Holiday Movie Countdown and a #giveaway

Hi readers! Thanks for all your lists of favorite holiday movies. A winner for the giveaway has been selected and notified.

by Barb, just returned from a holiday party. Santa was there!

Hi All. Christmas is my favorite season. I love the anticipation, the family traditions, the decorations pulled out year after year.

One of my traditions is rewatching holiday movies. A familiar, well-loved story is the perfect background to making cookies, decorating, addressing cards, and wrapping presents.

Here’s my list of Christmas favorites. Leave a comment at the end for a chance to win copies of Eggnog Murder and Yule Log Murder, two novella collections that will get you in the holiday spirit. Each one includes a Maine Clambake Christmas novella.

Everyone’s holiday movie list is different, but sometime this month, I will watch the following. (Some of the clips will have ads, but you can skip them after five seconds.)

10. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Ha! Not a Christmas movie, but a Thanksgiving one. But that’s what makes it such a great way to kick of your holiday viewing season.

9. Home Alone

I just watched the Netflix moving about the making of Home Alone (The Movies that Made Us) and that made this movie somehow even more enjoyable.

8. The Family Man

There are hundreds of Scrooge variants–and why shouldn’t there be? It’s an amazing story. One of my favorites is this one with Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni.

7. The Family Stone

This is a flawed and occasionally annoying movie, but it has flashes of insight and killer moments that still lead me to watch it almost every year.

6. George C. Scott’s Christmas Carol

I love the Christmas Carol descendants and variants (see above), but my favorite straight-up version is the one starring George C. Scott.

5. White Christmas

This is one of the goofiest movies ever made. It only works if you don’t wonder too hard why a former general would build a 1000 seat theater and a full sound stage in rural Vermont. In fact, it only works if you don’t wonder about a lot of things. But I love it. I also love and read every year Tom and Lorenzo’s hilarious critique.

4. The Holiday

I kicked off the season with this one this year, watching it on Cape Cod with my daughter, niece and sister-in-law. It’s a great story filled with really cool houses and it’s very heartwarming if you don’t think about the future of the two central couples too hard.

3. About a Boy

This one is a bit of a cheat, since it’s not really a Christmas movie. But it does have two Christmas scenes and a New Year’s Eve party, so I’m including it here. It’s one of my favorite movies for any season, and it would be higher on this list if it was actually a Christmas movie.

2. It’s a Wonderful Life

I love this movie. I love Jimmy Stewart. I love the message. And I love that every time I see it I spot some little detail I never noticed before.

1. Love Actually

This for me is the ne plus ultra of Christmas movies. The one I have to watch every year. I love everything about it and the ending montage gets me every time.

I had to leave a bunch off and I also might reorder the list if I did it again tomorrow, but here are my ten and I’m sticking to it. (For now.)

Readers: How about you? Leave a comment with your favorite holiday movie and be entered to win the two holiday novella collections.

92 Thoughts

  1. My favorite holiday movie is While You Were Sleeping. I haven’t watched it in a while though. Your post reminded me of a couple movies I haven’t seen in a while, like Home Alone. What a cute film.

  2. I watch the Dickens Christmas Carol movies every year. My favorite versions are the ones with Alistar Sims and Patrick Stewart. Also enjoy Scrooged, with Bill Murray.

    1. Yup. Did you know they didn’t ask John Williams to write the score and conduct the orchestra until practically the end of production? They didn’t think he would do it. The score is so critical to the movie.

  3. I can’t pick just one! I like various Christmas Carols, It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, The Bishop’s Wife (Cary Grant)….I’ve now added The Man Who Invented Christmas….just can’t pick one!

  4. From your list I like Love Actually, White Christmas and the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol.

    I also like Comfort and Joy. It was a Lifetime Christmas movie that starred Nancy McKeon (from The Facts of Life). I also like the Hallmark movies November Christmas and The Christmas Card. Those were from back when Hallmark actually tried to put together a decent script.

    And how can you forget the first Die Hard movie?

    1. Bravo Carol Perry for The Bishop’s Wife — Cary Grant, David Niven, Loretta Young. Somewhere (so I can’t say it’s a true story) I read that David Niven was to be cast as Dudley and Cary Grant as the Bishop. No matter how hard I try, I can’t place them in each other’s roles.

  5. A few years ago I was able to find a DVD of “The House Without a Christmas Tree” which was a tv movie in the 1970’s. A nice, quiet movie which I love.

  6. I love The Christmas Gift! The town is much like the ones my favorite authors write about…

  7. Naturally, we love all the old favorites (any version of The Christmas Carol, It’s A Wonderful Life and even the old cartoons like Charlie Brown), but my all time modern day favorite has to be The Christmas Visitor. It’s a very emotional story that probably doesn’t appeal to most as a favorite. However, having a child in heaven, the thought of you being able to see and talk to in some form warms the my heart. I always cry but it’s a must see for us. In fact, being an older Hallmark movie and not always on anymore, we found the movie and bought it just to make sure we can see it. I know it’s not possible, but to me it’s just a reminder that some day we will have that chance just not on this earth.

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win not one but two holiday novella collections!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  8. I am with you on Love Actually being #1. We watch it every year and love it each time.

  9. What a fun list, Barb! FOr mu family, the one must-see holiday film is A Muppet Christmas Carol. Michael Caine singing along with Kermit, Piggy, and the gang is priceless. I also adore the Christmas episode from the Nickelodeon animated show Hey, Arnold. The theme of going the extra mile to make someone else’s holiday special gets me every time.

  10. I like Charlie Brown’s Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Bishop’s Wife and a few more.. Thanks so much for your article and this giveaway!! Have a great day!!

  11. Love actually is my all time favorite movie!!! I love Home Alone and About a Boy as well . What about the old movie Miracle on 23rd Street? Either book will be great!

  12. White Christmas is a must-see, but another must-see for me is A Christmas Story. A fun and heartwarming story – and it even has bunny pajamas!

    1. My only excuse for leaving off A Christmas Story is that we usually watch Christmas day or the day after with the whole family and not in the run-up to the holiday.

  13. “Love, Actually” is my #1 favorite, hands down and don’t bother trying to talk me out of it. George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart war for my favorite “Christmas Carol.”

    We have a slew of Christmas movies on Netflix that we want to watch this year. We just watched one with Rob Lowe, because…Rob Lowe. 🙂

      1. Holiday in the Brush? Holiday in the Bush? It was cute. He plays a bush pilot in Africa and the main action takes place on an African refuge for orphaned elephants.

  14. Our top 2 match so you’ve got those right 😉. Never seen About A Boy so I’m going to add it. At our house we have to watch Die Hard but I’m surrounded by men! Merry Christmas to you!

  15. White Christmas is a must see every year and Love Actually. I also love The Holiday (I love your don’t think to hard about the couples comment) and that version of A Christmas Carol. Elizabeth watched Die Hard with me for the very first time two nights ago. It will be a new tradition. She’s seen at least one of the new Die Hard movies but loved the original.

    1. Because what’s going to happen, right? There are geographic challenges, and does Cameron Diaz’s character strike you as a stepmother? Don’t think about it.

  16. What a great list! For me it depends on if I want to evoke memories, if I want a laugh, or if I need a good cry. Home Alone, White Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life are musts at some point during the season.

  17. No Elf? We always have to watch Elf, Love Actually, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Christmas Story, and It’s a Wonderful Life (in the theater!)

  18. I love two Christmas movies:
    A Christmas Story and The Polar Express.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  19. George C Scott is my favorite straight up version of A Christmas Carol as well. But if I want a little fun with it, I pull out the Muppet version. They do a remarkably good job of telling the story and making their jokes feel like part of it without distracting from the power of the original.

    Another movie I love is The Santa Clause.

    And it’s just not Christmas without Charlie Brown and the animated Grinch.

  20. I haven’t seen or heard of half of them but I have to say Christmas Vacation must be mine. I’ve seen it more than any other movie and I thought Home Alone was my fav. Maybe because I don’t see it playing as much. But I certainly quote more lines from Vacation than any other. 😂

  21. No way can I pick just one! Christmas movies are my absolute favorite! Christmas Vacation (makes me laugh every time!), While You Were Sleeping, Angel Of Pennsylvania Avenue with Robert Urich in it, The Christmas Card, Christmas In Connecticut (for my vintage Christmas movie fix), my inner child watches A Charlie Brown Christmas, and of course can’t forget Frosty and Rudolph. And of course there is the yearly viewing of my son’s favorite Christmas movie, Diehard. We are supposed to watch it this weekend. Renee

  22. Mrs. Santa Claus, The Story of Santa Claus, Charlie Brown Christmas, Olive the Other Reindeer, and of course Frosty and Rudolph. At some point during either Thanksgiving or Christmas I watch Planes Trains and Automobiles.

  23. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, and a tie for the two Scrooges – George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart.

  24. It’s A Wonderful Life, original Miracle On 34th Street, Scrooged, Diehard, Home Alone…etc. Thank you for the opportunity! Merry Christmas!

  25. White Christmas, The Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim and An American Christmas starring Henry Winkler are three of my favorites.

  26. What a great list – all of those movies are among my favorites. Of course there is always The Bishop’s Wife and The Christmas Story, and there are a couple of Hallmark movies from several years ago that I can watch over and over – The Christmas Card and A Dog Named Christmas. Happy holidays and thanks for the great giveaway!

  27. White Christmas and Holiday Inn (where it was derived from) are a tradition at our house.

  28. There are still some of these I have never seen. White Christmas,the Bishop’s Wife, Christmas in Connecticut, The Christmas Story, Mrs. Santa Clause, It’s a Wonderful life, The Christmas Secret, and I also like Hercule Poirot’s Christmas would be my go to. I need to watch the other version of Love Actually…and P.S. you’ve got Mail is set around Christmas isn’t it? Thank you for the contest….one day I hope to make it to Maine.

  29. I just love A Muppet Christmas Carol : ) Miss. Piggy is so…well…you know. Over the top. Kermit is in his most understated role and Gonzo and Rat are just perfect as the narrators.

  30. Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, Polar Express, Scrooge, the Grinch who Stole Christmas, Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone and Prancer.

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