Christmas Joy (2018)

Rated:  G

Genres: Family, Romance

Starring: Danielle Panabaker and Matt Long 

Synopsis: Based on the book of the same name written by Nancy Naigle, Joy is a corporate market researcher, gunning for a promotion within her firm. Just as her company's CEO is taking notice, Joy finds out her Aunt Ruby has broken her ankle and will be undergoing surgery. Despite the less than opportune timing, Joy makes her way back home to Crystal Falls, NC to be with her Aunt. Stars seem to be aligned as Joy sees her former crush, Ben Andrews, while at the hospital. At first, Joy is focused solely on helping her Aunt heal; even taking over her position as chair of the local Cookie Crawl competition. Eventually, she begins to let Ben in and remembers there's no place like home for the holidays. The pair work together on the Cookie Crawl to make the event a success.

Review:  Not altogether unexpected but lovely and definitely full of Christmas spirit. It’s a movie about love, of course, friendship, family, and priorities. A fun watch. 

Scoring: 3

 

The Christmas Kid aka The Return of the Yuletide Kid (2020)

Rated: NR

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Craig Roberts

Synopsis: A struggling former child actor arrives home in Wales for Christmas.  He soon has to decide what’s more important, bluffing his way through putting on a show for the gullible locals or reconnecting with his loved ones.

Review: Boring.  To make it worse, they constantly play this short burst of rock music that’s screeching.  I actually had a headache by the time I was finished.  There’s too many characters and no real backstory given, even to the lead character.  Skip this.

Scoring: 1

A Christmas Kiss (2011)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Starring: Elisabeth Röhm, Brendan Fehr, and Laura Breckinridge 
Synopsis: After a spontaneous kiss, a struggling designer ends up falling in love with her demanding boss's boyfriend as she decorates his home for a Christmas party.
Review:  Watching the good guys win is always fun, especially when the bad guy is so bad. I enjoyed watching Wendy and Adam’s adventures as they realize their feelings for each other. Wendy’s friends add another layer to the story. The Christmas touches are delightful. 
Scoring: 4
A Christmas Kiss II (2014)
Rated: NR
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Starring: Elisabeth Harnois, Adam Mayfield, Jonathan Bennett, and Elisabeth Röhm
Synopsis: Jenna didn't expect to be swept off her feet, but when a handsome stranger encounters her in the elevator and notices the mistletoe hanging above them, sparks fly as he leans in for a kiss. There's just one problem: this man is Cooper Montgomery, a playboy who happens to be part owner of the company for which Jenna works.
Review:  This movie is a little corny but it has some charming unexpected moments with the expected happy ending. I like that it has strong women, good friends, and people who try to do the right thing but are fallible like us. 
Scoring: 3
Christmas Land (2015)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Nikki Deloach, Luke Macfarlane, Maureen McCormick, Cynthia Gibb, and Richard Karn 
Synopsis: After inheriting a Christmas tree farm, a woman's plans to sell it change when she falls in love with the townspeople and meets a charming lawyer named Tucker.
Review:  I wish I was Jules and lived at Christmas Land. It’s a magical place. I love watching this movie and the dynamics between the characters. Of course there’s a good guy and a bad guy and a community of lovely people. 
Scoring: 4
 
Christmas List (2016)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Alicia Witt and Gabriel Hogan
Synopsis: Isobel Gray plans a storybook Christmas with her boyfriend, including a snow-covered cottage in the Northwest, and a carefully composed bucket list of classic holiday traditions. But when the boyfriend goes AWOL, the list proves challenging and a tempting new romance turns her life upside down. Will Isobel have a White Christmas ending under the mistletoe?
Review:  It’s fun watching Isobel participate in all the Christmas traditions she missed out on as a child. It’s like seeing the magic as a child sees it and I loved experiencing it with her. 
Scoring: 4
 
The Christmas List (1997)
Rated: NR
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Mimi Rogers, Rob Stewart, and Marla Maples
Synopsis: Perfume saleslady Melody Parris feels like her life is in neutral. Her stick-in-the mud boyfriend won't commit and she gets passed over for a promotion at the store where she works. She decides to make a Christmas list. After it's deposited in Santa's mailbox at the store, she starts getting everything she wanted, but it doesn't always turn out as she expected.
Review:  One of my absolute favorites. The premise is a little cheesy but the characters and Melody’s evolution as her wishes came true are so amazing. It makes me happy. You’ll enjoy disliking Marla Maples. Fun to watch. 
Scoring: 5
 

Christmas Lodge (2011)

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Erin Karpluk and Michael Shanks

Synopsis: Mary Tobin has wonderful memories of family gatherings at the Christmas Lodge. When she arrives for a weekend vacation, she quickly realizes that the lodge that she loves has fallen into serious disrepair. With a lack of funds and a looming deadline, she not only restores the Christmas lodge's charm but finds love along the way.

Review: There are a few slow moments but hang in there. Mary’s passion for the lodge and the people in her life is truly heartwarming. It’s an original plot that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas. 

Scoring: 3

 

Christmas Lost And Found (2018)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Dianne Ladd, Tiya Sircar, And Terence Kelly

Synopsis: An event planner mistakenly throws out her grandmother's Christmas ornaments, and the person who finds the ornaments leads her on a scavenger hunt to retrieve them, helping her to find the magic of Christmas again along the way.

Review:  This movie was delightful. The plot was a new one and it was done so well. Ladd was wonderful and the scavenger hunt incorporated so many Christmas traditions. It’s one I look forward to watching again. 

Scoring: 4

 

Christmas Love Letter (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance

Starring: Chante Bowser and Adam Cole

Synopsis: When relationship advice columnist Amalie Hess receives an unsigned love letter in a Christmas card, she returns to her hometown to solve the mystery of who sent it and maybe find true love.

Review: This was such a special movie.  It had so many little touches that added up to make it engaging.  The one guy’s laugh, the little girl, the dog, the senior center, hot cocoa, and many more.  I was completely absorbed the entire time and even laughed out loud more than once.

Scoring: 4

A Christmas Love Story (2019)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Kristin Chenoweth and Scott Wolf

Synopsis: A youth choir director needs to write a big song for the Christmas Eve show but "finds herself distracted" when a boy with a golden voice joins her choir, which will come as news to his widowed father. 

Review: The beginning was slow and lackluster. As it went on it became more and more interesting. It even through in a few plot curveballs. It was quite emotional at the end. I can’t wait to watch it again now that I know the ending. 

Scoring: 3

Christmas Made To Order (2018)

Rated: G

Genres: Family, Romance

Starring: Alexa PenaVega and Jonathan Bennett

Synopsis: An architect hires a professional coordinator to help him host his family for Christmas. 

Review:  There are lots of Christmas and family traditions to enjoy, fun characters, and beautiful scenery. It’s a little too sweet and everything resolves in an unrealistically simple manner but it’s a relaxing watch. 

Scoring: 3

 

Christmas Magic (2011)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Religion, Romance
Starring: Lindy Booth and Paul McGillion
Synopsis: Carrie Blackford lives for her successful career as an event planner in New York City, but her life changes in an instant after a nasty car accident in a snowstorm. Carrie regains consciousness in Central Park with an older man.  Henry is Carrie's spirit guide and is there to help her "pass over" to Heaven. But before Carrie can move on, she must fulfill one last task on Earth - a type of Angel Duty. She must help guide a widowed, young restaurant owner, Scott Walker, whose restaurant is failing. Carrie befriends Scott and his 8-year-old daughter, who, of course, knows she’s an angel. Carrie falls for both Scott and his daughter but how will the universe handle this?
Review:  This movie is a little corny, especially the end. I didn’t expect it to end the way it did which was a nice surprise.  As expected the little girl is the center of the story. It's chock full of sweet moments that make it fun to see.
Scoring: 3
Christmas Mail  (2010)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Ashley Scott, A.J. Buckley, Vanessa Evigan, and Lochlyn Munro
Synopsis: Matt's, a postman, boss grows suspicious of new hire Kristi, a "Santa Writer", whose job is responding to letters addressed to the North Pole. The boss recruits him to spy on her and report back with any unusual findings. But the more time Matt spends observing Kristi, the harder he starts to fall for her until he's hopelessly in love. Later, when Kristi uncovers the clandestine plot, she quits her job and disappears without a trace. Meanwhile, Matt searches high and low for her, to no avail. But when Kristi learns that Matt had no choice if he wanted to keep his job, it's only a matter of time before fate brings them back together.
Review:  Very adorable movie. Lochlyn Munro makes a good villain and the other characters are so enjoyable. A girl who was orphaned and is being raised by her uncle has the potential to make the movie dark and sad but they manage to keep it light.  The magic and joyous nature of Kristi will lift your spirits.  It's corny at times but still fun. 
Scoring: 3

Christmas Matchmakers (2019)

Rated: PG

Genre: Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Vivica A. Fox, Anna Marie Dobbins, and Andrew Rogers

Synopsis: Two overworked personal assistants hatch a plan to get their bosses to date each other.

Review: I loved the unique plot.  Of course, we know what will happen with the assistants but I wasn’t sure what would happen with their bosses.  It was funny and sweet and filled with reminders of prioritizing family, especially at the holidays.  It’s a fun and easy movie to watch.

Scoring: 3

A Christmas Melody (2015)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance
Starring: Mariah Carey, Brennan Elliott, Lacey Chabert, Kathy Najimy, and Fina Strazza
Synopsis: A single mother moves back to her hometown with her young daughter. Having a hard time adjusting, the daughter seeks help from her music teacher to write a song for the Christmas variety show. 
Review:  Lacey Chabert, as Kristin, is delightful as always. The best part of the movie is watching Fina Strazza as Chabert’s daughter Emily. The music is wonderful and the relationships between all the characters makes this a good one to catch. 
Scoring: 4

A Christmas Memory (1997)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Patty Duke, Piper Laurie, and Eric Lloyd

Synopsis: A boy, Buddy, whose parents have split and whose mother is an actress in New York, has been dumped in the south at the small-town home of some older cousins, all of whom are unmarried. Buddy brings life to the house and develops a close friendship with one of the older, simpler ladies, Sook. Buddy and Sook undertake many adventures together, including the baking of 31 fruit-cakes which they give as Christmas presents, even mailing them to President and Mrs. Roosevelt and Jean Harlowe! Just before Christmas, one of the older cousins begins to wonder if it is best for Buddy to be living with them...

Review:  A sweet tale of unconditional love and friendship. It’s very moving and makes you feel all the emotions you want to feel at Christmas. 

Scoring: 3

 

Christmas Miracle (2012)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family, Religion

Starring: Aaron Pearl

Synopsis: Due to a road closure, eight strangers must take refuge in an abandoned church during a storm. They learn how to manage through various dilemmas by working together.

Review:  There are so many life situations faced by the eight that many people will find relatable. It’s an endearing and moving story. 

Scoring: 3

 

A Christmas Miracle (2019)

Rated: G

Genres: Family, Romance

Starring: Barry Bostwick, Brooks Darnell, and Tamera Mowry-Housley

Synopsis: Ever-optimistic single mom Emma Sanderson is looking for a Christmas miracle to write about for the lifestyle magazine at which she has landed a temporary job. While following her lead on the story, Emma discovers unexpected romance with a supportive colleague and takes it upon herself to bring about a Christmas miracle for a lonely street musician.

Review: One of the best parts of this movie is Emma herself.  Her Christmas spirit, optimism, and seeing the positive in situations and people is contagious.  Her relationships with her son and her coworker Marcus are so sweet.  The only negative was that everything, throughout the movie, resolved too easily.  I left the movie feeling a little lighter and happier.  What more could you want?

Scoring: 3

A Christmas Movie Christmas (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance

Starring: Brant Daugherty, Lana McKissack, Ryan Merriman,  and Kimberly Daugherty

Synopsis: Following a Christmas wish, Eve and her sister Lacy get magically transported into a Christmas movie.

Review: This movie is going on my list of all-time favorites.  Obviously, as the Christmas Movie Queen, I would naturally love a movie about living in a Christmas movie.  Still, it was sweet, funny, moving, and still had a happy ending.  It kept the humor by including every movie cliché and making fun of it without making fun of loving the clichés.  I kept wondering how the sisters would end up happy when they left the Christmas movie but the magic continued.  Don’t miss this one.

Scoring: 5

A Christmas Mystery (2014)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Esmé Bianca, Ryan Bittle, and John Ratzenberger

Synopsis: When a reporter discovers that her late mother had been receiving Christmas cards from a secret admirer, she decides to track him down. In the process, she'll discover a family secret more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

Review: This movie was lacking in every department, from script to casting to direction. It’s not horrible to watch but it’s not enjoyable either.  It just falls flat.

Scoring: 1