Holiday movies that actually make your family seem functional

For many people, Mass Family Gatherings during the holidays (MFGs, as my dad likes to call them) are an excellent time to get together and catch up, reflect on the developments of another year, eat, drink, and be merry. If you’re from New England or live in a Hallmark commercial, maybe you play a nice game of touch football. That’s great for those people, but for the rest of us, the holidays can sometimes be a bit… nutty.

Whether trying to untangle the tenuous web of weird family dynamics, or answering awkward holiday questions about life, love, and work (or the absence of any semblance of all three) the holidays are often a lot less “Holly, Jolly Christmas” than the movies would have us believe. In honor of that, here’s a list of ten classic dysfunctional family holiday movie moments that will make yours seem way more normal.

The Family Stone

An uptight, bun-wearing conservative with a weird throat tick is thrown into the lion’s den at her boyfriend’s childhood home for Christmas. Up against a mean, bra-burning sister; an icy, anything-goes, caffeine-addicted mother; a brother who flirts shamelessly; and the odd dynamic of what is clearly the most diverse, off-beat family in movie history; Meredith calls in her own sister for backup. (Spoiler Alert!) Too bad she falls in love with M’s future-fiancé before he has a chance to propose. Did I mention Meredith also spends the night with his brother? Whatever you’re up against this holiday season, it can’t be much worse than Christmas morning at the Stone house.

While You Were Sleeping

Lucy pines for Peter from afar, only to rescue him after a freak accident. After accompanying him to the hospital and dropping a loose-lipped white lie claiming to be his lover while he’s comatose, the charade must continue. What next? Endear oneself to the appropriate family members, and fall for the brother, of course! That’s one way to get in good with the family.

This Christmas

The Whitfield family is back together for Christmas for the first time in four years! Ma’dere is doing her best to keep hold over cheating husbands, estranged fathers, random new fiancés, unannounced pregnancies, and uninvited guests. This is one holiday filled with the type of baggage you can’t store in the guest room.

A Christmas Story

With one son frozen to a flagpole and the other busy scheming up lies to hide the stark reality that he did, in fact, shoot his eye out with that Red Ryder B.B. Gun (or so he thinks), it makes perfect sense that Mother Parker and The Old Man are constantly at odds. Want to spice things up this Christmas? Bring a flashy leg-lamp to the secret Santa swap and see how long it takes for things to go off the rails.


Your long-lost son shows up on your doorstep cracked out on Pixie Sticks and maple syrup, rocking spandex tights, claiming to be one of Santa’s righthand men, and YOU have to break the news to him that he’s not actually an elf? Yikes.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Dear diary: Survived mum’s Christmas Party on only 22 cigarettes, 9 alcoholic beverages, and 3000 calories, and only sent two lewd messages to Daniel today. V, v good. Remember, friends: it could always be worse.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Suffering a mild bout of frostbite in search of the perfect tree. Feline electrocution by an entire home’s worth of twinkle lights. Estranged parents rekindling (sort of). TWO sets of in-laws. A surprise visit from everybody’s favorite crazy uncle, Eddie. Need I say more?

Home for the Holidays

How much longer until we go ahead and acknowledge the hot (family) gossip? Should we address Kitt’s plans to lose her virginity over Thanksgiving weekend first? Pass the stuffing, please.

Home Alone

KEVINNNN! Imagine being the child that everyone hassles, but nobody remembers for the big family Christmas trip to France. I’d gorge myself on pizza, set up a bunch of booby traps, and ignore my parents, too.

Love Actually

Between a pair battling a language barrier that makes it impossible to communicate, a widowed father trying to coach his son through the torment of unrequited young love, and a super awkward secretary-Prime Minister flirtation, it’s safe to say that your holiday get-togethers are probably going to be a bit smoother than the ones featured in these stories.

Let these kooky clans be a testament to universal family weirdness — especially at the holidays!

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