‘Tis the season for festive cheer – and what better way to get in the spirit than watching classic holiday flicks? These beloved movies hold a special place in many hearts – and a big part of that magic is the beautiful homes in which they’re set. But as today’s housing prices rival Rudolph’s ascent, could the average family still afford them? Let’s take a look at the real estate reality behind our seasonal favourites.
(2006, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz)
Fed up with life’s unfair circumstances (and in a move that pre-dates Airbnb), two women needing a change of scenery decide to swap homes over the holidays. While Kate (Iris) and Cam (Amanda) inevitably find newfound purpose and romance on their journeys, the movie’s real love affair is with Iris’ charming stone farmhouse, nestled on the outskirts of the English village of Rosehill. No wonder Amanda was so thrilled when she saw its wooden beams, stone fireplace, and country kitchen!
Sadly, this house was a fake – the façade was built for the movie and the interiors shot on a California soundstage. But the UK village of Shere – Rosehill’s stand-in – is very much a real place, with some truly gorgeous real estate. Just check out this stately 1750s cottage, located on the village’s picturesque High Street! Sprawled over a 1.2-acre property and featuring an open fireplace, conservatory and original period features, it has been listed for £1,325,000 ($2,196,334 CAD) – a nice appreciation from its November 2000 selling price of £690,000.
Miracle on 34th Street
(1994, starring Mara Wilson, Richard Attenborough)
In this 90’s remake of the 1947 classic, little Susan Walker (Wilson), tells Kris Kringle (Attenborough) her true Christmas wish: a father, a baby brother – and the house featured in the annual Cole’s holiday catalogue. We can’t blame her for being delighted when Kringle (who may or may not be the REAL Santa Claus), grants her wish, arranging for her family to purchase the iconic yellow home.
And lucky for you, this house is also the real deal – and could be yours for the right price. Located in Lake Forest, Illinois, the five-bed, 7.5-bath home, built in the Normandy Farmhouse style in 1924, has been lovingly updated over the years, now featuring an outdoor pool and upstairs “man cave”. And while its estimated value pegged it at US$3.4 million in 2015, it appears its owners are having trouble moving it; it was relisted at $2.89 million this April, then again as a $10,000-per-month rental property, before being pulled from the market at $2,795,000.
Perhaps if you’re on Santa’s extra extra nice list?
(1990, starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara)
In what is one of the most iconic holiday movies of all time, seven-year-old Kevin McCallister booby-traps his family’s home (a palatial 4,243-square foot, Chicago mansion) to ensnare robbers Marv and Harry, while his frantic mother makes her way home from Paris.
While the movie’s far-fetched premise raises some doubts (why did the pizza boy only bring one cheese pizza? What the heck did Kevin’s dad do to afford a trans-Atlantic holiday vacation for eight people?) the house is as real as Culkin’s pizza-themed rock band. Hmm, looks like there’s a pattern emerging here?
Located in the stately Chicago neighbourhood of Winnetka, it was built in 1921 and is currently estimated to be worth $1,878,677, last selling in 2012 for $1,585,000.
Check out what its interior looks like today!
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
(1989, starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, John Galecki)
The Griswolds are at it again – but instead of an ill-fated cross country trip to Wally World, they’re hosting an extended family get-together. If that wasn’t hazardous enough, Clark causes the living room some serious damage with an oversized Christmas tree, and racks up what is sure to be a devastating energy bill with some overly ambitious Christmas lights.
As it turns out, the Griswold family home has a long legacy of movie magic. The house exterior is one of the sets located on Blondie Street – a North Hollywood Warner Brothers lot – and has some very famous neighbours including the houses from TV series B*Witched and the Die Hard movie series. If you’re curious what a large, suburban detached house goes for in Chicago these days though, check out this five-bed, 3.5-bath Irving Park gem, recently listed for US$700,000.
(2004, Starring Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson)
One of the most adorable plot lines in this six-degrees-of-separation rom com features heartbroken Jamie (Colin Firth) taking refuge in a picturesque French lake house alongside Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia (Lucia Moniz). The two fall in love despite a language barrier, culminating in Jamie – in one of the most glorious romantic gestures of all time – travelling to Aurelia’s village to propose in broken Portuguese. She responds “yes” in english, and it is THE BEST.
Looking to relive this enchanting romance? While the lake house was briefly listed for €899,999 ($1,257,624 CAD), it’s sadly no longer available. However, there are a number of lovely, rustic homes for sale in its neighbourhood of Vidauben, France, ranging from as low as €100,000 to over €1,500,000.
(1990, Starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest)
While not your traditional jingly holiday fare, this dark, romantic tale of the origin of snow is a cult classic – and features some truly fascinating real estate.
As it turns out, the nauseatingly-pastel suburb Edward visits is the real neighbourhood of Carpenter’s Run, located near Tampa, Florida. While the houses are no longer painted as per Tim Burton’s vision (the colours were reportedly named Dirty Flesh, Dirty Blue, Sea-Foam Green, and Butter), and the artfully-trimmed hedges are long gone, you could own a piece of 90’s movie history for as little as US$213,000.
Have a wonderful holiday season!