Nine Airbnbs to Help You Recreate Your Favorite Holiday Movies
From a house fit for Who-ville to a pair of getaways that'll let you relive the home-swap from "The Holiday"
What is it about holiday movies that make us want to rewatch the same characters, in the same places, experiencing the same failures and tragedies year after year?
Surely it has to do with the cast of characters we’ve come to know infinitely well — from the Griswolds and McCallisters to George Bailey and Buddy the Elf. But there’s also something to be said about the places in which these stories unfold and the feelings of nostalgia they inevitably evoke. Whether it be in the snowy suburbs of Chicago, the English countryside or New York City, for every classic Christmas movie, there’s an iconic backdrop with which we associate it.
That said, what better way to celebrate the holidays and pay homage to your favorite holiday films than by staying in an Airbnb inspired by said film? Below, a list of homes you can actually rent that’ll have you feeling like the star of your all-time favorite holiday movie:
In the 2006 romantic comedy The Holiday — starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black — Iris and Amanda (Winslet and Diaz, respectively) find themselves heartbroken in advance of the holidays and in need of a quick change of scenery. Thanks to a home-swapping service, Iris winds up in Southern California by way of the English countryside, where she is struck by the stark contrast between her quaint cottage and Amanda’s LA-based compound.
In the film, Amanda’s is a Tuscany-style home located in San Marino. While the 10,324-square-foot house itself still stands today — it was actually up for sale as recently as 2018, and has become somewhat of a tourist attraction among fans of the film — the interiors were filmed at Sony Studios, the sets built on-site. In addition to being a behemoth of a house (even the sets totaled somewhere in the vicinity of 8,000 square feet), Amanda’s California abode was modern and bursting with state-of-the-art technology. One of the best scenes in the film is watching the sheer joy Iris experiences after stumbling across the automatic shades in the bedroom.
This newly constructed LA compound, located on the Sunset Strip in the West Hollywood Hills, also boasts automatic shades. With rates starting at $1,250 a night, enjoy an opulent stay straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie.
Back in 2018, the whimsical country chalet that inspired Iris’s cottage — located in Surrey, southwest of London — also went on sale. Described as being a “a stunning extended period cottage with ironstone galleting and brick quoins under a tiled roof complemented by leaded light windows,” it played the perfect counterpart to Amanda’s Southern California home. But like that California home, almost all of the interiors were built by the production team at Sony Studios.
This cozy, open-plan cottage in St. Ives is a pretty convincing substitute in absence of the real thing. Surrounded by lush green fields and set in the traditional granite courtyard of Hendra Farm, enjoy woodland walks in the Cornish countryside and a fireplace and underfloor heating when it gets cold (pans to Amanda wearing a hat and a scarf in the house in anticipation of the impending snow storm).
Everyone knows that the Grinch lives on Mount Crumpit, just north of Who-ville … and while you can in fact visit Who-ville, thanks to Universal Studios, you can’t stay there. That said, Mount Crumpit is reportedly 10,000 feet tall (for context, the Colorado Rockies range from around 7,000-14,000 feet) and also an evil lair, so for those sensitive to both temperature and/or vibes, it’s probably not the winter destination for you. Fortunately, you can live a la the Grinch sans all the theatrics at the Bloomhouse by Lodgewell. Touted as being a magical piece of art “part Willy Wonka, part Big Lebowski and totally unlike anywhere else,” you’ll enjoy the full Seussian experience … though in a much warmer, greener setting. Located in Austin, the exceptionally well-appointed Bloomhouse is the end result of a couple of self-proclaimed hippies putting their architectural knowledge to the test to create a “monument to man and nature.” If that’s not enough to make your heart grow three sizes, I don’t know what is.
The 1983 cult classic, A Christmas Story famously follows a young boy named Ralphie and his pursuit of a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Set in post-war Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, Ralphie and his family live in a 19th-century Victorian, which — thanks to a major 2004 restoration — A Christmas Story fanatics can still stay in today. With rates starting at $395 a night, guests can quite literally sleep in Ralphie and Randy’s (twin) beds), then, later, head across the street to the A Christmas Story Museum, which features original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film, as well as hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos.
Luckily, for those looking to experience Ralphie’s hometown in a less touristy fashion, there are no shortage of beautifully restored Victorian homes in Tremont. This one in particular boasts close proximity to to Downtown Cleveland, West Side Market and the airport, and is just a stone’s throw from Ralphie’s digs on West 11th Street. Do be sure to keep an eye out for the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.
One of the greatest Christmas movies of all time, the first Home Alone film follows a young Kevin McCallister — played by Macaulay Culkin — after he’s accidentally left behind by his Paris-bound family over the holidays. Relying on a penchant for mischief, Kevin booby-traps the family home to fend off a pair of inept burglars who call themselves the Wet Bandits.
Located in the suburbs of Chicago and the backdrop of the bulk of the first movie, the McCallisters’ sprawling Victorian is probably one of the most recognizable family homes in all of cinematic history … and it’s a real house, too. In fact, in 1990, the family who owned the house at the time lived in a makeshift apartment on the second floor while the film was being shot. It’s changed hands since, and the interior looks marginally different, but it still draws a great many number of Home Alone enthusiasts looking to take a picture in front of the famous facade every year.
If you want to celebrate the McCallister way (which technically means leaving your kid home alone and in peril), try this 20th-century Victorian in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood. Big enough to house your whole brood (and then some), it’s located just 20 minutes from downtown Chicago and O’hare International Airport and boasts a massive living room, dining room, seven bedrooms and a private outdoor space.
In the second installment of the series, the MacCallisters again abandon their child ahead of the holidays, this time in an airport, which then leads to him boarding a plane to New York instead of Miami, where Kevin meets The Sticky Bandits (né Wet) once again. But this time he’s upgraded his digs. In Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the wildly resourceful conman uses his dad’s credit card to check into the iconic Plaza Hotel, which serves as his own base until he’s found out by Cedric the concierge (played by Tim Curry).
The Plaza Hotel has been considered one of America’s most celebrated hotels since it first opened its doors in 1907. According to its website, it was once said that, “Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza.” That said, anyone can stay at the Plaza and even enjoy the fruits of a Home Alone 2: Fun in New York package inspired by one Kevin McCallister, which includes a limousine ride around the city, a large cheese pizza and a Home Alone sundae (16 scoops of assorted ice cream, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, M&M’s, brownie bits, chocolate, caramel and raspberry sauce). But that’ll run you a cool $2,500 a night. Instead, consider a stay at any one of many luxury hotels New York has to offer, including the St. Regis, for the full Kevin experience sans the hefty price tag. Room service, anyone?
Elf follows Buddy the elf, played by Will Ferrell, as he traverses two continents in pursuit of his birth father, a taciturn publishing exec in NYC. Tasked with spreading holiday cheer and changing his father’s position on Christmas (and, ultimately, life), Buddy spends the bulk of the film navigating New York City with the instincts of a kindergarten-aged child. Unsurprisingly, many of New York’s most famous landmarks and monuments make their share of guest appearances throughout the film — the Empire State Building, Central Park and the East 23rd street subway station among them.
Less recognizable but still iconic in its own right is the apartment Walter (played by James Caan) shares with his wife (Mary Steenburgen) and school-aged son. Located at 55 Central Park West, the building, which was also once featured in Ghostbusters, sits just across from Central Park in the Upper West Side. The apartment by today’s standards is a bit outdated (to be fair, the film came out nearly 20 years ago), but fortunately there are no shortage of rentals in the Upper West Side. For $237 a night, this bright one-bedroom just next to Central Park will allow you the opportunity to channel your inner Buddy — or Walter, depending on whose values you happen to align with — while you make gingerbread houses, eat cookie dough and go ice skating around the city.
Two words: shitter’s full.
As you’ll remember, the Griswold’s family home was set in a snowy suburb of Chicago (despite the movie having been shot primarily in Los Angeles), though it could be argued that the most iconic accommodations in Christmas Vacation don’t belong to the Griswolds at all. That’s thanks to Cousin Eddie, who arrives for the festivities (unannounced) in an eyesore of an RV, setting the bar for obnoxious family members in the Christmas Movieverse forevermore. Funnily enough, the real RV — much to Clark’s chagrin, surely — still exists today. The current owner, Atlanta resident Bob Boston, purchased the RV after his wife stumbled across it in Arizona, and set to work restoring it to its former glory. Little more than a decade later, it’s reportedly still quite the neighborhood attraction.
This camper is not that camper. It does, however, provide a nice alternative to the suburbs, and is based in Kansas — Cousin Eddie’s home state. For $85 a night, you’ll enjoy a fully renovated and well-appointed RV on the banks of the Arkansas River and — presumably — no issues with the plumbing. Don’t forget the rubber sheets and gerbils.
Widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, It’s A Wonderful Life tells the story of a young George Bailey, who, due to a perfect storm of variables, finds himself contemplating suicide on Christmas. An angel named Clarence literally falls to Earth to show George what life would have been like had he never been born, in an effort to dissuade him.
The film is set in Bedford Falls, which is said to be inspired by the town of Seneca Falls, New York (though the set was actually built on the RKO Ranch in Encino, California, the remains of which were demolished in the 1950s). Today, Seneca Falls is still home to the It’s A Wonderful Life museum and an annual festival which bears its name.
Historic in its own right, the “glamorous Historic 1870’s Gould Swaby Mansion” is touted as being Seneca Falls’ very own “Old Granville House.” The mansion, which only just recently open to the public and is now available on Airbnb, is located just across the street from where Alice Paul was in in attendance for the ratification of the 19th Amendment and footsteps from a number of the region’s acclaimed wine trails. Throw a rock, make a wish and try not to break any glass.
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