Each movie listed includes: 

(1) Title (2) Rating (3) Genres (4) Starring (5) Synopsis (6) My Personal Review (7) Scoring 1-5

 

 

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A Dad for Christmas

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Louise Fletcher and Kristopher Turner

Synopsis:  19-year-old father goes to the hospital to see his new son where he discovers his young girlfriend has already made arrangements for a couple to the adopt their baby boy. Matt has no family and falls in love with him.  With the adoption imminent and no means to stop it - Matt takes Luke out of the hospital to his grandmother's house. The three form an off-kilter family unit. But can Matt and Luke win against the odds and stay together as a family...?

Review:  A heavy drama, the love of Matt for his son and his determination to care for him is moving. It’s a beautiful story between father and son. 

Scoring: 3

 

Dear Santa 
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Amy Acker and David Haydn-Jones
Synopsis: A young woman who comes from a life of privilege falls for the owner of a soup kitchen after discovering a Dear Santa letter written by his seven-year-old daughter.
Review:  I love this movie. Having a leading man who serves the needy and seeing a socialite find joy so immediately in doing the same make you remember there are good people out there. Watching how they get to their happy ending, with a push from Christmas magic, friends, and an adorable girl, is a special time. 
Scoring: 4
Dear Secret Santa 
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Tatyana Ali, Bill Cobbs, Jordan Sparks, Della Reese, and Ernie Hudson
Synopsis: Beverly Hills banker/workaholic Jennifer comes home to her small Northern California town just before Christmas when her dad, Ted, takes a bad fall while putting up decorations. While home, Jenny begins getting romantic Christmas cards from an unknown admirer, who turns out to be her old neighbor and the unrealized love of her life, Jack. There's just one problem- Jack died in a car accident three years ago.
Review:  This is a similar premise to The Lake House. It started slowly but I got into the story as it progressed. I like the characters and the way they address issues, like caring for an older parent, seriously but lightly.  Overall, I found it to be a darling story.
Scoring: 3
Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Doris Roberts, Jewel Staite, Eric Johnson, and Lauren Holly
Synopsis: Emily Merkle, aka Mrs. Miracle  is back to ensure that this Christmas is the most magical and meaningful of all. When Mrs. Miracle appears as a seasonal employee in the toy department at the financially troubled Finley's Department Store, neither the store's owners, nor the customers, have any idea of the events that are about to unfold. Just when it seemed Christmas might not come at all this year, Finley's favorite employee proves they don't call her Mrs. Miracle for nothing!
Review:  This movie is just as delightful as the first Mrs. Miracle. It is complete with a Scrooge-like father, an idealistic son, and an aunt caring for her nephew while her brother serves in the army for a heartstring tug. We watch as the magic does it's work and helps sort out all the characters' problems.  Doris Roberts is magical, as always, as Mrs. Miracle.
Scoring: 4

Debbie Macomber’s Dashing Through The Snow

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Meghan Ory and Andrew Walker 

Synopsis: Stranded at an airport at Christmastime, Ashley Harrison accepts a ride from Dash Sutherland, who has just rented the last car in town. As the pair heads north, their adventures include car trouble, adopting a puppy and being secretly tailed by federal agents, who believe Ashley is up to no good. With a hint of romance gradually filling the air will these two fall in love or will their journey bring about an unexpected road bump to romance?

Review:  Such a sweet story with the juxtaposition of a naive and open to life Ashley and savvy and closed off Dash. Opposites attract and, in this case, slowly bring out the best in each other.

Scoring: 3

 

Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Erin Karpluk, James Van Der Beek, and Doris Roberts
Synopsis: Overwhelmed widower Seth Webster is searching for a housekeeper to help him with his unruly six-year-old twin sons. "Mrs. Miracle" mysteriously appears and quickly becomes an irreplaceable nanny, chef, friend... and matchmaker.
Review:  I love how Mrs. Miracle takes these two boys and doesn’t see trouble but sees amazing children and she helps Seth as a parent.   The addition of Reba into their lives completes the picture.
Scoring: 4
Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas  
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Tony Cavanagh, Faith Ford, and Gabrielle Murray
Synopsis: Emily, a widow and teacher in Washington state, decides to do a home swap with writer Charles from Boston. Emily is getting away because her daughter, in college in Boston, isn’t coming home for Christmas and she wants to surprise her and Charles hopes a new space will help his writer’s block.   Emily’s best friend flies to Washington to be with her and finds Charles. Emily finds out her daughter went away for Christmas and she meets Charles’ brother Ray. 
Review:  The story of the widowed teacher and the single man is a romantic story of learning to be open and love again.  The story of the writer and the best friend is a comedic story of a loner writer who is rigid in his habits and the outgoing party planner who challenges him.  This back and forth of the comedy and romance kept me interested.  I love watching people be brave and go outside their comfort zones, especially at Christmastime.
Scoring: 4
A December Bride
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Starring: Daniel Lissing, Jessica Lowndes, and April Telek
Synopsis: Layla accompanies Seth to her cousin’s wedding, and everyone is surprised when she announces they’re engaged. They’re forced to keep up the pretense, and as they spend more time together, they find themselves feeling something real. 
Review:  I enjoyed Layla’s developing relationship with Seth. My problem was I couldn’t get past her family. Her fiancé leaves her for her cousin that’s more like a sister. The family pressures her to go to the cousin’s wedding and to forgive. I just kept wanting to yell at them that what her cousin did to her was horrible. Why are they acting like it’s nothing?  It just made the movie unpleasant for me. 
Scoring: 2
Deck The Halls (2005)
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Gabrielle Carteris, Steve Bacic, and Steven Culp
Synopsis: Holly returns to her hometown with her eight-year-old son, Ben, to work for her father’s toy business. Soon after, Ben watches a man move in next door with a sleigh, red suit, and lots of Christmas goodies. Ben begins to believe that their new neighbor is Santa Claus and devises a plan to set his mom up with Santa Claus. 
Review:  A heartwarming, albeit slow, movie. We get to see the magic of Christmas through a child’s eye. 
Scoring: 2
 
Deck The Halls (2006)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Danny Devito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Chenoweth, and Kristin Davis
Synopsis: This holiday comedy is centered around two neighbors in a small New England town who go to war when one of them decides to decorate his house with a so many Christmas lights that they are visible from space. The neighborhood is turned upside down as the families try to discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Review:  This movie is filled with silliness and slapstick comedy. The characters are mostly relatable but their antics are often fit for a National Lampoon Movie. 
Scoring: 3

Deck The Halls (2011)

Rated: PG

Genres: Adventure, Drama

Starring: Eric Johnson, Larry Miller, Kathy Najimy, and Scottie Thompson

Synopsis: Detective Regan Reilly and cleaning-woman-turned-private-eye Alvirah Meehan, investigate the kidnapping of Regan's father and a young female driver just before the holidays. The race is on to rescue the pair and get them home in time for Christmas.

Review:  Is it cheesy?  Yes. Did I like it?  Yes. Najimy is her usual funny and wonderful self. There’s lots of action and it kept my interest. 

Scoring: 3

Defending Santa
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Dean Cain and Jodie Sweetin
Synopsis: While responding to the report of a broken-down vehicle on Christmas Eve, Scott Hanson, a ski resort town sheriff, stumbles upon a sleeping Santa in the snowy woods. With his sleigh ride in doubt after spending nearly a year in a coma, Santa is put on trial to defend his identity. As the small town learns to "believe," Sheriff Hanson, a dad and widower, also begins to fall for Santa's court-appointed defense attorney, Sarah.
Review:  I consider this to be a watered-down version of Miracle on 34th Street.   The premise is the same but is not as moving. It’s still good to watch. 
Scoring: 3
 
A Dennis The Menace Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Robert Wagner, Louise Fletcher, and George Newbern
Synopsis: This is a Dennis The Menace version of A Christmas Carol where Mr. Wilson plays his own version of Scrooge. While Dennis has problems of his own with the neighborhood bully, he does his best to try and give Mr. Wilson the Christmas Spirit. Dennis causes his usual damage and Mr. Wilson ends up breaking Dennis' spirit. An Angel of Christmas Past, Present, and Future steps in to help save Christmas for the Mitchells, the Wilsons, and everyone else.
Review:  If you like Dennis The Menace you’ll like this movie. To me the personalities of the characters are all extreme. I think it’s a movie more for children or to watch as a family. 
Scoring: 2

Desperately Seeking Santa

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Starring: Laura Vandervoort and Nick Zano 

Synopsis: Jennifer, a young, ambitious executive running promotions at a failing Boston mall comes up with a genius promotional gimmick to save her workplace and position herself for advancement: hold a "Hunky Santa" contest to replace the old Mall Santa. David, a local man trying to save his family's pizzeria, ultimately wins the contest and sparks fly between him and Jennifer. However, complications ensue when it comes to light that the company Jennifer works for is the same one trying to run David's family out of business.

Review:  This is a fun movie with a nice love story. It’s silly but serious. The shoppers reactions to the hunky Santa are so funny.  David trying to save his family's restaurant while Jennifer tries to save the mall add some drama to the story.  It’s a fun easy view sure to make you smile.

Scoring: 3

 

Die Hard

Rated: R

Genres: Adventure, Drama

Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, and Bonnie Bedelia 

Synopsis: John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Review:  While the debate over whether or not this is a Christmas movie will never end, I’ll give you my opinion of it. Christmas is barely mentioned and barely plays a role in it. That being said, if you like action movies, and can get past it being made in 1988, you’ll really like it. If you’re looking for a Christmas movie, this probably isn’t what you want. 

Scoring: 3

 

A Different Kind Of Christmas

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Shelley Long and Barry Bostwick

Synopsis: When you're the city attorney you don't need the kinds of problems that her father was giving her. After her mother died, her father began doing his "Santa Schtick," as she called it, much more intensely... which meant that he turned his home into a kind of year-round Santa Claus castle where children of all ages could come to see the wonderful presents and no child ever left without a gift. But what's wrong with this kind of philanthropic generosity was that it totally embarrassed her when, as city attorney, it fell to her to make him stop his 'commercial' enterprise in an area zoned for private homes. But there's more to it than that and the outcome is not quite what you'd expect.

Review: I didn’t care for the negatives in the father-daughter relationship but I love the feeling of keeping the Christmas spirit year round and of giving to others.

Scoring: 3

 

A Diva’s Christmas Carol 
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Vanessa Williams, Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas, John Taylor, and Kathy Griffin
Synopsis: Ebony Scrooge is one of the world's most successful pop singers. Yet her cold hearted soul and nasty attitude makes her lack a lot of holiday cheer and makes her band and manager, anything but happy. While in New York, Ebony is visited by her former singing partner, Marli Jacob, who claims that she will be visited by three spirits: Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Future who will hopefully turn Ebony's life around.
Review:  A new spin on The Christmas Carol. It’s fresh and entertaining. We still see the Scrooge learn the errors of her ways and change but this time it’s based around the entertainment industry. Enjoyable. 
Scoring: 3
A Dog Named Christmas 
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Bruce Greenwood
Synopsis: A developmentally challenged young man with a penchant for caring for animals in need sets out to convince his family, and their whole rural community, to participate in a local shelter's inaugural "Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program."
Review:  A charming story of determination and love. Todd’s determination, passion, and innocence make this movie worth watching. 
Scoring: 3

The Dog Who Saved Christmas 

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Mario Lopez, Dean Cain, Gary Valentine, Elisa Donovan, Mindy Sterling, and Adrienne Barbeau

Synopsis: The Bannister family's new addition, Zeus, the yellow Labrador, appears to be less than the dependable guard dog the family needs. However, when two burglars set out to break into the Bannister's home while they're away for Christmas, Zeus seizes the chance to be a hero, proving every dog - even this one - has his day.

Review:  If you liked Home Alone and/or you like dogs, you may enjoy this movie because that’s what it is. A watered down Home Alone with a dog instead of a child. I found it to be overly silly but children may enjoy it. 

Scoring: 1

 

The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Mario Lopez, Dean Cain, Paris Hilton, Gary Valentine, Elisa Donovan, Casper Van Dien, David O’Donnell, Mindy Sterling, and Adrienne Barbeau

Synopsis: The Bannister family - including former K-9 police hero Zeus - is back, and this time they're spending their holidays at a beautiful Rocky Mountain resort. But toss in an unexpected visit from cocky Uncle Randy and his foxy poodle Bella and a familiar pair of bumbling jewel thieves, and this holiday may be headed downhill fast! Can Zeus solve the crime, save Bella and hit the slopes, all in time for Christmas Day?

Review:  A sequel to The Dog Who Saved Christmas, this is only a smidge better than the first. Unless you really like dogs, you probably won’t like it. Like the first movie, children may enjoy it more. 

Scoring: 1

 

The Dog Who Saved The Holidays

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Joey Lawrence, Mario Lopez, Dean Cain, Gary Valentine, Elisa Donovan, Shelley Long, and Michael Gross

Synopsis: The Bannisters are back with a new family addition - a mischievous pup named Eve. Watch as everyone's favorite dog, Zeus, learns to love his new sister and take down some bumbling thieves.

Review:  Part three of the series is as bad as the first two. I’m not sure why they’re making sequels. I hate repeating myself but this movie may only appeal to children and dog lovers, if them. 

Scoring: 1

 

A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family
Starring: Jonathan Bennett, Lexi Giovagnoli, Dina Meyer, and Patrick Muldoon
Synopsis: When spoiled, 21-year-old college student Luce Lockhart is forced to take a job over the holidays walking a rich developer's dog, she is thrilled to discover they are going to build a salon and spa over the quaint local dog park nearby. But when Luce meets Dean, an irritating yet handsome dogwalker actively trying to stop them, Luce is forced to question what the park means to her newfound friends, and whether she can put aside her selfish ways to help save the park before Christmas.
Review:  While the pace was a little slow for me, I found the fight for the dog park engaging. If you like dogs they’re an adorable bonus. 
Scoring: 3
Dolly Parton’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Dolly Parton, Gerald McRaney, Rick Schroeder, and Jennifer Nettles
Synopsis: An unexpected blizzard threatens the Parton family, while at the same time Dolly's father (and his kids) make sacrifices to raise enough money to finally buy his wife the wedding ring he could never afford to give her. Meanwhile, an important person in little Dolly's life begins to see that her amazing voice and musical gift might just be made for something bigger than rural Tennessee.
Review:  Such a moving movie. Knowing it’s based on a true story makes it that much more extraordinary.  A family surviving with so little but garnering so much strength from their love as a family is inspiring.  Their trials and triumphs are touching.
Scoring: 4

Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder, Gerald McRaney, and Dolly Parton

Synopsis: Based on the true story of Dolly Parton's remarkable upbringing, this movie special takes us inside the tight-knit Parton family as they struggle to overcome devastating tragedy and discover the healing power of love, faith and a raggedy patchwork coat that helped make Dolly who she is today.

Review:  Such a precious story about family, acceptance, and love. Because it's a true story I see a little Dolly Parton. It’s also fascinating to see the way of life people experienced at that time and I love the message that faith will see you through.

Scoring: 4

 

Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas 
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, and Molly Shannon
Synopsis: In this live-action adaptation of the beloved children's tale by Dr. Seuss, the reclusive green Grinch decides to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. Reluctantly joined by his hapless dog, Max, the Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and sneaks into town to swipe everything holiday-related from the Whos. However, the bitter grump finds a hitch in his plans when he encounters the endearing Cindy Lou Who.
Review:  Like most of us, I grew up watching the Grinch special each year. The live-action version doesn’t disappoint. It expands on the story of the Grinch and makes him more likable and relatable. All the Seuss touches in costumes, makeup, and sets are fun to see. The young Grinch made me smile.
Scoring: 5
A Dream of Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Nikki Deloach, Andrew Walker, and Cindy Williams
Synopsis: An ambitious married woman gets more than she bargained for when her wish to be single again is granted. She awakens to discover she’s got everything she’s ever wanted, except her husband. She resolves to find him a second time. 
Review:  Another be careful what you wish for movie where the main character gets to see what life would be like had she made a different choice.  Reminds us to focus on what we have and not what we don’t. It also reminds us how our decisions impact others. This is a sweet movie and I enjoyed it. 
Scoring: 4