A Christmas Detour (2015)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Paul Greene, Sarah Strange, Barbara Niven, and Marcus Rosner
Synopsis: Two travelers become linked when a snowstorm grounds their flight in Buffalo. Paige desperately needs to find a way to New York City to meet her fiancé’s parents. It’s up to Dylan, a fellow passenger and a guy she can’t stand, to get her there.
Review: Not only do we get to see Paige evolve as a person as she falls for Dylan, we get to see the couple they are traveling with rekindle their relationship. Wonderful characters that are fun to watch. Their interactions and adventures kept me thoroughly entertained.
Scoring: 5
Christmas Do-Over (2006)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Jay Mohr, Daphne Zuniga, David Millbern, and Adrienne Barbeau
Synopsis: Kevin tries to be involved with his son and ex-wife's family for Christmas. During dinner, he thought his Christmas *day* couldn't have gone worse; his son suddenly wishes it was Christmas every day. After that, it was a regular Groundhog's Day. Kevin learns new dance moves and can actually sing. Don't let the caroling fool you.
Review: Yes, this is another take on Groundhog Day but with a Christmas twist. All of Kevin's antics, and there are many, kept me laughing. Jay Mohr is genuinely funny and keeps the movie interesting. It’s fun watching his character go through all the stages of accepting his fate.
Scoring: 3

The Christmas Dragon (2014)

Rated: NR

Genres: Adventure, Fantasy

Starring: Bailee Michelle Johnson, Paris Warner, and David DeVilliers 

Synopsis: A group of orphans goes on a journey to restore the lost magic and save Christmas.

Review: I found this to be mind numbingly dull.  Of course, I felt the same way about Lord of the Rings, so this is just my impression.  I found it to be working way to hard to be fanciful.  It was so hard to sit through.

Scoring: 1

A Christmas Duet (2019)

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Terry’s Rothery, Chaley Rose, and Rome Flynn

Synopsis: During the chaos of planning a Christmas festival and vying for the Top Winter Lodge Award, an innkeeper rekindles her love of music as well as her love for her former music partner.

Review: While there was lots of Christmas activities and Terry’s Rothery was at her best, the movie just seemed to drag on forever. I can pinpoint exactly why because it was cute enough. I liked the town pitching in for the festival and the characters are likable and relatable. 

Scoring: 3

Christmas Encore (2017)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Maggie Lawson and Brennan Elliott
Synopsis: A struggling actress earns the lead part in the production of 'A Christmas Carol', and falls in love with the director. But the cast and crew need a Christmas miracle to save the show when the theater loses its lease.
Review: This is yet another movie that just happens to be during the Christmas season but it’s not a main part of it other than the play being 'A Christmas Carol'. I wanted everything to work out but being invested in it took effort. The movie has to work too hard to make up for a story and dialogue that's lacking. The fact that it moves so slowly makes it even harder. It’s just okay.
Scoring: 2

Christmas Everlasting (2018)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Tatyana Ali and Dennis Haysbert

Synopsis: Lucy has spent years working hard at her law firm and will be made partner after the New Year. However, when Alice, her older sister with special needs, unexpectedly passes away, Lucy returns back to Nilson's Bay, Wis., to attend the funeral and handle her estate. Once back in Nilson's Bay, Lucy meets her old high school sweetheart Peter, and Alice's former attorney, who informs her of the terms of Alice's eccentric will that  states in order for Lucy to inherit the family home, she must live there for 30 days through the holidays.

Review:  As a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, it has all the expected emotions and drama. There were a few questions that I had because if they explained it the explanation was so brief, I missed it. Besides that, it was a lovely story. It was emotional without being dark. Ali was wonderful.  One worth watching again.

Scoring: 4

 

Christmas Every Day (1996)

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Robert Hayes and Bess Armstrong

Synopsis: Billy Jackson, a miserable 16-year-old, hates Christmas. From his little sister to Joey Mancuso (a local bully), he is not very fond of Greenwood Falls. Until he learns the true meaning of Christmas, Billy must relive this holiday over and over.

Review:  This is a watered down and not so well-done version of Groundhog Day. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t enjoy it. There's only so much sullen and unhappy teen I can watch.  I think this may appeal more to tweens. 

Scoring: 2

 

Christmas Festival Of Ice (2017)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Taylor Cole, Damon Runyan, and Wendy Crewson
Synopsis: Emma finished law school and her mother expects her to practice with her. But Emma finds out her beloved Christmas festival ice-sculpting contest, has been canceled and she springs into action. Determined to keep it going, she enlists sponsors and artists. Emma convinces Nick, the town's ace artisan, to be her teammate. As Emma and Nick work together, she realizes there's more to life than legal briefs. Transformed by Emma's can-do spirit, Nick is invigorated, too. They just might have a shot at winning this very special Christmas contest - and a lot more.
Review: Emma doesn’t want to disappoint her mom but she wants to follow her dreams. An age-old tale most people can relate to. We get to see Emma straddle both worlds in this darling story. There are also the various ice projects to watch as they develop into beautiful sculptures.
Scoring: 3

Christmas For A Dollar (2013)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Brian Krause

Synopsis: America is in the midst of the Depression, and the Kamp family is struggling to get by, especially after Mrs. Kamp's untimely death. Now little Ruthie, with her mother gone and her father overwhelmed by doctor bills resulting from her brother’s polio, expects another Christmas without presents or festivities. But when her father brings home one dollar in change and lets the children use it to buy special gifts for each other, the Kamps come to find that money isn't what fills Christmas with joy, love, and miracles.

Review:  This isn’t a typical Christmas feel-good movie but it brings the emotions. We get a glimpse of the struggles people faced in depression era America. It strips away today’s commercialism and shows the true meaning of Christmas.

Scoring: 3

 

A Christmas For The Books (2018)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Romance

StarringChelsea Kane and Drew Seeley

SynopsisA romance expert conceals her recent breakup and asks a morning show producer to pretend they are a couple before she is exposed as a fraud. When he agrees, she never expects to find herself falling for him. 

Review:  While there’s plenty of expected moments there are also some surprises. It’s a little sappy and everyone behaves a little better than real life. However, there’s still lots of Christmas magic and love. Charming. 

Scoring: 3

 

Christmas Getaway (2017)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Bridget Regan, Travis Van Winkle, and Teryl Rothery
Synopsis: A travel writer takes a Christmas vacation, but finds herself double-booked with a widower, his mother, and his daughter at the holiday site.
Review: I love that each character is kind and sweet. The main characters are hurt and flawed but with the help of his mother, daughter, and Christmas traditions they begin to heal and open their hearts.
Scoring: 5

The Christmas Gift (1986)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: John Denver and Jane Kaczmarek

Synopsis: A man and his daughter visit a town of Santa Claus believers.

Review: If you can get past the film being from 1986, and looking like it, you may enjoy it.  The acting is good, the scenery is beautiful, and it has lots of Christmas traditions.  I personally found it very slow.  By halfway through I was still sort of bored and waiting for it to be over.  It had everything needed for a great movie but was just missing some magic.  It’s nice seeing the town come together.  It’s the type of small town I’d love to live in.

Scoring: 2

The Christmas Gift (2015)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Michelle Trachtenberg and Rick Fox

Synopsis: A reporter searches for a stranger who unknowingly changed her life with an anonymous Christmas gift.

Review:  With its more serious subject matter, the story still has enough light moments to balance them and has a feel-good plot. It’s a great story about how the

smallest acts of kindness can have a ripple effect. The underlying meaning and story are worth it. The characters' lives intertwine in interesting ways. It’s got some slow moments but the overall emotion of it left me feeling good about people.

Scoring: 3

 

Christmas Grace (2013)

Rated: TV-Y7

Genres: Drama, Family, Religion

Starring: Ryan-Iver Klann

Synopsis: Rival toy store owners compete over several Christmas seasons, and God's grace goes to work in their lives.

Review: I truly liked this movie.  The main messages are having faith in God that things will work out, doing the right thing, and giving to others.  Even if you don’t care for movies that have a strong religious message you may still enjoy it. The main characters are interesting people and the story moved right along.

Scoring: 3

Christmas Harmony (2018)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Musical

Starring: Kelley Jakle, Adam Mayfield, and Sally Struthers

Synopsis: Kelley Jakle stars as young woman who returns to her small hometown to rediscover music, family bonds, and the magic of the Christmas season.

Review:  It’s a little dumb at points but that doesn’t matter. I found myself getting frustrated with the main characters for what they did which means I cared.  The story has too many pauses but the love stories make it worth the watch. 

Scoring: 3

 

The Christmas Heart (2012)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Religion
Starring: Teri Polo, Paul Essiembre, and Tess Harper
Synopsis: When a teenage boy desperately needs a heart transplant on Christmas Eve, his family and neighbors' forty-year tradition of lining their quaint street with Christmas luminaries is put on hold. When his parents, Ann and Mike, pray for a donor on a stormy night, the neighbors suddenly realize their luminaries could have a deeper purpose.
Review: Remarkably moving movie. I admit I got chills and needed a tissue. The town and their support are what we should all strive for. I felt so invested in the outcome. I love it. But be prepared, this is a very heavy subject matter and they take it seriously and do it justice.
Scoring: 4
Christmas Homecoming (2017)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Julie Benz and Michael Shanks
Synopsis: A widow of a war hero takes in an injured soldier who has just returned from Afghanistan. Together they help each other heal and find true love.
Review: A very sweet love story. Christmas provides the backdrop as we watch Amanda and Jim move beyond their past pain and fall in love. It’s another reminder of the sacrifices made by service members and their families.
Scoring: 3
The Christmas Hope (2009)
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Madeline Stowe, James Remar, and Ian Ziering
Synopsis: When lives intertwine during Christmas, hope is the only unifying gift. After suffering a personal tragedy, a social worker throws herself into finding homes for children in need.
Review: A moving and lovely story. It truly examines what makes a family. Seeing the couple heal as the girl heals kept me emotionally invested in them. It also shines a light on all the children in our foster system and how much they can add to a family. I needed the tissues for this one.
Scoring: 3

Christmas Hotel (2019)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Tatyana Ali, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Sheryl Lee Ralph

Synopsis: A big city hotelier finds her promotion is based on returning to her hometown and restructuring the Mt. Holly Inn, where she got her start, which the townspeople are less than thrilled about.

Review: I adored that the hotel became Christmas themed to match the town.  Activities like selling local products, gingerbread baking class, and adding memories to the trees, made the movie feel so festive.  It’s a full movie of Christmas traditions and spirit.  Enjoyable time.

Scoring: 3