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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Holiday Affair (1996)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Cynthia Gibb and David James Elliott
Synopsis: A remake of the original where a widow with a young son is wooed by a man while dating another.
Review: If you’ve seen the original this may disappoint you. However, it is still a sweet and romantic film. The story just doesn’t translate as well over time.
Holiday Baggage (2008)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Cheryl Ladd and Barry Bostwick
Synopsis: Pediatrician by day, single mom by night, Sarah invites her estranged husband, Pete, back to their suburban home for the holidays on one condition: he must reconcile with their daughters before she agrees to finalize a trial separation with divorce.
Review: Filled with lots of family drama, the dynamics are interesting but not surprising. People do and say what you expect them to. The family is dealing with their emotional baggage as we watch. It’s okay but not one to watch twice.
A Holiday Boyfriend (2019)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Olivia Dunkley and Matt Merchant
Synopsis: Katie flies home for the holidays after being dumped by her boyfriend. She starts using a dating app and discusses her first "meet"/date with her two friends. After many other jerks, she wishes for a holiday boyfriend.
Review: The beginning of the movie was kind of blah and disconnected for me. I honestly only kept watching because I needed to see the whole thing to write this. I’m so glad I did. The more the movie went on the more I loved it. I think the whole tone of the movie changed in the second half when she started dating her holiday boyfriend. Three quarters of the way through it I thought I’d give it a 2 because I enjoyed it but wouldn’t watch again. By the end I was debating between a 3 and a 4. I will definitely watch again.
Holiday Break Up (2016)
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Manon Mathews, Shawn Roe, and Katie Leclerc
Synopsis: A young couple breaks up and faces the prospect of the holidays turning into one long pity party. Their solution: pretend they're still together.
Review: This is one to miss. It’s not the worst movie I’ve seen but it’s boring and poorly done. The actors are okay. I didn’t enjoy sitting through it.
The Holiday Calendar (2018)
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Kat Graham, Ron Cephas Jones, and Quincy Brown
Synopsis: A struggling but talented photographer inherits an antique holiday advent calendar, the contents of which seem to predict the future. Will this magical calendar lead her to love this holiday season?
Review: A beautiful love story that emphasizes friendship, family, and being true to yourself. The way the items in the calendar correspond to things that happen add magic to the story. It’s sweet and meaningful.
A Holiday Change (2019)
Starring: Vanessa Simmons and AJ Newman
Synopsis: Single mother Crystal and her 17-year-old son’s lives change after he is caught shoplifting.
Review: At first I was iffy about it but I really liked it. Kingston’s experiences and growth are special. Ming is hysterical. It’s not super dramatic. It’s got some serious moments but overall, it’s quite lighthearted
Holiday Date (2019)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Brittany Bristow, Matt Cohen, and Teryl Rothery
Synopsis: Joel poses at Brooke’s former boyfriend when she goes home for the holidays.
Review: This is very similar to the movie A Holiday Engagement. It’s just as much fun except the family is less dramatic and complicated. The relationship between Joel and Brooke are the real centerpiece. You know how it will end but it’s worth watching the hijinks along the way. The inclusion of Hanukkah adds another dimension. It’s sweet and easy to watch.
Holiday for Heroes (2019)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Melissa Clare Egan and Marc Blucas
Synopsis: A woman and a soldier exchange letters for a year before their worlds collide.
Review: This movie is about so much more than the synopsis suggests. It looks at being deployed from the soldier and the family points of view. It shows the importance of community and how together we can do so much more than we can alone. And it’s a reminder to remember those deployed and to share the magic and meaning of Christmas all year. Yet, it manages to do it in a sweet subtle way that doesn’t make the movie feel dark. The romance was just a part of all of this. The acting, scenery, and everything was great. I’m watching again.
Holiday Heart (2000)
Starring: Ving Rhames and Alfre Woodard
Synopsis: A drag queen mourning the loss of his lover takes in a drug addict and her daughter.
Review: I’m not entirely sure why this was listed as a Christmas movie. It does start and end at Christmas but it’s mostly about people. It’s very moving. At first Rhames as a drag queen seemed odd but I got over that. All the performances are spectacular.
Holiday Heartbreak (2020)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family
Starring: Michael Colyar, Maryam Basir, AJ Johnson, Kountry Wayne, and LisaRaye McCoy
Synopsis: A man’s womanizing past comes back to haunt his daughter after a curse destroys her love life.
Review: The plot seemed interesting but it was trying too hard to be slapstick. It’s not about Christmas. In fact, they barely have Christmas dinner. If you find the premise interesting, give it a shot. It wasn’t horrible but I won’t watch again.
Holiday Hearts (2019)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Ashley Williams and Paul Campbell
Synopsis: While planning an annual Christmas party, Peyton is forced together with Ben to care for a friend’s daughter.
Review: A lovely Christmas romance with plenty of both. It’s very positive and upbeat. The little girl who plays Lily is exceptional. It’s one of those movies where you know how it’ll end but it’s enjoyable getting there. Lots of Christmas spirit.
Holiday Heist (2019)
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Chaley Rose
Synopsis: A man released from prison is torn between a life of crime and a fresh start with a woman he meets while scoping out a potential heist
Review: I found the criminal part of it to be a little underplayed considering it was a central plot in the movie. I also couldn’t believe they had jewels on loan from London yet nobody guarding these priceless jewels. Besides all that, I was interested. It’s worth giving a shot.
Holiday In The Wild (2019)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis
Synopsis: Jilted by her husband on the eve of embarking on an African safari, a woman travels to the continent alone where she meets an elephant conservationist.
Review: While this does partly take place during Christmas, it’s not a true Christmas movie. However, it’s a wonderful movie. The elephants are so sweet, the acting is wonderful, and the story unfolds at a perfect pace. The only real minus for me was the lack of back story between Kate and her husband. Why did they break-up and how was it resolved?
Holiday Inn (1942)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romance
Starring: Bing Crosby and Fred Estaire
Synopsis: At an inn which is only open on holidays, a crooner and a dancer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.
Review: A wonderful musical with songs and dances for each holiday. Christmas is, of course, only one of them but worth it to hear Crosby sing “White Christmas”. I also find the cultural differences between films today and back then an interesting history lesson.
Holiday Joy (2016)
Starring: Bailee Madison and French Stewart
Synopsis: A shy high school student's Christmas wish comes true, only it isn't exactly as wonderful as she'd hoped.
Review: Joy is envious of her neighbor’s family and being popular. Following an accident, she wakes up as a member of their family and popular at school. It’s your typical “learn the grass isn’t greener” story but told from a teen point of view. Not syrupy or sweet but filled with funny, tender, and relatable moments. That being said, younger audiences will probably enjoy it more.
Holiday Rush (2019)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Deon Cole
Synopsis: After his sudden firing, a popular radio DJ moves in with his aunt, bringing along his four spoiled children, and a plan to return to the airwaves.
Review: A good family film. The only downside is how quickly the children pivot from beyond spoiled to grateful and loving. The story includes coping with loss at the holidays and the importance of family and friends.
Holiday Spin (2012)
Starring: Ralph Macchio
Synopsis: On Thanksgiving Eve, Blake’s Mother is killed in a car accident and Ruben is there announcing he is his father and is taking him back to Miami. At 17, Blake cannot live on his own and has no choice but to go with the man who abandoned him as a baby. Ruben owns a dance studio where he lives with his wife, Emily. Ruben is counting on his student winning a dance competition to save his failing dance studio.
Review: This movie is just so-so to me. If you’re a big dance fan you may enjoy it more. The relationships are the most interesting part of the movie but Christmas is just a backdrop.
A Holiday To Remember (1995)
Genres: Drama, Family, Religion, Romance
Starring: Connie Selleca, Rue McClanahan, and Randy Travis
Synopsis: Carolyn is leaving the big city with her daughter Jordi for her childhood village, deep in the forest. She meets her former fiancé, whom she left at the altar years ago. She also finds a lost boy who she wants to adopt, but Jordi is not too keen on the idea.
Review: This is a very sweet story. Between the love story of Carolyn and Clay and Carolyn and little William I don’t know which is more moving. It’s gently told and unfolds at the right pace.
Holiday Wishes (2006)
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Amber Benson
Synopsis: Danni, a girl looking for her sister, Britney, a spoiled teen, and Rachel, a foster child, make wishes at a Christmas dance and two of them switch bodies. When Danni discovers what has happened, she must figure out how to switch the girls back.
Review: I enjoyed seeing such diverse personalities and lifestyles examine what they have and what they don’t. The messages of appreciation and what makes a family are relevant and meaningful.