As we prepare to deck the halls and roast our chestnuts on an open fire, we pick some of the best - and worst - festive films of all time.
First, the Christmas Crackers:
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
What's the story? Jim Henson's Muppets come together for a liberal but fun, semi-musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.
Why Yule love it: Sir Michael of Caine plays Ebenezer Scrooge with a straight bat, lovingly bringing the old curmudgeon to life as all kinds of madness breaks out around him when the Muppets take over Ye Olde London Towne. Sounds like absolute mayhem? It is absolute mayhem. But after a couple of Egg Nogs and a Harvey's Bristol Cream on Christmas afternoon, it all makes perfect sense, and helps you forget famine, war, and Simon Cowell.
Ho, Ho, Ho: In the Muppet version of the Cratchit household, all the male children are frogs and all the female children are pigs...
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
What's the story? George Bailey (James Stewart) has spent his entire life shelving his own dreams for the good of his home town, Bedford Falls. But one Christmas Eve, he is seriously considering suicide due to circumstances beyond his control. His guardian angel, Clarence, is dispatched to show him how his town, family, and friends would have turned out if he'd never been born.
Why Yule love it: A regular in the 'best films of all time' lists, It's A Wonderful Life is often dismissed as a 'feelgood' flick for family Christmas viewing, but director Frank Capra is no Spielberg - there's no hiding the bitterness and resentment felt by George at his missed opportunities... and making the lead character a suicidal loser would hardly seem like festive family fun - but the uplifting, genuinely moving ending guarantees it's classic status.
Ho, Ho, Ho: Not exactly laugh-a-minute stuff, but for a Christmas message, it's hard to beat "No man is a failure who has friends."
What's the story? Old miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) learns the error of his ways thanks to visits from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future in a faithful adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel.
Why Yule love it: Possibly the greatest Christmas story ever told (apart from the first one, obviously), and possibly the greatest performance in a festive film from dear old Alastair Sim, a winning combination that really brings the "spirit of Christmas" to life in style.
Ho, Ho, Ho: "It's all HUMBUG, I tell you, HUMBUG!" - Ebenezer Scrooge coins the perfect Christmas catchphrase for grinches the world over.
What's the story? Young Billy (Zach Galligan) is given a cute creature called a Mogwai for Christmas. All is good until he breaks the golden rules, and little Gizmo spawns a horde of evil, violent Gremlins who proceed to wreck the town.
Why Yule love it: Equally comical and horrific in the way they take great delight in ruining Christmas for middle America, the Gremlins even take time out to poke fun at E.T. along the way. Superb pre-CGI special effects bring the little green devils to life - and the way the spiteful creatures torture cute little Gizmo has you rooting for the friendly furball when he eventually gets his own back.
Ho, Ho, Ho: Kate (Phoebe Cates) relates her tragic family history to Billy to illustrate why she hates Christmas - humour at its blackest.
What's the story? Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is the boss of a US TV station which is planning a live adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol. Frank's a modern-day Ebenezer, and isn't exactly full of the Christmas spirit. Can visits from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future change all that?
Why Yule love it: A decade and a half before Lost In Translation, Bill Murray plays deadpan like he invented it. And how much more festive can you get than being smacked in the face with a toaster by the Ghost of Christmas Present? Dickens would probably be turning in his grave if he got wind of this madcap 'reimagining' of his beloved novel.
Ho, Ho, Ho: Even the Grim Reaper sees the light and joins in the singalong finale. God bless us, every one!
And now the leftover turkeys:
Deck the Halls (2006)
What's the story? Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) sparks a war with his neighbour Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) when he decorates his New England home with "enough lights to make it visible from space". Cue increasingly desperate attempts at one-upmanship.
Why Yule hate it: Mean-spirited, tasteless, unfunny - Deck The Halls sums up exactly what the spirit of Christmas has become in the minds of advertising execs the world over... nothing but an excuse to sell, sell, sell and get one over your neighbours by "out-Christmassing" them. As Alan Hansen might say: "Absolutely shocking."
No, No, No: Matthew Broderick. From Ferris Bueller's Day Off to THIS. Shame on you, sir! Shame!
Jingle All the Way (1996)
What's the story? Harassed salesman Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) promises his son he'll get him anything he wants for Christmas. Unfortunately, that "anything" turns out to be a Turbo Man action figure - that year's equivalent to the Go Go Hamsters, which is sold out all over town. Howard sets out on a quest to track down a Turbo Man at all costs...
Why Yule hate it: If the thought of a one-time Terminator battling crowds of manic parents to get his whiny, pampered brat that must-have doll isn't enough to put you off, consider this: IT'S AN ARNIE COMEDY.
No, No, No: This man is now running probably the richest state in America. For goodness' sake, this is the man who beat up Santa!
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
What's the story? Luther and Nora Krank (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) decide to opt out of the festive fun in a protest at the commercialisation of Christmas, irking their all-American neighbours who pride themselves in their Yuletide displays. But when their daughter calls on Christmas Eve and says she's coming home, the Kranks do a U-turn and have 12 hours to get their home decorated.
Why Yule hate it: Anyone with neighbours who have inflatable Santas on their roof and 'Jingle Bells' greeting Christmas visitors will applaud the Krank's initial plans to snub spending on festive tat and go on a cruise instead... and will then be utterly appalled when they're press-ganged into joining in the tinsel-lovers' festivities. Bah! Humbug!
No, No, No: The "true meaning" of Christmas is obviously having enough lights on your house to guide a Boeing 747 into land, according to this unfunny festive farce.
Santa Claus (1985)
What's the story? The first part of the film shows how, in true Superman-style, one old man was magically granted immortality and became Santa Claus. The second sees innocent Patch (Dudley Moore), Santa's head elf, fall in with evil toy manufacturer B.Z. (John Lithgow), who wants to take over the Christmas market and get rid of Santa Claus.
Why Yule hate it: Ok, your four-year old may well love it for the flying reindeers and fantastic North Pole toy factory, but for the average parent/turkey-stuffed adult forced to sit through this at Christmas, the sentimentality and cuteness involved will have you choking on your figgy pudding.
No, No, No: There's something deeply disturbing about seeing one-time 'Derek and Clive' anarchic comic Dudley Moore dressed in a green and red elf's outfit... complete with pointy hat and curly shoes.
Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
What's the story? Twelve years on from killing the real Father Christmas, reluctant stand-in Santa Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) faces a double dilemma: how to keep his newly-extended family happy, and how to stop the mischievous Jack Frost (Martin Short) from taking over Christmas.
Why Yule hate it: You can rely on Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw's verdict: "utterly without humanity or humour". Or ours: "It has Tim Allen in it." Either way, we guarantee, you WILL hate it.
No, No, No: Railing at Jack Frost's alternative commercialised version of Christmas, Santa Allen wails: "This junk is not what Christmas is about!" Pot, kettle, black.
Feature: Mark Appleby
Photos: SNAP/Everett Collection/20th Century Fox/Columbia/Buena Vista/Rex Features