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 Nanny for Christmas 
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Emmanuelle Vaugier, Dean Cain, and Cynthia Gibb
Synopsis: A career woman cares for the children of a Beverly Hills executive during the holidays. 
Review:  it’s hard to describe without spoilers but the connections between characters is different and fresh. Despite that the plot is a little predictable but enjoyable. The children are special and steal their scenes. 
Scoring: 3
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 
Rated: PG-13
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Doris Roberts, Diane Ladd, Randy Quaid, Bryan Doyle-Murray, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Synopsis: It's Christmastime and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen and their two kids. Clark's continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon.
Review:  Typical Griswold hijinks. If you like the series and the silliness you’ll love this movie. The surprises never cease. 
Scoring: 3
The National Tree
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Andrew McCarthy, Evan Williams, and Kari Matchett
Synopsis: A teenager has his Sitka Spruce tree chosen to be planted outside the White House as the new national Christmas Tree.
Review:  The most interesting part to watch was the relationships and how they changed over the course of their road trip. The movie was a little slow, even for a drama, but glad I saw it. 
Scoring: 2
Nativity!
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Musical
Starring: Martin Freeman and Marc Wootten
Synopsis: This Christmas, primary school teacher Paul Maddens is charged with producing the school's nativity play. Competing against the posh rival school for the honor of best reviewed show in town, the stakes are raised when Paul idly boasts that his ex-girlfriend Jennifer, a Hollywood Producer, is coming to see his show with a view to turning it into a film. The only trouble is - they haven't spoken in years. With eccentric assistant Mr. Poppy fueling his 'little white lie', Maddens suddenly finds himself a local celebrity and at the center of quarreling parents and over-excited children desperate in their bid for fame and fortune. Maddens' only hope is to get back in touch with Jennifer and lure Hollywood to town so that everybody's Christmas wishes come true.
Review:  Such a fun movie. Mr. Poppy is crazy fun and the children are too cute. If you like slapstick comedy and adorable children you’ll enjoy this. 
Scoring: 3
Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger!
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Musical
Starring: David Tennant and Marc Wootten
Synopsis: This sequel to the popular British comedy sees a new teacher take over. When he enters his school in the National 'Song for Christmas' Competition, he and his pregnant wife, and the schoolchildren, embark on an epic road trip that ends up with a birth and a donkey, where he must embrace his fears and become a hero.
Review:  As much fun as the first movie. More slapstick humor and charming children. It’s a little more far-fetched and sillier than the original but still good family fun. You have to love Mr. Poppy.
Scoring: 3

The Nativity Story

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Religion

Starring: Keisha Castle-Hughes

Synopsis: A drama that focuses on the period in Mary and Joseph's life where they journeyed to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

Review:  It’s hard to tell this story and make it seem authentic and realistic but they achieved it. It’s done in a way that’s sensitive to the religious content. 

Scoring: 4

Naughty & Nice
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Haylie Duff, Tilky Jones, and Maureen McCormick
Synopsis: Cynical radio host, Pepper, is banished from L.A. to rural Colorado. He is assigned to co-host with "love doctor", Sandra, a hopeless romantic.  They have an on-air spat that gets them off on the wrong foot. Their antagonistic relationship gets the whole town talking.
Review:  Amusing and endearing look at how people bridge their differences. Their radio show has many funny moments. It sounds like a silly premise but it works. 
Scoring: 3
 
Naughty Or Nice 
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Hilarie Burton, Meredith Baxter, and Michael Gross
Synopsis: Holiday humbug Krissy Kringle receives a special delivery intended for Santa Claus, the Naughty or Nice book he left behind while visiting a child, and uses the power of the book to expose the naughty deeds of those around her, but soon finds that her newfound power isn't always so nice.
Review:  Another be careful what you wish for cautionary tale. We learn that we never know the whole story and we shouldn't be so quick to judge.  Delightful trip to watch Krissy learn to use her powers for good while catching the Christmas spirit. 
Scoring: 3

The Night Before

Rated: R

Genres: Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogan, and Anthony Mackie

Synopsis: On Christmas eve, three lifelong friends spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.

Review:  This movie can be summed up in two words, Seth Rogan. It’s got the same feeling as all his other buddy films. It’s goofy and a little odd. If you like Rogan's movies you’ll enjoy it. 

Scoring: 3

The Nightmare Before Christmas 

Rated: PG

Genres: Animation, Fantasy

Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, and Catherine O’Hara

Synopsis: Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.

Review:  Another Tim Burton movie that’s so bizarre you’ll either love it or hate it. It’s half Halloween and half Christmas. It’s become an annual tradition for many but might be frightening to very young children. 

Scoring: 3

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Rated: PG

Genres: Family, Fantasy

Starring: Jennifer Beals and Rick Roberts

Synopsis: When Santa sets off on his Christmas duties a day early, he crashes into the Fox family's house, ends up with amnesia, and loses his magic sack of presents.  He needs help! But the Fox family are a modern and broken family. Can they help him?

Review:  This movie seems to be a watered-down version of other Christmas movies. It’s okay but I didn’t really enjoy it. 

Scoring: 2

The Nine Lives of Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Starring: Brandon Routh, Kimberly Sustad, and Gregory Harrison
Synopsis: After a stray cat adopts Zachary, he meets Marliee and realizes the single life is not as fulfilling as he thought it was.
Review:  You typically see children bringing people together. Here we get to see cats, and a little fate, bring them together. I liked watching their relationship with its stops and starts. The crew at the fire station are entertaining. Truly delightful. 
Scoring: 4

No Sleep ‘Til Christmas

Rated: TV-14

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Starring: Odette Annable, Dave Annable, Charles Michael Davis, and Sheryl Lee Ralph

Synopsis: During an incident, Lizzie, an engaged woman, runs into Billy, a bartender, with a similar problem. When they learn they can only fall asleep when next to each other, Lizzie realizes it may be more meaningful than she would like to admit. 

Review:  I would classify this as a rom com that just happens to take place at Christmas. This is one that can be enjoyed year-round. It was truly funny, and sweet, and original.  Makes you wonder if it’s better to be peas in a pod or go with opposites attract. 

Scoring: 4

 

No Time Like Christmas

Rated:G

Genres: Family, Romance

Starring: Kyla Pratt and Edward Ruttle

Synopsis: A woman and her first love plan a Christmas Eve show in hope of saving the local theater.

Review: This movie has pros and cons.  The story is different than the typical Christmas romance, the girl is adorable, and the scenery is gorgeous.  The cons are the average acting (or overacting) skills often seen and the way the story seems to slow then skip ahead.  I believe the pros outweigh the cons.  It’s a sweet movie with a little Christmas magic.

Scoring: 3

Noel
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family, Religion
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Penélope Cruz, Robin Williams, Alan Arkin, and Paul Walker
Synopsis: Christmas Eve in New York, and the lonely divorced publisher, Rose Collins, needs a miracle to improve the health of her mother, interned in a hospital with Alzheimer's. She feels sorry for another patient and meets his visitor. Meanwhile, Nina Vasquez breaks her engagement with her beloved fiancé Mike due to his suffocating jealousy, but misses him. Mike is stalked by a stranger, bartender Artie Venzuela. The poor Jules arranges to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital, where he spent the best Christmas of his life when he was a teenager. The lives of some of these characters cross with others along the night.
Review:  There’s definitely Christmas magic in the air here. This movie is a beautiful drama about love in all forms. It kept my full attention and I was emotionally invested in the outcomes for each character. 
Scoring: 4

Noelle

Rated:  NR

Genres: Drama, Religion 

Starring: David Wall

Synopsis: A priest arrives in a tiny fishing village the week before Christmas to shut down a dying parish...and becomes entangled in the lives of the town's eccentric characters while learning the power of forgiveness and redemption.

Review:  This movie is perplexing. It’s slow and a little boring at times yet never to a point where you’re desperate to turn it off. It’s not so much about the church as it is the people and their relationships. Their happy ending is one that many wouldn’t consider happy from a religious standpoint. I wish I could say more but I’d ruin it with spoilers. It’s worth watching once but only if you have extra time. 

Scoring: 2

Norm Of The North

Rated:  PG

Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Rob Schneider and Heather Graham

Synopsis: When a real estate development invades his Arctic home, Norm and his three lemming friends head to New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of the corporation in an attempt to bring it down from the inside and protect his homeland.

Review:  It’s not bad for an animated film but unlike many newer animated movies this one doesn’t have much for adults. I think kids will really like it. 

Scoring: 2

Northern Lights Of Christmas

Rated: G

Genre: Drama, Romance

Starring: Ashley Williams and Corey Sevier 

Synopsis: Zoey has been working hard to own her own plane, but everything changes when she inherits a reindeer farm. Now buried in taking care of the farm and of the Christmas responsibilities, Zoey thinks life has delivered her a strange blow. 

Review:  Predictable and expected are the best synonyms to describe this movie. It’s missing that special something that makes me love Hallmark movies. It felt very slow and a little boring.  It does have tons of snow to love.

Scoring: 2

 

Northpole 
Rated: G
Genres: Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Tiffani Thiessen, Josh Hopkins, and Bailee Madison
Synopsis: Northpole, the magical home to Santa & Mrs. Claus, has grown into a huge city powered by the magic of holiday happiness around the world. Yet as people everywhere get too busy to enjoy festive time together, the city is in trouble. Who can help save the cherished traditions of Christmas? One young boy, Kevin, might have a chance if he can convince his protective mom, Chelsea, to rediscover the magic of the season. With a little added help from Kevin's charming teacher Ryan, a mysterious elf-like girl Clementine, and a gospel singer named Josephine, Kevin is determined to bring his mom in on the fun and prove that one small voice can change the hearts of many.
Review:  A darling movie about believing in the magic. We get to simultaneously live vicariously through doubting adults and believing children. The North Pole is truly magical.
Scoring: 3
 
Northpole: Open For Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Lori Loughlin, Bailee Madison, and Dermot Mulroney
Synopsis: A successful businesswoman, Mackenzie, inherits her beloved aunt's inn, and chooses to restore the hotel to its original grandeur only to sell it right before Christmas. Unbeknownst to Mackenzie, she receives some unexpected help from a team of elves headed by the cheerful Clementine, who helps Mackenzie rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.
Review:  I love the magical element of North Pole elves living amongst us and that we may play a small role in Santa’s flight. There’s a lot of joy in this movie. 
Scoring: 4

Nostalgic Christmas

Rated:G

Genres: Family, Romance

Starring: Brooke D’Orsay and Trevor Donovan

Synopsis: The closing of a beloved toy store brings a city girl back to her small-town roots.

Review: Nostalgic Christmas is a good name for this movie.  It doesn’t just reflect the nostalgia of the town and main characters; it features so many Christmas and family moments that made me nostalgic.  I had a feeling how it would end from the beginning but it didn’t matter.  I was glued to it from the beginning seeing D’Orsay’s character with her dad.  This is a sweet and light-hearted movie.

Scoring: 4

The Note

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Genie Francis and Ted McGinley

Synopsis: After a tragic plane crash, a local journalist discovers a note that she believes was written by one of the passengers. She seeks the note's intended receiver, but the journey is more revealing of her own past.

Review: During the first half of the movie I was bored and couldn’t understand why it’s considered a Christmas movie.  Then, as the story slowly unfolded, using flashbacks to fill in the blanks, I couldn’t stop watching.  Peyton’s search for the intended receiver of the note and how it affects her life became so moving.  It isn’t really a Christmas movie, rather it’s a movie that ends at Christmas. 

Scoring: 3

Nothing Like The Holidays

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: John Leguizamo, Alfred Molina, Freddy Rodriguez, Elizabeth Peña, Debra Messing, 

Synopsis: A Puerto Rican family living in the area of Humboldt Park in west Chicago face what may be their last Christmas together.

Review:  There’s lots of drama and love in this family. The son returning from Iraq is a particularly interesting storyline. The characters are all realistic and relatable. It is a drama but there’s enough light moments to balance it. 

Scoring: 3

 

November Christmas

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Sam Elliott, John Corbett, Sarah Paulson, and Karen Allen

Synopsis: A community works together to help a couple bring an early Christmas to their sick 8-year-old daughter.

Review: I honestly didn’t expect to like this movie based on the description.  It seemed like it would be so bleak and dark.  The superb cast, along with a great story, changed my mind.  I loved it.  It was so well done.  You felt the emotions, and it is a drama, but not in a negative way.  I won’t spoil it but I recommend giving it a try.

Scoring: 4

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms

Rated: PG

Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Mackenzie Foy, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightly, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Macfadyen

Synopsis: A girl ventures into a magical land of imaginative characters as she searches for the key to the jeweled egg that was once her deceased mother’s. 

Review: A delightful adaptation of the Nutcracker. It’s an original take on the story with some twists so you won’t know what to expect. My only issue with it is all the yucky mice and scary clowns. Well, scary to me at least. 

Scoring: 3

 

A Nutcracker Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Amy Acker and Sasha Radetsky
Synopsis: When her niece is cast in The Philadelphia Ballet's production of the Nutcracker, a jaded ex-ballerina is forced to come to terms with the life and love she left behind.
Review:  I enjoy the relationship between Lily and her niece. The rest is so farfetched it’s a little much for me. 
Scoring: 2

The Nutcracker Sweet

Rated: NR

Genres: Adventure, Animated, Fantasy

Starring: Alicia Silverstone and Ed Asner

Synopsis: It is Christmas Eve and the Silberhaus children are excited for the festivities to begin. Their godfather Drosselmayer arrives and presents them with an early Christmas gift, a Nutcracker. Marie witnesses a great battle between a vast army of toy soldiers led by the Nutcracker against a terrible platoon of mice commanded by the Mouse King.

Review: I believe this would be a good introduction to the story of The Nutcracker. The mice are less frightening than in many other versions. The basic classic story is there with a few light hearted moments. It’s more for children than adults but you may enjoy it as a family.

Scoring: 2

Nutcracker The Motion Picture (1986)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Musical

Starring: Hugh Bigney

Synopsis: The colorful holiday classic is finally brought to the big screen, designed by famed children's story author and artist Maurice Sendak, and written for the first time to be as close as possible to the original story. A lavish, exciting and heart-warming celebration of dance, of music, and of life. Based upon the Pacific Northwest Ballet's original production.

Review:  If you enjoy ballet and the Nutcracker, you’ll enjoy this. I found it to be a little dark and despite its G rating a little scary for young children.  For me the ballet loses something when it’s not live but this is a nice alternative. 

Scoring: 3

The Nuttiest Nutcracker

Rated: G

Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Jim Belushi, Phyllis Diller, and Cheech Marin

Synopsis: Transported to a magical land, a girl and a nutcracker must save Christmas. 

Review:  I think younger children will like it. It’s not the worst but the animation is poor, the characters are quite silly, and it’s too far from the original ballet and music. It’s as if you’re watching a new story. 

Scoring: 2