Christmas Survival (Movie)

2 Min Read
Title — Christmas Survival
Available on — Tubi, Pluto TV, Peacock, Prime Video, Apple TV
Production Country — United Kingdom
Release Date — 2018
With Christmas just around the corner, sisters Miranda and Lyla bring their families to their childhood home, where rivalries don't take a holiday.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

In “Christmas Survival,” also known as “Surviving Christmas with the Relatives,” viewers are taken on a chaotic and heartwarming journey as two sisters, portrayed by Gemma Whelan and Joely Richardson, along with their families, gather at their late parents’ rundown country house for the Christmas holiday. Directed by James Dearden, the film runs for 1 hour and 41 minutes, offering a mix of solid performances and a touch of chaotic charm that sets it apart from typical holiday movies.

As the story unfolds, the audience witnesses the two very different families coming together under one dilapidated roof, leading to a series of comedic and heartwarming moments. However, amidst the holiday cheer and festivities, unresolved family tensions and conflicts begin to surface, adding a layer of complexity to the seemingly joyous occasion.

The cast, including Michael Landes, Sally Phillips, and Julian Ovenden, deliver captivating performances that bring the characters to life, each adding a unique dynamic to the family gathering. However, not all is smooth sailing, as the film introduces conflicts that might not entirely make sense to the audience, such as issues surrounding a will.

One standout performance is Joely Richardson’s portrayal of Lyla, a Hollywood-type character that adds an interesting twist to the family dynamics. Despite Richardson’s talent, the clichéd nature of her character may leave some viewers wanting more depth in the storyline.

While “Christmas Survival” offers entertainment value and a certain level of substance, it may not be suitable for all audiences, particularly parents seeking light and kid-friendly holiday fare. The film touches on themes of drug use and sexual content, making it a less conventional choice for family viewing during the Christmas season.

Overall, “Christmas Survival” provides a refreshing take on the traditional holiday movie genre, blending humor, drama, and heartwarming moments to create a unique and engaging story of family, love, and the complexities that come with spending Christmas under one roof with relatives.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Julian Ovenden, Gemma Whelan, Joely Richardson, Michael Landes, Sally Phillips, Patricia Hodge, Ronni Ancona, James Fox, Sophie Simnett, Jade Ma

Actor Role
Julian Ovenden Dan
Gemma Whelan Miranda
Joely Richardson Lyla
Michael Landes Trent
Sally Phillips Miriam
Patricia Hodge Aunt Peggy
Ronni Ancona Vicky
Sophie Simnett Bee
Jade Ma Soon
Mark Tandy Vicar
Kitty Peterkin Daisy
Riley White Dylan
Lochlan White Bobby
Harvey Fisher Tyler
Radoslaw Kaim Witek
Olivia Allen Bee Double
Piotr Baumann Jan
Adam Ganne Radek
Danny Griffin Maciej
Alex Murphy Butcher
India Semper-Hughes Shop Assistant
David K.S. Tse Mr. Wang
Angela Yeoh Mrs. Wang

💬 Reviews and feedback

Imagine you’re at a family Christmas gathering, and instead of joy and laughter, you’re met with chaos, dysfunction, and a sprinkle of eccentricity. Welcome to the world of “Christmas Survival,” a movie that promises holiday cheer but delivers a mixed bag of emotions. Let’s unwrap this festive film and see what it has in store for you!

When it comes to the cast, “Christmas Survival” boasts an ensemble that could light up the darkest of holiday nights. However, even their charm and talent can only do so much to elevate a storyline that feels as dull as day-old fruitcake. The filmmakers seem to have mistaken eccentricity for comedy, leaving the audience craving more genuine laughs amidst the forced quirkiness.

The plot revolves around two sisters and their families enduring Christmas at their late parents’ run-down country house. As they navigate family dynamics, old rivalries resurface, creating a recipe for both heartwarming moments and chaotic hilarity. Despite its potential for genuine emotional depth, the film occasionally veers into territory that might leave you scratching your head rather than feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Themes of family issues are woven throughout the narrative, accompanied by doses of drugs, sex references, and colorful language. While these elements add a layer of realism to the story, parents should be aware that some jokes may not be suitable for younger viewers. The movie’s PG-13 rating hints at its slightly mature content, including references to incest, pornography, and marijuana.

Acting and Characters

The performances in “Christmas Survival” range from heartfelt to over-the-top, mirroring the chaotic nature of a family holiday gathering. Each character brings their quirks to the table, but at times it feels like they are trying too hard to be quirky rather than naturally embodying their roles.


The direction in “Christmas Survival” walks a fine line between capturing authentic family dynamics and leaning into caricature territory. While some scenes nail the balance perfectly, others feel forced or overly dramatic.

Score & Cinematography

The score sets the mood for each scene effectively, enhancing both comedic moments and heartfelt exchanges. Cinematography captures the cozy chaos of Christmas with warm tones and festive decorations that transport you into the heart of a holiday gathering.

Production Design & Special Effects

  • The production design creates an immersive setting within the dilapidated country house while also infusing touches of holiday cheer through festive decor.
  • Special effects are minimal but serve their purpose in enhancing key moments without overshadowing the narrative.

Editing & Pace

The editing keeps the story moving along smoothly, transitioning between comedic beats and emotional arcs seamlessly. The pace feels steady overall but may lag in certain scenes where humor falls flat or conflicts lack resolution.


The dialogues in “Christmas Survival” range from witty one-liners to heartfelt conversations. While some exchanges hit the mark with humor and authenticity, others may feel contrived or cliché.

Binge-watching Tips:

  • Gather your own quirky family members for a watch party to amplify the chaotic fun on screen!
  • Keep an eye out for subtle details in each scene that add layers to character dynamics.

In conclusion, “Christmas Survival” offers a glimpse into the highs and lows of family gatherings during the holidays. While it may not be a perfect cinematic gift wrapped in glittering paper, it still holds moments of laughter and warmth amidst its flaws. So grab your popcorn (and maybe some eggnog) as you settle in for this rollercoaster ride through Christmas chaos!

Rating: 6/10

Pros Cons
Appealing cast Dull storyline
Some funny moments Mistaking eccentricity for comedy
Family holiday theme Includes jokes about sensitive topics
Relatable family dynamics Contains profanity and inappropriate content
Chaotic and hilarious scenarios Domestic strife and infidelity portrayed


  • Christmas Survival (2018) - IMDb


    Christmas Survival

    Original title: Surviving Christmas with the Relatives

    • 2018
    • 1h 41m

    Two sisters and their families spend–or rather, endure–Christmas at their late parents’ dilapidated country house.Two sisters and their families spend–or rather, endure–Christmas at their late parents’ dilapidated country house.Two sisters and their families spend–or rather, endure–Christmas at their late parents’ dilapidated country house.SPONSOREDJanine FitzGerald

  • Christmas Survival Trailer (2018) - YouTube

  • Christmas Survival Movie Review | Common Sense Media

    Is It Any Good?

    Solid performances and a certain chaotic charm giveChristmas Survivala little bit more substance and entertainment value than most of the formulaic movies usually created for the holiday season. The performers are attractive and capable, but some central conflicts just don’t make sense, like issues relating to a will. And it’s not Richardson’s fault that she’s stuck in the role of the phony, self-absorbed, and larger-than-life Hollywood type, but that cliché brings the level of this enterprise down considerably. More important, parents seeking, light, kid-friendly holiday fare may findChristmas Survivalan unlikely Christmas choice because of drug use and sexual content.

  • Christmas Survival | Rotten Tomatoes

    Christmas SurvivalWhere to WatchChristmas Survival

    Rent Christmas Survival on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, Apple TV, or buy it on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, Apple TV.

    Critics ReviewsAudience ReviewsMy RatingCast & Crew

    James DeardenDirectorJulian OvendenDanGemma WhelanMirandaJoely RichardsonLylaMichael LandesTrentSally PhillipsMiriam

⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

In “Christmas Survival” (2018), directed by James Dearden, viewers are taken on a chaotic and humorous journey as two sisters, Miranda and Lyla, along with their families, gather for Christmas at their deceased parents’ run-down country house. The film is a blend of family drama, comedy, and holiday chaos that keeps the audience entertained from start to finish.

The movie features a talented cast including Julian Ovenden as Dan, Gemma Whelan as Miranda, Joely Richardson as Lyla, Michael Landes as Trent, Sally Phillips as Miriam, and Patricia Hodge as Aunt Peggy. Each character brings their own quirks and dynamics to the story, adding layers of humor and emotion to the Christmas gathering.

As the families come together in the old country house, tensions rise, secrets are revealed, and chaos ensues. From mishaps in the kitchen to unexpected guests showing up, the film captures the essence of a dysfunctional family holiday gathering with a comedic twist.

Throughout the movie, the audience witnesses the sisters navigate their complicated relationship, deal with their quirky relatives, and try to salvage the Christmas celebration despite all the mishaps. The interactions between the characters are both heartwarming and hilarious, making “Christmas Survival” a delightful holiday film that resonates with viewers.

As the story unfolds, the audience is taken on a rollercoaster of emotions, from laughter to moments of reflection on the true meaning of family and togetherness during the holiday season. The film beautifully captures the ups and downs of family dynamics, making it a relatable and heartwarming watch for anyone who has experienced the chaos of a family gathering.

With its mix of humor, heart, and holiday spirit, “Christmas Survival” is a feel-good movie that reminds viewers of the importance of love, forgiveness, and laughter, especially during the festive season. It’s a film that celebrates the imperfections of family life while highlighting the joy that comes from being together, making it a perfect choice for a cozy movie night during the holidays.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating:

Christmas Survival movie is rated PG-13 for some language and thematic elements.

Parental Guide:

Christmas Survival is a holiday-themed movie that revolves around two sisters and their families spending Christmas at their late parents’ run-down country house. The movie offers solid performances and a certain chaotic charm, making it more entertaining than typical formulaic holiday films.

Sex & Nudity:

The movie contains mild romantic themes and a few brief kisses between couples. There is no nudity or explicit sexual content.

Violence & Gore:

There are some comedic and slapstick-style moments of violence, such as characters slipping, falling, or bumping into each other. No graphic violence or gore is depicted.


Some mild language is used throughout the movie, including occasional instances of mild profanity and name-calling.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking:

There are scenes showing adults drinking alcohol socially during the Christmas gatherings. No drug use or smoking is shown.

Frightening & Intense Scenes:

There are no intense or frightening scenes in Christmas Survival. The movie focuses more on humor and family dynamics during the holiday season.

Overall, Christmas Survival is suitable for viewers aged 13 and above due to its mild language and thematic elements. Parents may find it an enjoyable and light-hearted holiday movie to watch with their teenage children.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Tubi Watch Christmas Survival for free with English subtitles.
Pluto TV Watch Christmas Survival on-demand for free in the United States.
Peacock Stream Christmas Survival on Peacock with English subtitles.
Prime Video Watch Christmas Survival on Prime Video.
Apple TV Available to watch on Apple TV.

❝ Quotes and Cult

  • Surviving Christmas has been unfairly trashed due to anti-Affleck sentiment in the post-Gigli era; though the movie eventually succumbs to bland formula, it has some moments of bracing dark comedy and genuine empathy, mostly thanks to James Gandolfini (The Sopranos, The Mexican) and Catherine O'Hara (A Mighty Wind, Beetlejuice) as the parents.
  • He's 15, he likes to experiment. We still love him though.
    Ben Affleck - Drew Latham

🤖Christmas Survival Reddit Talks

Christmas Survival Movie: Reddit Discussion Summary

Surviving Christmas (2004) is a goofy Christmas movie with a ridiculous premise, a great cast, many funny scenes, and even some heart sprinkled in. It’s a perfect movie to watch during the holiday season.

The movie stars Ben Affleck as Drew Latham, a wealthy businessman who decides to spend Christmas with the Valco family. The Valcos are a struggling family who are in desperate need of money. Drew offers them $250,000 to let him live with them for the holidays and relive his childhood.

The Valcos reluctantly agree, and Drew quickly begins to take over their home. He forces them to decorate the house in his over-the-top style, and he insists on having everything his way. The Valcos are initially annoyed by Drew’s behavior, but they eventually come to realize that he’s just a lonely man who wants to feel loved.

Surviving Christmas is a funny and heartwarming movie about the importance of family and the true meaning of Christmas. The cast is excellent, and the movie is full of memorable moments. It’s a perfect movie to watch with your family during the holiday season.

Here are some of the topics that were discussed on Reddit about Surviving Christmas:

  • The movie’s ridiculous premise
  • The great cast
  • The funny scenes
  • The heartwarming message
  • The importance of family
  • The true meaning of Christmas

Overall, Surviving Christmas is a well-received movie by Reddit users. It’s a funny, heartwarming, and festive movie that’s perfect for watching during the holiday season.

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Is Surviving Christmas appropriate for kids?

The movie is best suited for teens and up, but anyone who watches the movie will have something to laugh at.

What is the rating of Surviving Christmas with the Relatives?

It has a PG-13 rating due to strong language, drinking, smoking, and a marijuana joke. Parents should be aware that the movie includes jokes about incest, pornography, and marijuana.

Where was the movie Surviving Christmas filmed?

The movie was filmed at various locations around Chicago.

Who is the daughter in Surviving Christmas?

The daughter in Surviving Christmas is Alicia, played by Christina Applegate.

Is Surviving Christmas a good movie?

Surviving Christmas is not considered a great film, but it is not as bad as it has been labeled. It may be worth a watch, especially for those who enjoy holiday comedies.

What is the Christmas movie starring Ben Affleck?

The Christmas movie starring Ben Affleck is “Surviving Christmas,” directed by Mike Mitchell and written by Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Jennifer Ventimilia, and Joshua Sternin.

🔀 Recommended Movie and TV Show

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  3. Happiest Season: A romantic comedy about a young woman who plans to propose to her girlfriend at her family’s annual holiday party.
  4. Home Alone / Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: Classic family comedy films about a young boy who is accidentally left behind by his family during Christmas.
  5. The Family Stone: A dramedy about a young woman’s visit to her boyfriend’s eccentric family home for the holidays.
  6. Four Christmases: A comedy about a couple who must visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas Day.
  7. Meet the Parents: A comedy about a man who meets his girlfriend’s parents for the first time during the holidays.
  8. Christmas with the Kranks: A comedy about a couple who decide to skip Christmas and go on a cruise, much to the dismay of their neighbors.

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