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 Magic Christmas (2014)
Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Jonathan Silverman, and Burt Reynolds
Synopsis: While on vacation, Jack and his family run into an estranged friend of Jack's, who now lives the life of luxury and through a series of competitions, Jack realizes that the love of his family is most rewarding.
Review: This was really enjoyable. While the dog is the narrator, it’s not a talking dog movie. The friction between Jack/Holly and Robert/Eva is interesting as Jack and Holly slowly stop comparing themselves to Robert and Eva and they realize they have a lot in common. It reinforces the message that family and friends are the most important riches you can have.
The Magic Christmas Tree (1964)
Genres: Family, Fantasy
Starring: Chris Kroeson
Synopsis: A boy is given a ring by an old witch. He uses the ring along with a magic Christmas tree which grants him 3 wishes.
Review: This movie is definitely amateur. It’s poorly shot, poorly acted, and so boring. Kids most likely won’t even sit through it. It was excruciating to sit through.
The Magic Snowflake (2013)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy
Starring: Nathan Simony
Synopsis: A young boy named Nicholas is about to become the next Santa Claus, but must first avoid a crisis that's threatening the magic of Christmas before he can succeed in his new role.
Review: First of all, I don’t get why movies show numerous Santas. He is supposed to be immortal never mind being replaced by a child. One of the Santas is kooky. Nicholas has to find out why he’s growing up too quickly in order to save Christmas. I found it to be bizarre and boring. Children may like it.
The Magical Christmas Shoes (2019)
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Erin Karpluk and Damon Runyon
Synopsis: A pair of magical shoes step into Kayla Hummel's holiday season, allowing her to rediscover her Christmas spirit and find love too.
Review: This is a truly original story. I loved the characters, the plot, everything. Basing everything on the shoes her grandmother sent her each year was special. The way they shared that story and emphasized being your true self felt very uplifting.
A Majestic Christmas (2018)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Jerrika Hinton and Christian Vincent
Synopsis: Nell, an architect, is sent to her home town to turn the community playhouse into a multiplex. The Playhouse has been home to their annual Christmas tableaux, which will now have to end after a long and historic tradition to the town. Connor, the new owner of the theater, has ideas that clash with Nell's. Since Connor hasn't had much experience celebrating Christmas, Nell hopes that if she can give him a crash course in Christmas during the town's Twelve Day Festival, that he might just change his mind about modernizing the Majestic.
Review: While the plot is different, it isn’t enough to make it interesting. The movie isn’t bad, it’s just blah. Even the town traditions feel lacking.
Making Spirits Bright (2021)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Taylor Cole and Carlo Marks
Synopsis: Grace and Tony are from separate families who are in the business of decorating homes for Christmas. Unfortunately, they have also been in a feud for as long as anyone can remember. This holiday season they must try to find a way to get everyone to work together in order to win a town competition that could save their livelihoods.
Review: It started out interesting but it started to feel blah. It’s cute and okay but it’s lacking oomph. Even the family animosity isn’t dramatic. This is good for viewers who enjoy Hallmark feel good stories.
The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Starring: Dan Stevens
Synopsis: The journey that led to Charles Dickens' creation of "A Christmas Carol," a timeless tale that would redefine Christmas.
Review: As I’m not an expert on Dickens, I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of this film. I will say it was visually quite dark and uninteresting. It was very slow for me. Because we know the tale so well you know what to expect and at times, they make his creativity curious but other times it’s odd.
The Man Who Saved Christmas (2002)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Jason Alexander
Synopsis: A.C. Gilbert figures out a way to keep Christmas alive after the war threatens to take it away in his name.
Review: The fact that it’s based on a true story adds an interesting dimension to the movie. Other than that, it fell a little flat. It’s a good story but the production needed some oomph.
Mandie And The Forgotten Christmas (2011)
Starring: Kelly Washington
Synopsis: This takes place in December, 1900 Miss Heathwood's Boarding School for Girls. Thrust into the chaotic and unfamiliar world of a boarding school at Christmas, Mandie finds herself hounded by new rules and regulations at every turn. Unable to grasp the finer points of high society, she constantly falls into trouble. While visiting the school's forbidden attic, Mandie stumbles upon a mystery from which she is warned to flee. Seeking the truth will require Mandie to lie, but it just might provide the key that unlocks the memories of a long-forgotten Christmas.
Review: Full disclosure, I didn’t see the other Mandie movies before watching this so I don't know any of the back story. It’s a bit slow at times and has some historical inaccuracies but children and tweens will probably like it more than adults.
Maps and Mistletoe (2021)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Humberly Gonzalez and Ronnie Rowe
Synopsis: A cartographer of school maps has plans for Christmas at home until her boss has a last-minute project for her, designing a novelty treasure map of the North Pole.
Review: I love the push and pull between the adventurous abstract thinker and the stability-loving linear thinker. Of course, I knew there’d be a happy ending, but would it be true explorer staying out or the map maker leaving with the explorer. It’s got a nice pace and was an interesting character-driven movie.
Marry Me For Christmas (2013)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Malinda Williams, Brad James, Jason Weaver, and Carl Payne
Synopsis: To appease her family during the holidays, a single woman pretends to be engaged to her employee.
Review: I really like the Chandler family and their traditions. This movie through a couple of surprises at me but overall, it’s a sweet story that kept me engaged.
Marry Us For Christmas (2014)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family
Starring: Malinda Williams and Karon Riley
Synopsis: In the sequel to the popular UP Original Movie Marry Me For Christmas, it's a year after Marci and Blair declared their love for each other and decided to tie the knot. But as the big day approaches, Marci is so consumed with work that she hasn't had time to plan her wedding. To make matters worse, she may have to team up with former assistant/fake fiancé Adam to win a project she's been vying for - a little tidbit she hasn't shared with Blair.
Review: In this sequel, we get to know the Chandler family a little better. I love the sisters and how they interact with each other. Spending time with family at the holidays is something that most everyone can relate to. I really enjoyed this one even more than the first one.
Marrying Father Christmas (2018)
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Wendie Malik, Erin Krakow, Niall Matter, and Jim Thornburn
Synopsis: In the third installment to the Father Christmas trilogy, Miranda and Ian finally look to tie the knot, but more complications are always on the horizon, putting their happily ever after in jeopardy.
Review: They’ve managed to keep the same feeling and tone as the other movies in the series. This one can stand alone if you haven’t seen the others but it’s more meaningful if you see them all. This is my favorite of the three.
Mary Christmas (2002)
Starring: Tom Bosley, Cynthia Gibb, and John Schneider
Synopsis: When a nine year old girl writes a letter to Santa Claus asking for a mommy, a television station news director gets wind of it and assigns a hard-bitten reporter to get the story. With the help of a male nanny, the reporter learns learns that at Christmas, wishes can still be granted.
Review: I honestly went into this movie with no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. The addition of an Angel, in the guise of a song and dance man, who leads the characters on their journey was truly touching. All the characters are likable and the movie kept a brisk but comfortable pace. I recommend checking this one out. It would be a good family movie. There’s even a beautiful surprise ending I never saw coming.
Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999)
Genres: Drama, Religion
Starring: Christian Bale and Pernilla August
Synopsis: Mary, Mother of Jesus and her pivotal position in Christianity is portrayed in the story of the woman who has been a symbol of hope and inspiration to people of diverse faiths throughout history.
Review: The Christmas part of the story, the nativity, is the very beginning. The remainder of the movie is their lives. It’s a well-done version without being overly dramatic. It feels like a true telling.
Matchmaker Christmas (2019)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Emily Rose and Corey Sevier
Synopsis: As the Christmas party for a book publishing company approaches, editor Maggie volunteers to help her boss, Amanda, find a date.
Review: Maggie’s matchmaking is really the smaller story here. The love story between Maggie and Jaxson is what really makes the movie. There’s not a lot of Christmas here, other than the one party, but the story is sweet and the characters are all relatable, especially dealing with regrets and moving on.
Meet Me at Christmas (2020)
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Catherine Bell and Mark Deklin
Synopsis: A woman tries to coordinate her son’s Christmas Eve wedding with help from the bride’s uncle.
Review: This movie feels like a moody teenager. It doesn’t have the uplifting feel a Christmas movie or a wedding movie should have. It’s also short on romantic feelings. The best part was finally hearing why Beau didn’t make it to the tree lighting and them finally getting together. Too bad the movie didn’t build up to that moment the way it should have. It’s okay. But just okay.
Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Musical
Starring: Judy Garland
Synopsis: In the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.
Review: I’m not sure why this is classified as a Christmas movie but I’ll review it for those who believe it is. You can’t go wrong with Garland. Getting a glimpse of American life in the early 1900s was a bonus. It's a good classic movie but if you're looking for Christmas it won't deliver.
Megan’s Christmas Miracle (2018)
Genres: Family, Religion
Starring: Dean Cain, Deven Bromme, Brooklyn Nelson, and Timothy E. Goodwin
Synopsis: Christmas story about a teenage girl that finds hope in a magical nativity display at her church.
Review: While there is a basis in religion, particularly the birth of Jesus, the majority of the story is about acting Christian. It shows a church embracing a widower and his daughter. The daughter has to deal with the loss of her mother and a move to a new place. It also shows her struggling as an adult until she remembers her magical encounter. It was an interesting story. I just wish they showed more of her as an adult to complete the story.
Memories Of Christmas (2018)
Starring: Christina Milan and Garry Chalk
Synopsis: When Noelle inherits her mother’s house, she finds out that for the past few years her aging mother had been hiring professionals to decorate it for Christmas. Noelle tells the decorator that the deal is off, but he refuses to take no for an answer.
Review: This movie offers the feel-good Christmas you expect. There aren’t really surprises (I knew the end by 10 minutes in) but it offers a warm Christmas feeling and a relaxing experience.