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6 min read

Classic and modern hair inspirations from your favorite holiday films

Classic and modern hair inspirations from your favorite holiday films

Want fantastic holiday hair? Then the classics are your no-fail solution! Why not go for a tried and true glam look that will fill you with the spirit of the season. 

Curl your coif into a sassy 1940s do like Donna Reed in the must-watch classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life” or go more modern and copy Emilia Clarke’s casual waves from this year’s hit, “Last Christmas.” 

Let’s look at some of the most popular holiday films of all time and dig into the iconic looks of the female characters and the actresses who played them. Perhaps you can find your holiday hair-spiration.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

For many people, this is the ultimate holiday movie. George’s faith in his dreams amongst all odds is the root of the story here, but you can’t help being drawn to Donna Reed when she’s on-screen. Her classic peasant-style is one to be emulated for sure. 

With soft, brushed out curls and hair swept away from her face, the look is charming and quaint and perfect for the holiday season. Known for her wholesomeness, she never strayed far from this style.

“Last Christmas”

The 2019 film, “Last Christmas” has rom-com written all over it and is set to be an instant classic with. Forget about Emilia Clarke’s “Game of Thrones” hair, this look is more modern, soft, and definitely, one you’ll want to mimic for the holiday season. 

The interesting thing about Clarke’s hairstyle in “Last Christmas” is it feels like what Donna Reed would wear if she were a twenty- or thirty-something today. 

The ombre bob is natural looking with the warm brown ends in golden honey color. The length brushes her shoulders with just enough curl to give it a festive holiday feel without apparent effort. A little N° 77 Leave-In Conditioner and you’ve got softness that lasts all night.

A woman reading her book by a window in the sunlight

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

If you love your family-themed holiday movies with humor, then “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is your go-to film. Though you’d typically find 80s film with dated styles, Beverly D’Angelo’s Ellen Griswold has timeless holiday hair that would look perfect in family photos. 

To capture Ellen Griswold’s hairstyle, opt for a deep side part and long, loose waves that end in bouncy curls. If the look feels modern, it’s because it is. Today’s side part makes this a fantastic look to emulate.

“Meet Me in St. Louis”

Two hairstyles in one movie and both are pretty remarkable. First, you see Judy Garland as Esther Smith with straight, long hair that reaches to the middle of the back. While her 1940s bumper bangs are definitely overdone by today’s standards, the pulled-back front and shiny straight style is a real hit. 

Her second look in the same film is a holiday favorite. Garland as Esther Smith at the ball with her hair pulled back into a figure eight with a French twist inspired glamour. 

There aren’t many still photos of the back of her hair, but you can see what an elaborate look it is with just the right embellishments to cover what must be hundreds of bobby pins necessary to make the look work. 

Both styles were full of glamour and far from Garland’s iconic dual ponytail look.

“Die Hard”

While some love a romance for the holidays and others love a comedy, there are those people who can’t face the season without watching “Die Hard.” Maybe not your typical Christmas movie, but it’s a classic to many.

You can’t think of “Die Hard” without thinking of the gorgeous Bonnie Bedelia. Her portrayal of Holly Gennero McClane as a powerful wife, mother, and career woman is spot on. 

A woman with wavy dark hair near Christmas lights

Her 1980s permed hairstyle is what everyone aspired to back then. Is it today’s hottest holiday look? Not really. But remember that all style is cyclical, so you’d better get ready, this look is bound to be popular in the not-so-distant future.

To get the look today without going full-on 80s, aim for a whole head of spiral curls. For people who already have curly hair, a little product might be all that’s needed. 

Those of you who have naturally straight or wavy hair, you’re going to have to put in a little extra effort with some product and a curling rod designed for spirals. This ultra-glamorous look will have others dying with curl-envy this holiday season.

Final thoughts

Why create a new look when the classic ones are so spot-on for the holidays? This time of year brings out all the fun and glamour you can muster. It’s a time to look your best and show off your style. The best way to do that is to borrow heavily from seasonal classics and get a look that’s all you but vaguely reminiscent of shows that already strike a familiar, warm, and festive chord. 

You can try old-fashioned 1940s classics like “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” If you have long hair, go for a retro feel with “Die Hard” and “Christmas Vacation” hairstyles. For a modern look and a more casual vibe, perfect for that friend get together, the soon-to-be-classic “Last Christmas” is a great place to find inspiration.

At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

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    At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

    Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

    Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

    JOIN THE GROUP