A Design Studio’s Must-Watch Christmas Movies

16.12.19

Ah, that time of year for a seasonal blog post. Put another log on the fire and curl up with one—or six—of our favourite holiday flicks.

Christmas Vacation

Penned by the crown prince of 80s films himself, John Hughes’ Christmas Vacation is a love letter to middle-class fatherhood steeped in Midwestern American lore. Picking a favorite scene like trying to rank order the Beatles’ greatest hits: this could take hours, just put the damn thing on.

In a film that’s as tragic as it is funny, witnessing Clark Griswald burn the perfect family Christmas to the ground is a necessary reminder that the only way to make sure something goes wrong is to obsess over it going right.
—Josh

Home Alone

A pure nostalgia trip, Home Alone has become one of those annual family traditions now — just like cranberry sauce or political debates at the dinner table. Growing up we considered Macaulay Culkin the smartest kid around town and I still remember marveling at those cartoonishly violent DIY traps. Also top marks for one of the worst and best insults ever to be gifted to children: “Kevin, you’re such a DISEASE!”
—Tessa

Edward Scissorhands

After exhausting herself arguing that Edward Scissorhands is, in fact, a Christmas movie to her terrible coworkers, Anna has nothing left to say. Just go and watch this beautiful film from Tim Burton at the height of his powers.
—Anna

Hooves of Fire

Steve Coogan. Ardal O’ Hanlon. Ricky Tomlinson! Paul Whitehouse & Harry Enfield!! I mean COME ON! This weird claymation TV short somehow made its way into my Christmas in when it was released as a Comic Relief promo in 1999, and somehow never left. Claymation at Christmas is a strong Mowat tradition, and this one was the one we’d watch when we’d ran out of Wallace & Gromit.

Full of gloriously dumb gags only made possible with claymation, as well as a good bit of blue for t’dads, it’s a great family watch. Robbie “I’m a rubbish reindeer. I’m even a rubbish elf. I’m worse than rubbish. If they tossed me in the rubbish bin, the other rubbish would say…” *Cuts to Robbie in a pile of rubbish* Rubbish: “There goes the neighborhood.”
—Jonny

Trading Places

It was proved to me how badly dated this movie is when I made the younger contingent of the studio watch it with me before last year’s office Christmas party—the politically correct millennial equivalent to torturing terrorists by making them listen to Britney Spears on repeat. Through their eyes I now fully appreciate the cringe factor of the overt nudity, racial stereotypes and surface level moral lessons that are rife in the film.

But man, this movie was formative in my comedic upbringing, and it will always hold a dear place in my heart. “Shit, when I was young you had to fart in the bath to make a jacuzzi!”
—David

White Christmas

I looked at a top 50 list of Christmas movies and picked the first one.
—Neil, full of cheer

Season’s Greetings from Nunraw (and O Street)

12.12.16

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A graphic scavenge through a curious old bookshop yielded this treasure: bits of 1980s Christmas programmes from the Sancta Maria Abbey in Nunraw.

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From a graphic standpoint, it’s a goldmine: digitised black letter typography (which we redrew for our Christmas letters, printed by Risotto), forgotten photography and lo-fi print techniques we tend to drool over these days.

The best this find has to offer though, are the stories. There’s a bookie who became a prior. In 1985, the guesthouse received a dish wash-up unit. Best (or worst) of all, there’s the story of Father Gerr Lynch.

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“Fr Lynch of the Cathedral stayed at the guesthouse while waiting for a place in the a retirement home. He was celebrating his farewell Mass. In the introduction said it was his ‘swan song’, he asked pardon of everyone for his short-comings, gave a homily concluding with a short consecration to Our Lady and at the Communion carefully placed the chalice back on the altar and collapsed and died. He was indeed prepared and could not have asked for a better re-routing of that day’s journey to his new home.”

This Christmas, we’re raising a glass to Father Lynch. If only we’d be so lucky as to drop dead moving type around a screen. Season’s Greetings and lots of love from the O Street family.