog © 1992 Jim Henson Productions Image Credit: Stephen F. Morley

Christmas, that yuletide day of excessive eating approaches. With that in mind, I feel it’s essential to look back at some impressive Christmas dinner moments in cinema.  Whether decadent or modest, the following examples are some of the most memorable displays of chowing down in cinema. Be inspired.

Elf (2003)

This timeless classic is a masterclass in festive slapstick, and the amusement doesn’t get much better than the first dinner scene with Buddy (Will Ferrell) and his estranged family. After downing two litres of coca-cola, the delighted elf finds a bottle of syrup in his sleeve and proceeds to pour it over his bowl of spaghetti. As Buddy informs his bewildered onlookers, elves follow the standard dietary regime of ‘candy, candy canes, candy corns and, of course, syrup.

As Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and Walter (James Caan) step outside to discuss their eccentric relative, the camera switches back to Buddy and his younger brother Michael (Daniel Tay), where the elf lets out a belch that lasts for a whole 12 seconds. Michael’s unimpressed reaction is priceless.

Unfortunately, the burp doesn’t come from Ferrell’s own mouth. Maurice La Marche, an experienced voice artist who has worked on ‘Animaniacs’, ‘The Real Ghostbusters’ as well as ‘Futurama’, provided the loud echoes. Even though his contribution isn’t credited, it’s a memorable addition to a brilliant scene.

All the sugar intake inevitably caused Ferrell headaches and lack of sleep. But if you’re looking for an alternative option on your Christmas menu, syrup and spaghetti is a fine choice.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

No, not the rubbish Jim Carey one or the underwhelming Benedict Cumberbatch version. This is the definitive classic. This earlier TV short packs in more memorable moments in its 25 minutes than both of the modern adaptations combined.

The opening scene of the first feast has great animated depictions of Christmas indulgence, including a guy moving a corn on the cob back and forth across his mouth without actually appearing to eat it, and a Russian-doll style arrangement of cooks delivering an apple to Cindy Lou Who. However, the final scene of the reformed Grinch cutting the roast beast is a particularly joyful image, which pans out to a table of grateful Whos.

However, if you’re not into all of this selfless tomfoolery during Christmas dinner, take note of one of the insults thrown at the Green miser during his thievery, where Boris Karloff passionately declares he wouldn’t touch the monster with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole. Powerful stuff.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Although the Christmas dinner in The Muppet Christmas Carol is not as sugar-filled as Buddy’s or as luxurious as Whoville’s, it is nonetheless very much appreciated. After repenting his greedy ways, Scrooge (Michael Caine) orders a rabbit to buy the biggest chicken he can. Marching down to Bob Cratchit (for the eagle-eyed, Caine walks past Micklewhite’s, the actor’s real surname) and presents his family with the feast.

Hopefully these suggestions have given you a few creative ideas.To echo the sentiments of Tiny Tim, Merry Christmas everyone!