watching a film at christmas

Why hello there Mr Director of the Business… Yes, I am a very dedicated employee. Once again I have taken my work home. A promotion? You are too kind…


Watching Christmas films in December does count as work. Why? Because I’m reviewing the soundtracks of course. (Normans is a Music shop, remember?)

Fine. It is a bit of a stretch but should make for festive reading so hush, stop nitpicking and enjoy it.

Each film is an office suggestion. On this occasion, I have zipped around the Web Team. If you think there are any films missing please do let them know via*. They love receiving your emails. Many, many emails. Preferably long ones with much details, that demand a prompt response. (Here’s our helpful ‘Meet the Team‘ Page, so you can put names to faces and make your responses really personal.)

As before, (The Halloween Horror Edition,) all films will be subject to a specific score criteria.

To measure the movie’s success:

  1. How much I personally like the music, simply as music to listen to, without watching the film for context.
  2. We then move onto a score for how well these sounds merge with the onscreen action.
  3. Finally, points are available for the quality of the Christmas message.

Each of the three marks will be out of ten and hold equal value in the overall scare score.

All marks are totally subjective and well, my blog, my view, my rules…


Grinch Film CoverChristmas Movie 1

Garry’s Suggestion: The Grinch (Live Action)

”…Funny…Different…Still has that happy ending.”

Music Credit: Heavily James Horner

Instrumentation: Orchestral, BELLS and a few Whos for good measure

Crashed Christmas in 2000



4/10 – This music is the ultimate contradiction. The Shape of things perfectly sums up the quickly swing sounds and genres this soundtrack gives the listener. One minute we are gaily envisioning ourselves flying through the air in a one horse open sleigh, the next we are being dragged into some genuine reflective feels. However, as a soundtrack with no action, this is not the best. While undeniably beautifully written, it lacks a clear story, although the clever – and catchy – use of motifs do a lot to claw back points.

8/10 – The Music really makes this film. The happy moment are thrown into the realms of euphoria and triumph with the use off full orchestral sounds, touching choirs and bells. Is it even a Christmas film without Bells? On top of this there are some truly tear jerking moments that – without the music – would have slide a little into the realm of funny.

9/10 – This is quality, you have to admit: All about forgiveness, letting go of the past and loving people as they are. Another huge bonus, the Grinch doesn’t magically turn into some stunning Prince once he learns the meaning of Christmas and the Whos accept him. He remains Furry, Green and a little overweight. AND. THEY. LOVE. HIM. ANY. WAY. #DisneyDon’tDoThat

Total Christmas Cheer Score: 21/30




elf film coverChristmas Movie 2

Shona’s Suggestion: Elf

”Of-course” Although new to our team Shona already has the title of Christmas Queen. It’s… intense.

Music Credit: John Debney

Instrumentation: Literally all sorts. One moment we are enjoying a powerful choir and the next we are swinging with Louis Prima.

Crashed Christmas in 2003


7/10 – This is super easy listening. As this soundtrack is heavily existing Christmas songs – with the odd orchestral filler – it’s just like having your favorite Christmas CD, (sorry Playlist,) going in the background.

7/10 – This is always good watching. Existing Festive songs have been cleverly utilized to fit with on Screen Action making sound and visual fit flawlessly. I particularly enjoy the characters quite literally singing along with the soundtrack. Only complaint. There are a lot of sleigh bells. It gets a little much.

8/10 – This is a solid Christmas, (aka life)  message. Family before work. Although I feel quitting you job Christmas eve, with no constituency plan in place is rather… bold.

Total Christmas Cheer Score: 22/30




arthur christmas film coverChristmas Movie 3

Duan’s Suggestion: Arthur Christmas

”Hits me right in the #feels”… Good to know.

Music Credit: Harry Gregson-Williams

Instrumentation: Orchestral… and more bells

Crashed Christmas in 2011… Is it bad that I am thinking of this as a recent film?



6/10 This is some really Hollywood Movie Childhood Adventure Music. Our Harry also wrote the soundtrack to Narnia, and there are definitely moments in which that comes through loud and clear.

10/10 I am in love with this film! Who even thought up Grand-Santa? 😂 (SPOILER ALERT) For perspective, the clip below.

As I’m sure you saw the music beautifully and the music is the perfect compliment to the on-screen action building tension and giving depth to what we are seeing. It’s just splendid.

7/10 The Christmas message was nice, but maybe only applicable to the Clause family. Although, it’s always nice to peer into other families dysfunctional ways and feel superior.

Total Christmas Cheer Score: 23/30




love actually film coverChristmas Movie 4

Delphine’s Choice: Love Actually

”Probably the best Christmas film..”

Music Credit: Craig Armstrong… Girls Aloud… Bill Nighy… what’s not to love?

Instrumentation: Pop-ish

Crashed Christmas in 2003


5/10 The noughties called! This soundtrack is pop hit after pop hit after pop hit. It’s easy listening really. Nothing to complain about. Doesn’t really mean I like it though…. sorry Delphine…

8/10 It’s just sweet. Although the odd romantic scene is just too much: swelling strings as the waitress runs into the arms of Mr. Darcy. That being said Hugh Grant singing Good King Wenceslas a moment of musical beauty.

6/10 TBH I got confused. I counted 10 different plots. I think the Christmas message was something about love and jumpin‘?

Total Christmas Cheer Score: 19/30



die hard film coverChristmas Movie 5

The best  My Choice: Die Hard (1)

This is a Christmas Film. Don’t try and debate with me.

Music Credit: Michael Kamen

Instrumentation: Classy Christmas sounds… Choirs…Bells…The full package

Crashed Christmas in 1989



7/10 This might not be my first choice as a Soundtrack to my life. It’s a bit… old school. Although everyone enjoys a hearty carol now and then.

10/10 Yes, yes, yes!  Our John sends a dead body down an elevator shaft to taunt Alan Rickman to some jaunty sleigh bells over a menacing bass string part. The dead henchman is thrown out the window onto the unsuspecting Sgt. Al Powells cars to a gently hummed ‘Let it Snow.’ Soundtracks don’t get better – or funnier – than this.

10/10 OR 1/10 On one hand, the take-away message from the film seems to be that shooting someone will liberate you from past screw-ups, obviously a 1/10. On the other hand, it sends out the message that shooting someone will liberate you from past screw-ups. 10/10?

Total Christmas Cheer Score: 18/30 or 27/30  – I’m calling that 22.5/30



Somehow, due to unforeseen circumstances, my film choice has… not won? While I am utterly horrified by this, it must be said, Arthur Christmas is a cracking film. (HA, cracking! Get it? Like Christmas crackers … never mind.)

It’s well done Duan I suppose.  Whoop-dee-doo, you won.  🏆




*Not a legit email. #sorrynotsorry What can I say? Sometimes I need their help.

About the author

Heidi has been working for a number of years at Normans progressing from the Saturday Sales Assistant to a Brass Specialist. A grade 8 player she loves to play all genres of music spanning Classical to Jazz. With over ten years of playing both the Trumpet and Cornet this is, of course, what she loves to write blogs about.