Big Brother's Tim Dormer on the best and worst Christmas movies

by Trisha Mee

Since winning Big Brother in 2013, Tim Dormer has become one of Australia’s most recognisable reality TV stars. The Bondi-based celebrity has also found international reality fame, coming third on Canadian Big Brother in 2016. But Dormer is now shifting his focus to things closer to home, with an upcoming documentary on homelessness due out in 2017.

“I’m someone who gets into the Christmas spirit early. Any time before December is a bit too enthusiastic but when December comes around, I’m the person who puts on the Christmas carols in the car and hires the Christmas DVDs. 

In the first week of December, I love going down to DVD stores (yes, they still exist!) to browse through the Christmas section. There are movies such as The Grinch and Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thornton that I like, but Bad Santa really isn’t for kids even though he finds the Christmas spirit. 

My favourite Christmas movies are the first two in the Home Alone series (the third one, without Macaulay Culkin, was a disgrace!). I think growing up as a kid, Kevin [played by Culkin] was my hero. He took on the baddies and he was so naughty and mischievous but he got away with it. 

I resonated with his big family. I often wished that I could leave my family and take over the house. I remember my parents saying that if I was ever kidnapped, I was allowed to go crazy and bite or punch do whatever I needed to do to escape. And there was a little part of me that wanted to unleash like that after watching all of Kevin’s smart little stunts. 

And I also like that there’s a real Christmas message of love and inclusiveness in the Home Alone movies with the outcasts who are alone on Christmas Day ending up spending time with Kevin. 

Every year, Christmas Day means dinner with all of the family. There’s usually an argument or two but it’s big and raucous and that’s what’s it’s all about.

The worst Christmas movie has to be A Mom for Christmas. It’s got Olivia Newton John playing a store mannequin that comes to life at night for a girl who wishes that she could have a mum for Christmas. It’s a race to turn her into a real life mum that she has forever. There are songs and God love her, Olivia Newton John is lovely and she’s a national treasure, but this movie is very soppy. And anyway, getting a mum for Christmas isn’t all that practical – it’s not like it’s the sort of present you could take back on Boxing Day!

I don’t have kids but now that my sisters do, Christmas is all about them. But it means my parents buy a stack of presents for the young ones and then I’m left saying, ‘What about me? I’m still a big kid!’ These days you just get socks and undies in your stocking. Yes, it saves you going to the store but then you have to put up with the daggy undies that your mum buys!

I live in Bondi and I walk my dog through the park most days where a lot of homeless guys live and I usually say hi to them. Last year, I thought I’d put on a Christmas Eve dinner at the free barbecues for any of them who wanted to turn up. It was pretty impromptu – I just got a bunch of sausages and a carton of beer. We ended up having a great night and found ourselves at the local karaoke bar singing Christmas carols until 2am! 

It was something that was really meaningful for me. I think Christmas can be a bit of a challenge – you get caught up in the shopping and the stress of it all. Sometimes you have to just chill out and remind yourself that there are others to reach out to.” 

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