How many have you seen?
Here’s my Christmas movie list – I’ve been adding to it for years. I’ll continue to update it annually but as most people know, movies hop around from one streaming service to another so if you find any mistakes please let me know.
These are all favorites (that’s why I’m recommending them) but my favorites of my favorites have a little present in front of the titles.
8-Bit Christmas, 2021 (HBO Max) – With an admiring nod to A Christmas Story, this movie begins with an adult Jack Doyle (played by Neil Patrick Harris) recounting to his daughter (Annie Doyle) the tale of his quest to attain his first Nintendo. The majority of the film is set in 1980s Chicago and it’s wonderfully nostalgic. If you grew up in the 80s or have siblings that were 80s kids, you’re gonna want to watch this.
Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Annie Doyle, Winslow Fegley, Steve Zahn, June Diane Raphael, Bellaluna Resnick, Che Tafari, Santino Barnard, Max Malas, Brielle Rankins, Braelyn Rankins, Cyrus Arnold, and Chandler Dean. [TRAILER]
Arthur Christmas, 2011 (HBOMax) – This list is not just limited to titles for adults! I love this movie for a variety of reasons –
1) it’s incredibly British (it’s by Aardman, the Wallace & Gromit people!)
2) the plot is clever – I’ve always appreciated movies that come up with creative ways to explain how Santa delivers all his presents in one night – in this case it’s with high-tech support! and
3) the voices are done by some of my all-time favorite actors.
Starring (the voices of): James McAvoy (Arthur), Jim Broadbent (Santa), Bill Nighy (Grandsanta), Hugh Laurie (Steve), Imelda Staunton (Mrs. Santa), Laura Linney (North Pole Computer), Eva Longoria (Chief De Silva), Michael Palin (Ernie Clicker), Robbie Coltrane (Lead Elf), Joan Cusack (Lead Elf), Rhys Darby (Lead Elf0, and Andy Serkis (Lead Elf). [TRAILER]
A Bad Mom’s Christmas, 2017 (Netflix) – What do three overworked and under appreciated moms do when their own mothers show up for the holidays? Rebel, rebel, rebel. You can watch this without having seen the original ‘Bad Moms’ but it’ll probably be better if you have. (Unfortunately the original isn’t streaming for free.)
Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cheryl Hines. [TRAILER]
A Boy Called Christmas, 2021 (Netflix) – This is one of the best Christmas movies I’ve seen in years. A young boy named Nikolas lives in the woods with his father. Though poor, as long as he’s with his papa, Nikolas is happy. One day all the “strongest” people in the land are summoned by the King to the castle, including Nikolas’s papa. The King needs these individuals to go to all the corners of the land in search of hope. If they find it they need to bring it back with them.
Though hesitant at first because he doesn’t want to leave his son, Papa finally decides to accept the King’s challenge. He believes it’s the only way to get enough money to live on. He joins a group traveling to the mountains in search of a mythical elf land, a land Nikolas’s mother used to tell stories about. The adventures that ensue lead Nikolas to discover information that not only changes his life but the lives of everyone.
For me, the true sign of a good story is when I’m still thinking about it days even weeks later. I’ve made ‘A Boy Called Christmas’ one of my yearly Christmas movies. There are many amazing actors in it.
Starring Maggie Smith (adore her), Henry Lawfull, Michiel Huisman, Jim Broadbent (LOOOOVE him), Rune Temte (how great a name is that?), Kristin Wiig, Toby Jones, Sally Hawkins (adore her too), and Zoe Margaret Colletti. [TRAILER]
The Bishop’s Wife, 1947 (Prime Video) – There was a remake of this movie titled The Preacher’s Wife, but it wasn’t as good as the original (and I really, REALLY wanted to like it – because I adore Whitney Huston.) I’m generally open to remakes if they are done well and somehow manage to both not copy the original while at the same time not stray from the original (a difficult task). So I find I can enjoy them as much as the originals, but the problem with this remake was that Denzel Washington was not the right fit for the role of Dudley the Angel. That role needed a person who could convey charm, charisma, confidence, assuredness, and a soupcon of innocence. Cary Grant fit the bill perfectly. Everyone in the film is enamored with Dudley – men, women, even pets. Everyone except the Bishop of course, who is jealous that his wife is giving so much attention to this mysterious man. (The Bishop doesn’t know he’s an angel, nobody does.)
Cary Grant is Dudley in real life! Admittedly I’m a HUGE Cary Grant fan, so it’d be difficult for anyone to top him.
Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, and Monty Woolley. [TRAILER]
A Castle for Christmas, 2021 (Netflix) – The minute I saw the trailer for this I KNEW I was going to love it. And I wasn’t disappointed. Brooke Shields plays an author who has gone through a difficult divorce and is now in a writing funk (she writes romance novels which I’m sure is difficult when you hate men.) On a whim, she decides to go to Scotland to visit the castle where her father once worked. She runs into the Duke (who owns the castle) a couple of times, and well, let’s just say they’re like oil and water.
After Sophie finds out that the cash-strapped Duke had to put the castle up for sale she decides it would be a wonderful irony for her to own the place where her father was a servant. I don’t want to tell too much of the story but it’s a romantic comedy so rest assured, it ends well.
Scotland, Brooke Shields AND Cary Elwes (I love them both), and the members of the Knitting Club (who are simply delightful) make for a fabulous Christmas movie.
Starring Brooke Shields, Cary Elwes, Lee Ross, Andi Osho, Tina Gray, Eilidh Loan, and Stephen Oswald. [TRAILER]
A Charlie Brown Christmas , 1965 (Apple TV+) – Is Christmas really Christmas without ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’? For the two people on the planet who haven’t seen this movie – Finding commercialization everywhere, Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas. The soundtrack is one of the most memorable parts of the movie with songs like Lucy & Linus and Christmastime is Here. [TRAILER]
Also available on Apple TV+:
It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales
A Child’s Christmas in Wales, 1987 ( Freevee via Amazon Prime or YouTube ) – Based on the piece of prose by Dylan Thomas, the movie is a wonderfully simple story about a Christmas spent by a young boy growing up in Wales in the 1920s. In the film, Denholm Elliott plays Old Geraint who tells the Christmas story from his childhood to his young grandson Thomas. Starring Denholm Elliott and Mathonwy Reeves. Here is the link is to the full film on You Tube.
[Note: There’s a 2009 version available on Britbox. I haven’t seen that one yet. I love the 1987 version because I love Denholm Elliott.]
Starring Denholm Elliott, Mathonwy Reeves, Glynis Davies, Michael Fawkes, and Jesse McBrearty.
Christmas Chronicles, 2018 (Netflix) – I didn’t think I was ready for a “hot Santa” but I was so wrong. This movie (and its sequel) are WONDERFUL. Kurt Russell is awesome as Santa (and Goldie Hawn is fabulous as Mrs. Santa in the sequel)
Kate and Teddy Pierce Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about.
Starring Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, Judah Lewis, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley. [TRAILER]
Christmas in Connecticut, 1945 (HBOMax) – Barbara Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a journalist who has been faking being the perfect housewife – like an early Martha Stewart. After getting away with pretending she has a husband, a baby, a farm in Connecticut (and using recipes from her “honorary uncle”, who’s a chef) she is told by her boss there’s a returning war hero who read her recipes while recovering in the hospital and is a big fan. The publisher invites the war hero (and himself) to her house for Christmas. Lane jumps through hoops to carry on the charade, including agreeing to marry a friend who owns a farm.
(P.S. And if you like Frank Capra and Barbara Stanwyck you should try Meet John Doe. Technically it’s not a Christmas movie but it has a climactic ending on Christmas Eve so I always think of it as a holiday film. It’s one of my favorites.)
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner, and S.Z. Sakall. [TRAILER]
A Christmas Movie Christmas, 2019 (Hulu) – If you are a fan of Hallmark or Hallmark-like movies you are gonna LOVE this movie. After making their Christmas wishes, two sisters wake up inside a Christmas movie! (FYI, little Cleary Herzlinger, who plays little London, steals every scene she’s in.)
Starring Lana McKissack, Kimberly Daugherty, and Brant Daugherty (Kimberly’s real-life husband.) [TRAILER]
A Christmas Prince, 2017 (Netflix) – I once read that “The Christmas Prince” is the Christmas movie that everyone loves to hate and hates to love. But no matter how much people throw shade at it or criticize it, the fact is these movies are very popular.
In the film, an aspiring young journalist named Amber is sent to cover a press conference given by the Prince of Aldovia, who has a reputation of being a rather irresponsible playboy. When the prince is a no-show, ambitious Amber sneaks into the family area of the castle and is mistaken for the Princess Emily’s new American tutor. Seeing it as an opportunity to get the dirt on the family, Amber doesn’t correct the mixup and well, it leads to THREE movies.
Starring Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, and Sarah Douglas. [TRAILER]
There are two, count ’em TWO sequels (also on Netflix): A Christmas Prince 2: The Royal Wedding (2018) & A Christmas Prince 3: The Royal Baby (2019).
There is no word on a Christmas Prince 4 yet but the lead star is open to the idea. Though now that Rose McIver’s latest series, Ghosts has become a huge hit, she may not have time.
A Christmas Story, 1983 (HBOMax) – A classic. Ralphie puts a lot of effort into trying to get word to his elders that he wants “an official Red Ryder, carbine-action; two hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time” before being devastated by having Santa tell him, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.” Anyone who grew up in the 40s, 50s, 60s, or 70s will appreciate this movie.
Starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella, Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb. and Zack Ward (as Scut Farkus – I just love saying that name. Oh, and by the way, check out what Zack Ward looks like now. [TRAILER]
A Christmas Story Christmas, 2022 (HBOMax) – Ralphie’s back and he’s all grown-up with kids of his own. Returning home to the house on Cleveland Street, Ralphie tries to give his kids the kind of Christmas he had as a child.
Watching this movie feels like wrapping yourself in your coziest blanket, sitting on your comfiest sofa, and eating your favorite comfort food. [TRAILER]
Christmas with You, 2022 (Netflix) – A pop star (Aimee Garcia) who’s got career burnout and is feeling her age because of a new younger singer hitting the charts escapes to a small town where she finds not only inspiration but a shot at love with a local music teacher (Freddie Prinze, Jr.)
Starring Aimee Garcia, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Zenzi Williams, and Deja Monique Cruz. [TRAILER]
A Crown for Christmas, 2015 (Hallmark) – Allie Evans was a budding artist who gave up going to art school to take care of her younger brother and sister after their parents died. The family has struggled but whenever things got rough they’d say, “We’re the Evans” and they’d get through it.
After Allie and her sister both get fired from their jobs as maids at a ritzy New York City hotel things look grim again, but good fortune comes their way again in the form of an invitation to be a temporary governess to a young girl in Winshire. When Allie arrives she soon discovers that the house is actually a castle and the young girl is actually Princess Theodora.
I’ve always thought Rupert Penry-Jones was good looking but he’s particularly charming in this movie. And the young Ellie Botterill is delightful!
Starring Danica McKellar, Rupert Penry-Jones, Ellie Botterill, Pavel Douglas, Colin McFarlane, Amy Marston, Emma Burdon-Sutton, and Alexandra Evans. [TRAILER]
Dash & Lily, 2020 (Netflix) – Note: this is an eight-episode series based on the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan but it definitely is Christmas-centric.And if you love bookstores, particularly the Strand in NYC, you’re gonna wanna watch this.
Starring Austin Abrams and Midori Francis [TRAILER]
Dear Christmas, 2020 (Amazon Prime to rent) – Natalie Morgan (Melissa Joan Hart) is a podcaster specializing in true-life stories of holiday romances. She drives home to Lake Tahoe for Christmas but right before getting into town she gets a flat tire. She calls for a repair truck and to her rescue comes “Mr. Christmas” (Jason Priestly) – an attractive and charming man who swoops in, changes her tire, and even lets her sit in his truck (where he has a mini hot cocoa station set up and phone charging cables). A DREAM repair truck driver! As they are ready to part ways she thanks him and he says he’ll see her tomorrow. She replies, “You seem pretty sure about that.” His response, “Pretty sure.” Well, he was pretty sure because Mr. Christmas knew who she was even though she didn’t recognize him. Turns out they went to high school together and he knew he had a job at her house the next day. A romance blossoms, but can Mr. Christmas be Natalie’s “true love” when she’s only “known him” for a week (or has she actually “known him” longer?) I also loved the bookshop in this film and the cast was fantastic, Jason Priestly looks damn good!
Starring Melissa Joan Hart, Jason Priestly, Ed Begley, Jr., Faith Prince, and Nicky Whelan [CLIP]
Disney’s A Christmas Carol, 2009 (Disney+) – I personally have not seen a version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ that I didn’t like, probably because I love redemption stories. And I also LOVE animated films so even though this has gotten some negative reviews, I myself enjoyed it. It’s a little disconcerting to watch at first because the animated figures are designed to look like the stars that are portraying them. So, for example, the rather rotund Mr. Fezziwig has Bob Hoskins face and the kindly nephew Fred looks a bit like Colin Firth, but not exactly like him. And of course, Scrooge has mannerisms and some features that resemble Carrey. But after a little while, you get used to it. Kind of like when you first start watching a Shakespearean play and have to adjust to the style of speaking.
Starring (the voices of) Jim Carrey (who not only does Scrooge at all ages but all three Ghosts as well), Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Bob Hoskins, Lesley Manville, and Molly Quinn. [TRAILER]
Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, 2018 (Disney+) – I can’t lie, the movie was a little disappointing but it’s a feast for the eyes.
A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.
Starring Mackenzie Foy as Clara with Matthew Macfadyen, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Omid Djalili, Richard E. Grant, Keira Knightley, and Misty Copeland. [TRAILER]
Elf, 2003 (HBO Max) – Ed Asner is definitely one of the best Santas ever and Bob Newhart as an elf is pure genius. (Also, how many of you knew that Ralphie from ‘A Christmas Story’ was in this movie????) A modern classic and definitely one of my top five Christmas movies. Does it make you feel old that this will be 20 years old in 2023?
Starring Will Farrell, Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, and Daniel Tay. (I also loved the performances by Faizon Love as the Gimbel’s Manager – HILARIOUS, Amy Sedaris as Walter’s assistant Deb, and Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch.) [TRAILER]
Falling for Christmas (Netflix) – In the days leading up to Christmas, a young and newly engaged heiress experiences a skiing accident. After being diagnosed with amnesia, she finds herself in the care of the handsome lodge owner and his daughter.
Starring Lindsay Lohan, Chord Overstreet, George Young, Jack Wagner, and Olivia Perez. [TRAILER]
Father Christmas is Back, 2021 (Netflix) –
The reunion of Four sisters for the Christmas Holiday in a Yorkshire mansion leads to misunderstandings that uncover the long-buried secret that tore their family apart, so many years ago.
Starring April Bowlby (Jackie), Katy Brand (Reverend Jane), John Cleese (John Christmas), Natalie Cox (Caroline Christmas-Hope), Ray Fearon (Felix), Naomi Frederick (Paulina Christmas), Kelsey Grammer (James Christmas), Elizabeth Hurley (Joanna Christmas), Kris Marshall (Peter Hope), Amelie Prescott (Daisey Christmas-Hope), Caroline Quentin (Elizabeth Christmas), Talulah Riley (Vicky Christmas) and Oliver Smith as Henry Christmas-Hope [TRAILER]
Get Santa, 2014 – A charming Christmas movie with a Paddington-esque quality (they were both released in 2014) where things go quite afoul for Santa. But with a little help from his friends, he manages to make his deliveries on time. With Jim Broadbent as Santa Claus. Unfortunately, Netflix removed this from its library (I get why they can’t keep everything but they have so much crap!) but it is available on Apple TV or Prime Video to rent ($3.99) or buy ($5.99.) Personally, when something is only a couple of dollars more to buy I tend to go that route. In this case, you will probably want to watch this every Christmas. I know I’ll be watching it again.
Starring Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Kit Connor, Ewen Bremner, Warwick Davis, Stephen Graham, Joanna Scanlan, Jodie Whittaker, Nonso Anozie, and Matt King [TRAILER]
Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (Disney+) – The was MARVEL-ous. Absolute perfection.
“Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is missing Christmas while in outer space, so his teammates Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) try to cheer him up with the ultimate present: Peter’s beloved ’80s movie star Kevin Bacon. Being otherworldly aliens, Drax and Mantis have zero Christmas knowledge, and they can’t tell a candy cane lawn decoration from a “red-and-white curly man.” Even so, they’re determined to cheer up their friend, so they fly down to Earth and embark on a hilarious, fish-out-of-water journey showered in Christmas magic.”
Starring Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Dave Bautista as Dax the Destroyer, Chris Pratt as Starlord Peter Quill, Karen Gillian as Nebula, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Kevin Bacon as himself, and the voices of Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Michael Rooker as Yondu, and Maria Bakalova as Cosmo the Dog. [TRAILER]
The Happiest Season, 2020 (Hulu Plus) – Abby (Kristen Stewart) has a plan to propose to her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) at Christmas. So she agrees to accompany Harper back to her home town for the holidays. But there is one big problem: Harper has never told her parents that she’s gay.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber, and Ana Gasteyer. [TRAILER]
Happy Christmas, 2014 (Paramount+) – After a bad breakup, Jenny (Anna Kendrick) goes back to Chicago and moves in with her brother, Jeff (Joe Swanberg) and her sister-in-law, Kelly (Melanie Lynskey). Jeff and Kelly are living a “grown-up” life. They have a two-year-old son, Jeff is gainfully employed, they are careful, responsible, all that jazz. The exact opposite of Jenny who has never really grown up, still drinks and smokes pot to excess, sleeps around and is basically just a mess. But, it turns out that everything is not so perfect in Jeff & Kelly’s world. Kelly, a novelist, is frustrated that she doesn’t have time to write because she’s become a full-time mother. As Kelly and Jenny begin to bond they help one another grow and find direction in their lives.
Starring Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg, and Mark Webber. [TRAILER]
Holidate, 2020 (Netflix) – Fun Christmas Rom-Com where two strangers who’ve had it with love agree to be each other’s plus one for all holiday invitations so that they won’t have to deal with family asking “When are you finally going to find someone and settle down?” Obviously, as time passes they start to have feelings for one another, which was not the plan.
Kristin Chenoweth is HILARIOUS as the wild aunt!
Starring Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Kristin Chenoweth, and Frances Fisher. [TRAILER]
The Holiday, 2006 (Hulu Plus) – Oh to live in Rosehill Cottage. Sigh. (For photos of the interior, click here.) The exterior shots of Rosehill Cottage in ‘The Holiday’ were filmed at Honeysuckle Cottage in Holmbury St Mary.
Two women troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other’s countries to get away from men and their heart-aches. Both end up finding what they had lost and more.
Starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, and Jude Law. [TRAILER]
The Holiday Calendar, 2018 (Netflix) – A struggling but talented photographer inherits an antique holiday advent calendar, the contents of which seem to predict the future. Will this magical calendar lead her to love this holiday season?
Starring Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, Ethan Peck, and Ron Cephas Jones. [TRAILER]
Holiday Harmony, 2022 (HBO Max) – I’ll watch anything with Brooke Shields and when I saw a promo for this it immediately went on my watch list.
A sweet movie about a young woman named Gail who dreams about becoming a famous singer. She finally gets her big break but needs to drive across the country and get to L.A. by Christmas Eve. for a live performance.
She sets out in her trusty VW van only to have a little mishap in Oklahoma. While waiting for repairs, she gets to know the people of Harmony Springs, OK and find what she’s been missing in her life – security, inspiration, and love.
Starring Annelise Cepero, Jeremy Sumpter, Brooke Shields, Carla Jimenez, Morgan Harvill, and Sophia Reid-Gantzert [TRAILER]
[Trivia fact – for those of you who have seen the 2003 Peter Pan, the lead Jeremy Sumpter, who plays Gail’s love interest, was Peter. He’s all grown up now!]
Holiday in the Wild, 2019 (Netflix) – Jilted by her husband on the eve of embarking on an African safari, a woman travels to the continent alone where she meets an elephant conservationist.
I didn’t think I’d like this as much as I did but between the African scenery and the elephants, well, the baby elephants totally put it over the top.
Starring Kristin Davis and Rob Lowe [TRAILER]
Home Alone, 1990 (Disney+) – In the chaos of a large extended family trying to leave for a trip at Christmas, the youngest son Kevin is accidentally left behind. While home alone, he ends up needing to protect the family abode from a pair of bumbling burglars who are robbing houses in the neighborhood because most people are away for the holidays.
Starring Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, Daniel Stern, Joe Pesci, and of course our beloved John Candy. [TRAILER]
There is also two sequels (both available on Disney+) but only Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is worth it. Tim Curry, Dana Ivey and Rob Schneider are fantastic in HA2 as members of the Plaza Hotel staff. The only bad thing about the HA2 is that the Orange Monster owned the real Plaza Hotel at the time the film was made and he made a brief cameo. Be forewarned.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 1966 (Peacock) – the original animated version. No one is completely sure why the Grinch hates Christmas, but he does, without reservation. And he’s had it watching the Whos of Whoville celebrate yuletide year after year, so the Grinch has finally decided to stop it once and for all.
Starring (the voices of) Boris Karloff, June Foray, Dal McKennon and Thurl Ravenscroft, who sings “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” [CLIP]
It Happened on 5th Avenue, 1947 (HBOMax) – This is a delightful screwball comedy and worth it alone for some of the “walking” down 5th Avenue scenes. (Watch it, you’ll understand what I mean.)
Two down-on-their-luck men crash overnight in a mansion on 5th Avenue while the owner is away but only one of the men actually knows they are there illegally. When the owner’s daughter comes home, “on the run” from her father, they mistake her for a burglar. The two men adjourn to another room to discuss what to do but the young woman eavesdrops and finds out the men are squatting. She uses this knowledge to coerce the two men into letting her also stay at the house. (Remember, she’s hiding from her pop.)
There’s romance, subterfuge, corporate fiendery (yes, I’m making up a word!), and holiday spirit – what more could you ask for?
Starring Victor Moore, Don DeFore, Gale Storm, Charles Ruggles, and Ann Harding. [CLIP]
It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946 (Prime Video) – An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperate and frustrated man by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
Starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore. [TRAILER]
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, 2020 (Netflix) – An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever. Lisa Davina Phillip, who plays Ms. Johnson, is hilarious!
Starring Phylicia Rashad, Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Anika Noni Rose, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, and Ricky Martin. [TRAILER]
Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas), 2005 (Available to rent on Prime Video and Apple TV) – you might not know of this French film but you probably have heard the story of the truce between French and German troops that took place for one night on Christmas eve during World War I. This is the story of that event. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.
Starring Diane Kruger, Benno Furmann, Guillaume Canet, Natalie Dessay, Rolando Villazón, and Daniel Brühl. [TRAILER]
Klaus, 2019 (Netflix) – A simple act of kindness always sparks another, even in a frozen, faraway place. When Smeerensburg’s new postman, Jesper, befriends toymaker Klaus, their gifts melt an age-old feud and deliver a sleigh full of holiday traditions.
Starring (the voices of) Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Norm MacDonald, and Joan Cusack. [TRAILER]
The Knight Before Christmas, 2019 (Netflix) – A medieval English knight is magically transported to present-day America where he falls for a high school science teacher who is disillusioned by love.
Starring Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse. [TRAILER]
Last Holiday, 2006 (Paramount Plus, Showtime, Prime Video) – After being told she has a terminal illness, a woman who has played it safe her entire life uses all her savings to take the trip of a lifetime to the Czech Republic to stay in the posh hotel where her favorite celebrity chef is based.
Technically this isn’t a Christmas movie but it takes place in winter in the Czech Republic and it’s full of romance, humor, and ritziness.
Starring Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Alicia Witt, Giancarlo Esposito, Gerard Depardieu, and Susan Kellermann. [TRAILER]
Love, Actually, 2003 (PeacockTV) – Surely you watch this every year?
Starring Hugh Grant (as The Prime Minister), Martine McCutcheon (as Natalie), Billy Campbell (as Natalie’s octopus brother), Bill Nighy (Billy Mack), Gregor Fisher (Joe), Liam Neeson (Daniel), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Sam), Colin Firth (Jamie), Lúcia Moniz (Aurelia), Emma Thompson (Karen), Allan Rickman (Harry), Heike Makatsch (Mia), Kris Marshall (Colin Frissell) , Martin Freeman (John), Joanna Page (Just Judy), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Peter), Andrew Lincoln (Mark), Kiera Knightley (Juliet), Laura Linney (Sarah), and Rodrigo Santoro (Karl) [TRAILER]
Love Hard, 2021 (Netflix) – An LA girl, unlucky in love, falls for an East Coast guy on a dating app and decides to surprise him for the holidays, only to discover that she’s been catfished. This lighthearted romantic comedy chronicles her attempt to reel in love.
Starring Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, Darren Barnet, James Saito, Rebecca Staab, and Harry Shum Jr. [TRAILER]
The Man Who Invented Christmas, 2017 (Hulu) – the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.
Starring Dan Stevens, Morfydd Clark, Mirian Margolyes, Jonathan Pryce and Christopher Plummer [TRAILER]
Meet John Doe, 1941 (Paramount Plus) – A penniless drifter (Gary Cooper) is recruited by an ambitious columnist (Barbara Stanwyck) to impersonate a non-existent person who said he’d be committing suicide as a protest and the announcement starts a social movement.
Starring Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan, Spring Byington, and James Gleason. [TRAILER]
Miracle on 34th Street, 1947 (HBOMax) – After a divorced New York mother hires a nice old man to play Santa Claus at Macy’s, she is startled by his claim to be the genuine article. When his sanity is questioned, a lawyer defends him in court by arguing that he’s not mistaken.
Starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood. [TRAILER]
Miracle on 34th Street – this is the 1994 version. I don’t think it’s fair to try to compare a black & white film to a color remake. The tone, mood, and atmosphere of a b&w film are going to always be different, simply because of the lack of color – and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just, it’s like trying to compare oranges and limes, they are both citrus but they are not completely interchangeable. I hope that this makes sense (I’m doing my rambling thing now). The bottom line is, I love both versions.
Starring Richard Attenborough, Mara Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins, and Dylan McDermott[TRAILER]
Must Love Christmas, 2022 (Paramount+) – A renowned romance novelist famous for her Christmas-themed books finds herself snowbound in the charming town of Cranberry Falls, where she unexpectedly becomes involved in a love triangle between her childhood crush and a reporter determined to interview her to save his dying magazine.
Starring Liza Lapira, Neal Bledsoe, Nathan Witte, Adam Beauchesne, Ian Collins, and BJ Harrison [TRAILER]
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989 (HBOMax) – “Hurry up Clark, I’m freezing my baguettes off.”
The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.
Starring Johnny Galecki, Beverly D’Angelo, Chevy Chase, and Juliette Lewis [TRAILER]
Noel Diary (Netflix) – This “holiday heartwarmer stars This Is Us star Justin Hartley as Jake, a famous author who journeys into his past when he goes home to settle his mother’s estate and meets Rachel (Barrett Doss), who’s desperate to learn more about her own mother, Noel. How their families are linked, and how Jake and Rachel grow closer (no surprise there) after she discovers her mother’s journal, guarantee a feel-good, poignant ride.” [From TV Insider]
Based on the first book in the Noel Collection by Richard Paul Evans.
Starring Justin Hartley, Barrett Doss, Bonnie Bedelia, James Remar, and Essence Atkins[TRAILER]
Noelle, 2019 (Disney+) – I LOVE this movie. I don’t know why Disney+ didn’t/doesn’t promote it more or why it got so many mediocre reviews. I suppose it’s because there are so many people out there that dislike Anna Kendrick. Don’t understand why – I adore her.
My favorite things about this movie are the unique take life at the North Pole, the relationship between Noelle and her nanny Elf Polly (Shirley MacLaine), Snowcone the baby reindeer, and last but definitely not least, the diversity. Also – GIRL POWER!
The premise of the movie – after Santa passes away, his daughter Noelle is asked to help her brother Nick step into his new role as Santa because Nick doesn’t seem to have inherited all of Santa’s magical skills. In fact, Nick actually would prefer warmer weather. Noelle suggests that Nick go away for the weekend to de-stress and Nick does, but instead of being gone for the weekend he disappears for a few months. As December 25th draws nears, Noelle (with the help of Elf Polly and Snowcone) scramble to get Nick to return to the North Pole before Christmas is ruined.
Starring Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader, and Kingsley Ben-Adir. [TRAILER]
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, 1987 (Paramount+) – A Chicago advertising man must struggle to travel home from New York for Thanksgiving, with a lovable oaf of a shower-curtain-ring salesman as his only companion.
God I miss John Candy. But at least we still have his movies!
Starring Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon, and Dylan Baker [TRAILER]
Polar Express, 2004 – On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.
I really liked this movie but similar to the Disney Christmas Carol it takes some adjusting to get used to seeing the animations where the voices are completely familiar (Tom Hanks) but the face looks a little off. You’ll see what I mean.
Starring (the voices of) Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter, Leslie Zemeckis, Eddie Deezen, Nona Gaye, and Peter Scolari [TRAILER]
Prep & Landing, 2009 (Disney+) – Wayne gets a new rookie partner, Lanny, after his previous partner got the promotion he wanted. Lanny has to remind Wayne of the Spirit of Christmas and the importance of being an elf in Santa’s Prep and Landing elite unit.
(Sequels called Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice and Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa)
Starring (the voices of) David Foley, Sarah Chalke, Mason Vale Cotton, David DeLuise, Peter Jacobson, Lino DiSalvo, Kevin Deters, Derek Richardson, and William Morgan Sheppard. [TRAILER]
The Princess Switch, 2018 (Netflix) – Competing in a Christmas baking competition in Belgravia, a Chicago baker bumps into the prince’s fiancée–who looks just like her. They switch lives for two days.
There are TWO sequels (also on Netflix) – The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again (2020) and Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (2021).
Starring a double dose of Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Nick Sagar, Suanne Braun, Mark Fleischmann, Sara Stewart, and Pavel Douglas. [TRAILER]
Robin Robin, 2021 (Netflix) – After hatching from a robin’s egg, a bird is raised by the family of mice that found it. So little Robin Robin grows up thinking she’s a mouse and learns to do what mice do best – following the “Rules of the Sneak.”
When Robin Robin messes us one night causing the family to go home empty handed, she decides she has to figure out how to make up for it. She ends up going on an adventure that leads her to new places and along the way she meets new creatures – both friends and foes.
And ‘The Sneak Song’ is AWESOME! I could listen to it over and over! This is part of my regular Christmas movie schedule. One of my absolute favorites.
Starring (the voices of) Bronte Carmichael, Adeel Akhtar, Amira Macey-Michael, Tom Pegler, Endeavour Clutterbuck, Megan Harris, Richard E. Grant and Gillian Anderson [TRAILER]
The Royal Nanny, 2022 (Hallmark/Peacock) – Claire is an MI5 agent who becomes the royal nanny, having to overcome challenges on her mission as she keeps the family safe for Christmas and resists Prince Colin’s charms.
Starring Rachel Skarsten as Nanny Claire, Dan Jeannotte as Prince Colin, and the wonderful Greta Scacchi as Miss Juliet Lansbury. [TRAILER]
Santa Claus: The Movie, 1985 (Peacock) – The legend of Santa Claus is put in jeopardy when an unscrupulous toy manufacturer attempts to take over Christmas.
The first half of this movie is better than the second. It could have been better but unlike Will Farrell in Elf, Dudley Moore was unable to pull off being an adult with child-like innocence.
Starring David Huddleston, Burgess Meredith, Judy Cornwell, Dudley Moore (if someone else had been cast in Moore’s role this movie would have been so much better) and John Lithgow. [TRAILER]
The Santa Clause, 1994 (Disney+) – When a man inadvertently makes Santa fall off his roof on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place
Starring Tim Allen, David Krumholtz, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, and Eric Lloyd. [TRAILER]
(There are two sequels, also on Disney+, with the same original cast: Santa Clause 2 (2002) adds Elizabeth Mitchell as the future Mrs. Claus and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006) adds Martin Short as Jack Frost and Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret as the new Mrs. Claus’s parents, who are clueless that their son-in-law is Santa.)
The Santa Clauses, 2022 (Disney+) – The fourth and final Tim Allen Santa Clause sequel, this one is a limited series, was released this year. [TRAILER]
Santa Inc, 2021 (HBOMax) – An elf working in Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole dreams of becoming Santa Claus someday. Also – this is most definitely adults only.
Starring (the voices of) Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogan, Maria Bamford, Joel Kim Booster, Leslie Grossman, Craig Robinson, Gabourey Sidibe, Paul Rust, Nicolas, Braun, and Carmen Christopher. [TRAILER]
Scrooged, 1988 (Paramount+) – Frank Cross (Bill Murray) sees the light after being visited by three ghosts.
Starring Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Alfre Woodard, John Glover, Bobcat GoldThwait, David Johansen, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, John Forsythe, Robert Goulet, and Buddy Hackett. [TRAILER]
Shaun the Sheep: the Flight Before Christmas, 2021 (Netflix) – Shaun’s seasonal excitement turns to dismay when a farmhouse raid to get bigger stockings for the Flock inadvertently leads to Timmy going missing. Can Shaun get Timmy back before he becomes someone else’s present?
Starring (the voices of) Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Laura Aikman, Marcus Brigstocke, and Kate Harbour. [TRAILER]
The Shop Around the Corner, 1940 (HBOMax) – Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand each other, without realizing that they are falling in love through the post as each other’s anonymous pen pal.
The movie ‘You’ve Got Mail‘ is a modernized remake of this film. Also, the shop owner is the Wizard of Oz!
Starring Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, Felix Bressart, and William Tracy. [TRAILER]
Single All the Way, 2021 (Netflix) – Desperate to avoid his family’s judgment about his perpetual single status, Peter convinces his best friend Nick to join him for the holidays and pretend that they’re now in a relationship.
Starring Michael Urie, Philemon Chambers, Luke Macfarlane, Barry Bostwick, Jennifer Robertson, Madison Brydges, Kathy Najimy and Jennifer Coolidge. [TRAILER]
The Snowman, 1982 (Prime Video, YouTube) – On Christmas Eve, a young boy builds a snowman that comes to life and takes him to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas.
Starring (the voices of) Peter Auty, David Bowie, Raymond Briggs, and Mel Smith
Something from Tiffany’s, 2022 (Prime Video) – Course they had me at Tiffany’s but then I saw that Kendrick Sampson was also in the movie and he’s dreamy.
Ethan (Sampson) with his daughter’s (Leah Jeffries) assistance, selects the perfect engagement ring at Tiffany’s with plans to propose on Christmas Day. At the same time Gary (Ray Nicholson) is buying a small trinket at Tiffany’s in the hopes of impressing his girlfriend. As Gary leaves the store he gets hit by a taxi cab. Ethan and Leah witness the accident and Ethan rushes over to see if he can help, putting his Tiffany bag down as he checks on the man who is injured. When the ambulance arrives he picks up a blue Tiffany’s bag not realizing he’s picked up Gary’s bag. The mixup brings two people together who would never have met otherwise.
Starring Zoey Deutch, Kendrick Sampson, Leah Jeffries, JoJo T. Gibbs, Javicia Leslie, Ray Nicholson, and Shay Mitchell. [TRAILER]
Spirited (AppleTV) – Each Christmas Eve, the Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell) selects one dark soul to be reformed by a visit from three spirits. But this season, he picked the wrong Scrooge. Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds) turns the tables on his ghostly host until Present finds himself reexamining his own past, present and future. For the first time, “A Christmas Carol” is told from the perspective of the ghosts in this hilarious musical twist on the classic Dickens tale.
Starring Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer, Patrick Page, Sunita Muni, Loren G. Woods/Tracy Morgan, and Marlow Barkley. [TRAILER]
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 (Disney+) – “The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the “real world.” When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life — he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.” [Rotten Tomatoes]
There was no question I was going to include this movie on my list – it was one of my Mom’s all-time favorites. And I’m fairly certain a big part of the reason she loved it so much was the music – the songs in this movie are fabulous.
Starring (the voices of) Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Ken Page, and Edward Ivory.[TRAILER]
White Christmas, 1954 (Netflix) – A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.
Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. [TRAILER]
Your Christmas or Mine, 2022 (Prime Video) – A young couple (James and Hayley) reluctantly says goodbye as they part for the holidays, each having planned to visit their respective families. Before they depart, they both have the same idea – surprise the other for Christmas. Jumping off their train cars they unknowingly pass one another and hop onto the opposite trains just as they leave . Spending Christmas alone with their significant other’s family turns out to be more than a challenge, especially as it turns out that both James and Hayley haven’t quite told each other or their families everything.
Starring Asa Butterfield, Cora Kirk, Daniel Mays, Angela Griffin, Natalie Gumede, Harriet Walter, Alex Jennings, and David Bradley [TRAILER]
And of course….
Die Hard, 1988 (HBO Max) – A New York City police officer tries to save his estranged wife and several others taken hostage by terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
Starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, and Alan Rickman. [TRAILER]
Trading Places, 1983 – YES, Virginia, it absolutely is a Christmas movie!
A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.
Starring Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott, Ralph Bellamy, and Don Ameche. [TRAILER]
Baking It, 2021 (Peacock) – For fans of Making It, comes a baking (and Christmas) version of the show! I’m a HUGE fan of Making It (hosted by the fabulous Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman). Baking It is hosted by the equally fabulous Maya Rudolph and Adam Sandler! (Season two is hosted by Rudolph and Poehler.)
They start the series by having Amy pass off the space to Maya and Adam and then things take off. Before Making It (and now Baking It) I never watched realty shows. Well, except when my niece and faux-daughter were visiting. These are shows I actually watch because I enjoy them and the main reason is because they intentionally make the show have a positive, encouraging vibe on it. Obviously the entrants are competiting against one another but they will even help one another to finish on time or solve problems – it’s really a good message. I also love the Baking It judges (Grannies).
The Holiday Movies That Made Us, 2020 (Netflix) – The holiday version of “The Movies That Made Us” tells the real stories behind Elf and The Nightmare Before Christmas. You may be surprised! [TRAILER]
Wishing everyone a very HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!