Holiday Film + Food Pairings

December 20, 2019

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When you went to parties as a kid (and even now, when you go to parties as an adult) it was always expected that you'd enjoy food, desserts and drinks that catered to the theme of the event. Somehow, themed foods always seem to set the tone for an occasion in the best way - and, over the past few years, I've decided to take that approach into my own hands.

In 2018, when my birthday happened to fall on the morning of the Royal Wedding, I decided to celebrate with a British Royal Wedding-themed slumber party, complete with tea, tea sandwiches and scones. Earlier this year, when two of my favorite NYC-set shows returned with new seasons, my friend and I made cosmopolitans and ordered NY-style pizza to devour while watching. And then, a couple months back, Jess and I hosted a "The Parent Trap Day" viewing party (on October 11, of course) complete with camp-approved snacks, Napa Valley wine, and "Chessie's breakfast." Case in point: I've found that serving food and drinks that follow the theme of something as simple as a show premiere or movie can be an easy way to elevate the average "movie night."

That being said, there's no time to host a watch party like the holidays - and there are plenty of festive snacks, dishes and drinks to go along with all of your favorite holiday films, from the classics to the star-studded, modern-day hits.

Here are a few of my favorite holiday film + food pairings (complete with movie clips and recipes!), just in time to savor the last few days before Christmas:

Home Alone
Pizza + Sundae

Live out your Kevin McAllister booby-trapping dreams with a NY-style pizza that gives Little Nero's a 1, 2, 10 run for its money. Bonus points if you serve Coke in champagne glasses for a bougie, solo limo-ride effect. You're no filthy animal! Add a Plaza Hotel sundae to your menu, kick back and enjoy living like a forgotten 8-year-old king, as a pre-Moira Rose Catherine O'Hara panics in a land far, far away.

The Holiday
Christmas Fettuccini

Ah, the dish we didn't know we needed. I never understood why Nancy Meyers decided to give fettuccini a holiday title, but I'm, to quote Amanda Woods, "totally into it." Plus, it's the cozy offering that leads to Iris' iconic "I know how you feel" speech about heartbreak that leaves Miles with nothing to say except, "Well, f***."

I had never heard of banoffee pie until I saw this movie, but it's the english dessert that Juliet uses to bribe Mark for her wedding video (resulting in his eventual humiliation...) Alas, he denies the pie, which is almost as sinful as the secret that's revealed in this cringe-worthy scene. GIVE ME ALL THE PIE. Oh, and those chocolate biscuits? They're the prime minister's favorite.

A Christmas Story
Turkey Sandwiches (or Chinese food) + "Fuuuuuudge" 

No more turkey sandwiches? It may have been a reality for Ralphie and his family, but it doesn't have to be yours. Set aside some of your Christmas Eve/Christmas Day turkey or order Chinese for a fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-worthy dinner. Also, these "Oh fuuuuuudge" pops are hilarious. Just avoid licking any flag poles, shooting your eye out, or dropping the F dash-dash-dash word in front of The Old Man. 

The Grinch

When you're watching Jim Carrey ooh, ahh his way through Whooville, it's only appropriate to enjoy a dessert worthy of taking home first place at the Who Pudding Cookoff.
Conga line optional. 

Spaghetti + Sugar. All the Sugar. 

The key here is to stick to the 4 main food groups - but, unlike Buddy, you don't want to mix them with spaghetti ... for breakfast. Curl up with a plate of spaghetti first (or burgers, if you're more of a "beef and cheese" type), then dig into a sugar-infused assortment that includes Tollhouse cookie dough. And then, to finish, snuggle.

Four Christmases
Hors D'oeuvres ("Hor Doovs, Anyone?")

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Make like a backwoods UFC fighter's housewife and keep it simple yet strong. Hors D'oeuvres (preferably ones without spray cheese) work well everywhere, from Denver and Dallas to Orlando. One thing is off the table: Beermosas. Leave those in a frat house, or I'm calling Mistletoe. 

Jingle All The Way
"Out of This World" Gingerbread Cookies

Every time I hear Ted (the human, not the reindeer) moan as he bites into Liz's homemade gingerbread cookies, I feel Howard's anger. PUT THAT COOKIE DOWN, NOW. Seriously, though, they just seem like they're so damn good. Like, good enough to forget that your husband broke into the neighbor's house to steal a kid's Turbo Man.

The Family Stone
Morton Family Strata

I have to preface this by saying that this movie is painful to watch at times. Alas, where Diane Keaton goes, I will follow. Sarah Jessica Parker plays uptight, conservative Meredith impressively well, considering how opposite she is in her iconic role of Carrie Bradshaw. Something about watching her prepare this fussy-looking dish with such pride makes me sympathize with her character, though. Well, that and her "I'm just as good as any of you!" breakdown. 

Christmas with the Kranks
Hickory Honey Ham (Something)

You know the rule: Never say hickory honey ham again. However, when it comes to eating, it's free game ... unless you lose the ham to a speeding semi truck. Just do me a favor, and make something for the ham. Eating ham alone is weird. There, I said it. 

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 
Eddie's Eggnog

Nothing like a festive drink that's also strong enough to make you forget that you got a crappy holiday bonus ... or that your brother is incredibly strange ... or that your dinner would be turned down by the dog.

The Santa Clause

Hot Chocolate

To be fair, hot chocolate/cocoa is mentioned or enjoyed in just about every single one of these films. Still, something about grumpy Tim Allen being transformed into a chubby jolly Santa makes it all the more appealing. And for Santa's buzz, just add Rumchata. Trust me.

You can find some more fun holiday movie-inspired recipes here.

P.S. Check out some previous posts on the blog for more of my favorite holiday films, special childhood Christmas memories, a holiday bucket list and holiday traditions list.