A Christmas Tail (2014)

Rated: NR

Genres: Family, Romance

Starring: Antonio Cupo and Chandra West

Synopsis: Two single parents fall in love while fighting over a puppy to give to their children for Christmas.

Review: While this movie takes place at Christmas and the occasional decoration is in view, it’s not really about Christmas.  This is primarily a movie about two single adults developing a relationship.  It’s a sweet story that’s well acted.  The dog is really funny and keeps the movie light and keeps the pace going.

Scoring: 3

The Christmas Temp (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Starring: Sara Canning and Robin Dunne

Synopsis: An out of work artist discovers a special Christmas temp agency that matches her with a handful of festive jobs, but falls into a creative rut while juggling holiday preparations and feelings for the agency’s HR manager.

Review: This is a fun movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  The relationships are playful and loving.  I enjoyed how they poked at little fun at how pretentious some in the art world can be.  Of course, it’s a happy ending, but there was lots of fun getting there.  It’s more focused on art than Christmas but there’s enough talk of it and the feeling of it to get the point across.

Scoring: 3

The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t (1966)

Rated: G

Genres: Family, Fantasy

Starring: Paul Tripp

Synopsis: Santa has to get a job as Santa to earn money to pay his overdue rent bill

Review:  My biggest problem with this movie is it stripping the magic away. How can someone else own the North Pole and charge rent?  How can the all-knowing Santa get stuck owing rent and facing possible eviction?  I don’t want to see Santa as human. He’s immortal and magic. I don’t want to see the North Pole as real estate but rather a magical wonderland. The music is okay but I’d pass on this one. 

Scoring: 1

 

Christmas Time (2017)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Maclain Nelson, Jake Van Wagoner, and Clare Niederpruem

Synopsis: Two estranged brothers try to reconnect at Christmas but there's something that one of them can't get past...the other thinks he's a time traveler.

Review: I wouldn’t have children watch this even though it’s PG.  It’s a little odd.  Maybe very odd.  By the end I couldn’t figure out if he really was a time traveler.  It’s funny, it’s moving, and I loved the brothers reminiscing.  It ends with to be continued so I guess we will see. 

Scoring: 3

A Christmas To Remember (2019)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Robin Givens

Synopsis: Two families that hated each other for years are forced to spend Christmas together.

Review: I did not enjoy this movie.  I think a main problem is there are so many characters and they don’t take the time to really let you get to know or care about any of them, even the parents who are the center of the film.  It’s just a bunch of people working out a lifetime of family issues.

Scoring: 1

A Christmas to Remember (2016)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Mira Sorvino, Cameron Mathison, and Steve Bacic
Synopsis: A TV personality drives to a small town mountain retreat. On her way, a blizzard veers her off the road and she crashes. When she awakens, she has complete amnesia, and a friendly passerby takes her in. Jennifer is a stressed out TV chef, the Martha Stewart type, who needs to relax and reset her priorities. John is the widower who is just going through the motions of life since losing his wife.
Review:  Seeing Jennifer discover her true self and what truly matters to her as John learns to love again is lovely. It sounds like very heavy subject matters but the movie is light and family-friendly.
Scoring: 4

A Christmas Too Many (2007)

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Mickey Rooney, Andrew Keegan, Sam McMurray, Marla Maples, and Gary Coleman

Synopsis: A Hollywood legend invites her not-so-normal family home for the holidays.

Review: This movie is just so, I don’t know, I guess I’d say ridiculous.  Each character is almost like a caricature of a stereotype.  I didn’t find it funny at all.  The dad not wanting to give up his annual hunting for dinner, even though they’re in Malibu, so he’s outside hunting guinea pigs that got loose.  I could go on, but why bother.  Skip this one.

Scoring: 1

Christmas Town (2008)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Nicole de Boer, Patrick Muldoon, and Garry Chalk
Synopsis: A week before Christmas, Liz McCann (and her young son Mason) visit her estranged father, who strangely lives in a town decked out for the holidays and full of Christmas spirit. Strange events immediately occur when they arrive, challenging everything Liz had once believed in.
Review:  The spirit of Christmas is throughout this movie. The non-believer mother with the son, and father, pushing her to open her mind and believe. I love all the little touches and occurrences that hint at Santa magic. 
Scoring: 4

Christmas Town (2019)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Tim Rozon, Beth Broderick

Synopsis: Lauren Gabriel leaves everything behind in Boston to embark on a new chapter in her life and career. But an unforeseen detour to the charming town of Grandon Falls has her discover unexpected new chapters - of the heart and of family - helping her to embrace, once again, the magic of Christmas.

Review: Once again a Bure movie is filled with magic. From the name of it you know it’s filled with Christmas. The addition of the angel tree topper, Dylan, and all her father’s letters, make it so very moving and special. Don’t miss it. 

Scoring: 5

Christmas Trade (2015)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: William Baldwin, Denise Richards, and Tom Arnold
Synopsis: A career-oriented single father and his 11-year-old son are forced to see their worlds through each other's eyes when some Christmas magic switches their bodies. The pair find themselves growing closer as they scramble to figure out the secret of the magic that caused their predicament in time for Christmas.
Review:  Another Freaky Friday rip-off. The only difference is it takes place at Christmas. It’s not bad but it’s one I’d only watch once. I did enjoy the evolution of the relationship between the father and son. The highlight for me was the work party planned by the son.
Scoring: 2
The Christmas Train (2017)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Danny Glover, and Joan Cusack
Synopsis: A writer takes a four day trip on a train hoping to get ideas for a book he's writing in memory of his father. His true love happens to be on the train writing a script. They bond with different people along the way. It's obvious the two are still in love.
Review:  The movie was a little better the second time I saw it. It’s feels super slow. While it has an interesting group of characters, it just seems to have too many moments where you’re waiting for something to happen. 
Scoring: 2

Christmas Train Spectacular (2010)

Rated: NR

Genre: Documentary

Synopsis: Five amazing Christmas train displays, all with sparkling lights, glistening snow, trains zipping around Christmas villages - and marvelous stories that will tug at your heart, train buff or not.

Review: This is definitely a great documentary for train enthusiast.  I appreciated the stories and the connection between trains and Christmas.  It did get boring for me after a while, especially when naming trains or using technical terms, but if you like trains you’ll like it.

Scoring: 2

A Christmas Tree Miracle (2013)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Religion
Starring: Kevin Sizemore and Anne Whelan
Synopsis: A warm-hearted Christmas tale to remind us that in the holiday season, the best gifts in life are the simple ones, and that miracles do happen, if you believe.
Review:  This movie truly embodies the meaning of faith and the Christmas spirit. The beginning is okay but as it goes on it gets better. The kindness of a stranger and learning the true value of things and people are clearly, but gently, expressed.
Scoring: 3
 
Christmas Truce (2015)
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama
Starring: Craig Olejnik and Ali Liebert
Synopsis: An American soldier and a Belgian woman fall in love during a brief holiday truce amid the Battle of the Bulge. When fighting resumes, they promise to reunite on the first Christmas after the war ends if they're both alive.
Review:  I like the backdrop of the difficulties of war and how Christmas brought out people’s humanity. The love story had me rooting for them. Knowing it’s based on a true story, albeit with some changes, makes it so much more special. 
Scoring: 3
 

Christmas Twister AKA F6 Twister (2012)

Rated: PG

Genres: Adventure, Drama

Starring: Casper Van Dien, Victoria Pratt, and Richard Burgi

Synopsis: On Christmas Day the Texas area to the South West of Forth Worth is struck by a massive storm system sprouting several severe tornadoes.

Review:  Truly cheesy. If you want an enjoyable Christmas movie this isn’t for you. If you want a so-so tornado movie you’ll like it. 

Scoring: 1

Christmas Under The Stars (2019)

Rated: G

Genres: Romance

Starring: Autumn Reeser and Jesse Metcalf

Synopsis: Nick takes a gig at a tree lot, where he meets Julie and her son, Matt.

Review: This movie really took me by surprise.  I wasn’t expecting any chemistry between Reeser and Metcalf but they worked.  The little boy was as wonderful as the children always are.  The part that really got me was the character of Clem.  He was so kind and loving, he really made the movie complete and magical.  I didn’t need tissues but I came close.  This movie is so moving and filled with Christmas spirit.  All the trees didn’t hurt either.  Don’t miss this one.

Scoring: 4

Christmas Under Wraps (2014)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, David O’Donnell, Robert Pine, and Brian Doyle-Murray
Synopsis: When a doctor doesn't get the position she wanted, she ends up moving to a remote Alaskan town. She unexpectedly ends up finding love, happiness and discovers that the small town is hiding a big holiday secret.
Review:  Like all Candace Cameron Bure Hallmark movies, this one is wonderful. (Spoiler alert) I love that they never tell if it’s the real North Pole and Santa. Seeing her go back and forth between what she’s always expected and what she never knew she wanted keeps you guessing. All the characters are so likable. 
Scoring: 5

Christmas Unleashed (2019)

Rated: G

Genre: Romance

Starring: Vanessa Lachey and Christopher Russell

Synopsis: A missing dog leads exes Becca and Max on a search that brings back fond memories of Christmas pasts that they spent together.

Review: I found the flashback format refreshing and not at all confusing.  It helps the story slowly unfold.  I just wish they had let us know the characters a little more individually before sharing their story as a couple.  They glossed over some details that could’ve brought more heart to it but it was enjoyable.

Scoring: 3

A Christmas Visitor (2002)
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Religion
Starring: William Devane, Meredith Baxter, Reagan Pasternak, Dean McDermott, and Aaron Ashmore
Synopsis: Grieving over a son’s death in the Gulf War, the family meets a stranger who rekindles the holiday spirit. 
Review:  While there is sadness around the loss of a child and the possible illness of another, this movie conveys hope and love. The addition of their magical visitor had me reaching for the tissues. It’s very moving and uplifting. 
Scoring: 4