Every Harry Potter movie is great, but not all Harry Potter movies are made equal. Only some are worth watching over the Christmas holiday.
You don’t really need an excuse to watch a Harry Potter movie. They’re the kind of movies you can watch any time, for any mood you’re in. If it’s been a while since you last saw them though, Christmas and the holidays is a great time to watch again. But which one should you choose?
There’s a Harry Potter movie for every holiday and occasion, but not all of them are great for Christmas. These are the Harry Potter movies you should definitely enjoy again to put you in the Christmas spirit, and the ones you should probably avoid this holiday season.
The Harry Potter Christmas classics
Without question, the best Harry Potter movie to watch at Christmas is the first one. Sorcerer’s Stone perfectly captures the childlike wonderment that directly translates to feelings of a magical Christmas. It’s because of this film that you associate Christmas with Harry Potter. Some might call the tone of this film juvenile, but feelings of childlike joy should not be considered a criticism. The lightness, charm, and overall fantastical awe of a child entering a magic school for the first time is exactly the kind of mood you’d want during the Christmas holiday.
In Sorcerer’s Stone, we also get to see Harry’s first Christmas at Hogwarts, and his first happy Christmas. He gets to celebrate in a place he loves, with his best friend, and even receives amazing gifts. His Christmases never really get better than this one, so savor and enjoy it while it lasts.
‘Goblet of Fire’
Arguably the most memorable Christmas scene in Harry Potter takes place during Goblet of Fire. The Yule Ball makes one appearance during the Harry Potter films, and it leaves a lasting impression. Of course, the lead up to the Ball has some unforgettable moments. It’s hard to forget McGonagall dancing with Fred, Ron’s fancy formal wear, and all the awkwardness of teenagers asking each other out. The real star, however, is the production of the actual Ball.
The winter wonderland of the Yule Ball scene is, quite simply, magical. The ice-themed decor, the music (excluding the wizard rock), the food, and the beautiful outfits, all make Goblet of Fire have that true Harry Potter Christmas spirit. It may not have been the most enjoyable memory for all of the students, but it was a delight to see as a viewer. Despite this being a big Harry Potter Christmas moment, however, it is still not the best movie to watch at Christmas.
‘Chamber of Secrets’
The first two Harry Potter films are easily the most magical and happiest films of the series, making them top choices to watch during Christmas. Unfortunately for Chamber of Secrets though, it never quite reaches a high enough pinnacle of joy to put it in the number one spot.
We do get Christmas at Hogwarts during Chamber of Secrets, but it’s not a celebratory occasion. The trio stay behind in order to use Polyjuice potion on Crabbe and Goyle, infiltrate the Slytherin common room, and interrogate Draco. You know, the typical holiday family fun times.
Chamber of Secrets maintains that magical innocence vibe, mostly due to the young age of the students, but there aren’t enough of those enchanting moments to put it ahead of the next two.
‘Deathly Hallows: Part 1’
The scene is certainly set for a perfect Harry Potter Christmas moment during Deathly Hallows: Part 1. On Christmas Eve, Harry and Hermione go to Godric’s Hollow in search of Bathilda Bagshot. Not only did she know Harry’s parents and Dumbledore, they suspected she might have Godric Gryffindor’s sword.
Christmas is all about family, so naturally they stop by the grave of Harry’s parents. They also come across the Potters’ home, in ruins, with a sign out front paying homage to the Potters. There’s also graffiti scribbled about with messages of support for Harry. Surrounded by tranquility, with snow lightly falling around them, it’s a beautiful moment that captures the love you expect in a Harry Potter Christmas moment.
Unfortunately, the serenity does not last long. Almost immediately after this touching scene, Harry and Hermione are attacked and very nearly killed by Nagini. It’s easy to forget this Christmas scene when it so closely precedes a memorable action sequence. But so much of Deathly Hallows: Part 1 takes place during the winter, outside, under a cozy tent. Love it or hate it, the dancing sequence between Harry and Hermione in the tent also evokes the sweetness and joy associated with Christmas. Even if Deathly Hallows: Part 1 has one of the more somber movie plots, it still has enough moments and atmosphere to give it a Christmas feel.
Harry Potter movies to save for 2020
‘Order of the Phoenix’
There aren’t many winter festivities during Order of the Phoenix, though it does spend a lot of time in the winter. There is, however, a brief Christmas scene. Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys, spend Christmas together at Grimmauld Place. We see a small moment of everyone around the table opening presents, having fun for what seems like the first time in a long time. It’s lovely to see our favorite characters festive and happy, if just for a moment, and it really evokes the Christmas spirit.
We also can’t forget Harry’s first kiss. Left alone in the Room of Requirement after a lesson, Cho gives Harry his first kiss under the mistletoe. It’s probably full of Nargles, but it’s a sweet moment nonetheless and was instigated by an iconic Christmas plant.
‘Prisoner of Azkaban’
The problem with Prisoner of Azkaban isn’t a lack of gorgeous winter shots or atmospheric moments. This third film is our first introduction to Hogsmeade, after all. It’s winter time when we first see it, and with all the colors, snow, and magic, this charming village looks like a little winter wonderland.
However, Prisoner of Azkaban somehow feels much more like a Halloween movie than a Christmas movie. With more stylistic and moody coloring to the film, the “Double Trouble” song welcoming students back to Hogwarts, and similar musical themes scattered throughout, even the winter scenes don’t feel very Christmas-y. Add to that, the plot of a mass murderer escaping from prison is more of a horror story that lends itself best to a Halloween theme.
There are many standout winter moments in Half-Blood Prince. The problem though, is that the mood for most of them isn’t quite appropriate for the Christmas spirit. To start, during a snowy excursion to Hogsmeade, Katie Bell is attacked and almost killed by a cursed necklace. It’s one of the more horrific scenes in the films and books: the image of Katie invisibly hoisted into the air, screaming from an unseeable pain. Christmas itself wasn’t a very happy affair either. After a rather awkward interaction between Harry and Ginny, the Burrow is attacked by Death Eaters. While sitting around a fire is definitely the kind of thing you want at Christmas, fires ablaze all around your property isn’t exactly cozy.
The closest we get to a festive Harry Potter Christmas is one of Slughorn’s Slug Club parties. It’s like the lite version of the Yule Ball, decorated with holiday themes, and fancy dress, but the humor in this scene doesn’t properly evoke the Christmas spirit. There’s also the issue that the film has gone for a green, moody hue that doesn’t really scream happiness or holidays.
‘Deathly Hallows: Part 2’
Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the worst Harry Potter Christmas movie. None of it takes place during Christmas, or even the winter time. Each Harry Potter book takes place over one school year, but since Deathly Hallows was split into two movies, Part 2 only has the second half of the school year.
That said, if your idea of Christmas spirit is seeing an evil dictator perish at the hands of a teen boy and those he loves, then by all means, this is the film for you this holiday.