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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Genres: Drama, Family, Religion
Starring: Blythe Danner, Edward Herrmann, and Mary-Louise Parker
Synopsis: A lonely teen troubled by a past family tragedy is suspicious of his sister-in-law, believing she is being unfaithful. His confrontation with his brother sets off a series of tragic events.
Review: The best part of this is the relationships. The worst part is how it moves like molasses for a large portion of it. If you can push through the slow parts, you’ll enjoy knowing the family.
Starring: Mark Webb
Synopsis: Percy has found himself caught up in the riches of the world and is neglecting his most prized possession. In a tragic event, Percy faces humble circumstances after losing his family, job, and home. It is on Saint Street where Percy sees the light and changes his ways.
Review: While amateurish and poorly acted, this is a decent movie. The message is worth the negatives of the movie. That being said, I probably wouldn’t watch again.
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Danny Woodburn, Tom Bosley, Richard Kind, Christopher Lloyd, George Wendt, and Tim Conway
Synopsis: When Puppy Paws (the fun-loving son of Santa Paws) gets bored, he finds Budderball on Santa's naughty list and figures he's just the dog to show him how to be an ordinary pup. When the magical Christmas Icicle starts to melt however, and the world begins to forget the true meaning of the season, it's up to Puppy Paws and his newfound Buddies to journey back to the North Pole and save Christmas.
Review: Yet another talking animal movie. I found it to be beyond silly but the dogs are cute. I’d put this in the for kids not adults column.
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Pia Zadora
Synopsis: The Martians kidnap Santa Claus because there is nobody on Mars to give their children presents.
Review: If you like poorly made circa 1960s/1970s sci-fi, you may enjoy this but you’ll probably be the only one. It’s so absurd. The story, acting, effects, and costumes are ridiculous. This can’t even count as “it’s so bad it’s good”. It’s just bad.
Genres: Family, Fantasy
Starring: Ezra James Colbert
Synopsis: Tommy, who is unable to celebrate Christmas because his mom says Santa isn't real, leaves his kittens out for Santa to take back to the North Pole, but after a major allergic reaction Santa can't fly the sleigh or deliver presents anymore, so the kittens have to deliver the rest of the presents to all the boys and girls before sunrise.
Review: This movie was so hard to sit through. It’s so insipid. Small children may like the cats but that’s it.
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Barry Bostwick and Jennifer Stone
Synopsis: Fleeing the family business and an arranged marriage, Santa’s daughter chooses a magical adventure of her own: college.
Review: This is blah. Start with Mrs. Claus is dead, Santa doesn’t eat carbs, and their daughter is a lazy and spoiled brat. That about sums up the Christmas spirit of the movie. Of course, everything works out. I just didn’t really care. Maybe more of a movie for tweens.
The Santa Incident
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Greg Germann and Ione Skye
Synopsis: After his sleigh is shot down while flying through restricted military airspace, an earthbound Santa is sought for questioning by a pair of overzealous Homeland Security agents. The fate of Christmas is now in the hands of the disbelieving by-the-book duo, unless their faith in Santa can be restored by two children and a trio of elves who have arrived from up North to help out a friend in need.
Review: I found this to be a little dumb, children may enjoy the children in the movie. That is if they can handle Santa’s sleigh being shot down. This is one you can skip.
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Lauren Holly, Judd Nelson, and Nick Stabile
Synopsis: Father Christmas's son tries to follow in his father's footsteps, but gets arrested while delivering presents.
Review: I’ll admit it’s a little cheesy but I think it’s a nice family film. I enjoyed the adventures and all the characters. The Christmas magic makes it even better.
Santa Paws 2
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Cheryl Ladd and Pat Finn
Synopsis: When Mrs. Claus travels to Pineville, the playful Santa Pups stow away on her sled. Taking mischief to a whole new level, they begin granting joyful wishes to Pineville's boys and girls, but something goes terribly wrong - the Christmas spirit begins to disappear. Now the Santa Pups and Mrs. Claus must race to save Christmas around the world. From the creators of Disney Buddies, this magical, heartwarming tale is brimming with hope, cheer, and Christmas spirit.
Review: While it’s yet another talking animal movie, this one is better than many others, not that that’s saying much. This one is geared towards children.
The Santa Suit
Genres: Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Kevin Sorbo and Jodie Dowdall
Synopsis: Hunter Toys CEO Drake Hunter turned his father's company from a cozy quality manufacturer into a ruthless, profitable business. After denying his staff any festive generosity again, the scrooge is suddenly and magically transformed into Kris Krandall. That forces him to work as a Santa in Norm Dobson's toy store, with weird would be-actor Sebastian. Drake reassesses his values and priorities in life.
Review: The premise is corny but that’s it. I found this to be touching. A man learns how others see him, how to be there for others, how to empathize, and how to be a good man. I truly enjoyed watching this one. This will be an annual movie for us.
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Leslie Nielson, Steven Eckholdt, and Robin Lively
Synopsis: Santa Claus develops amnesia after accidentally falling out of his sleigh and only the innocence of a small child can save him. Meanwhile, Santa has to battle the disbelief of a newsman.
Review: This movie is a little silly but it’s good for children and those who are a child at heart. It’s got everything you’d expect; a child, a grinch, and a Santa in need of help.
Santa With Muscles
Starring: Hulk Hogan
Synopsis: An evil millionaire believes he is Santa Claus after an accident renders him amnesiac.
Review: If you like Hogan, you may enjoy watching him. Other than that, the movie has nothing to offer.
Genres: Animation, Fantasy
Synopsis: Santa doesn't want to retire, but rules are rules and he must train someone to replace him. The lucky winner, to be chosen from among millions of children, must be named Nicholas, be an orphan and have a pure heart. On the other side of the planet, there is a little boy who is a perfect match, but his lack of self-confidence and fear of heights make him a poor contestant. Will Santa agree to step down, and help his apprentice take his place?
Review: If you want to talk to your children about other children saying there’s no Santa, bullying, orphans, families losing their homes, and why there’s so many Santas because they have to have apprentices, have at it. I believe the way these topics were addressed, plus all being in one movie, makes it dark, joyless, and devoid of Christmas spirit. This movie even made Santa seem not so nice at times.
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Megan Hilty, Noah Mills, and Teryl Rothery
Synopsis: Holly returns home for Christmas and is put to work as Santa’s elf at her family’s store, where she meets Nick, and falls in love. When Nick disappears days before Christmas, Holly searches for him with her only clue, his black boot.
Review: While the story has many of the classic components of a Christmas romance, the approach to them is something I haven’t seen before. I really enjoyed not knowing exactly how it would end. The cast, the story, and the setting were all wonderful. Keep an eye open for the nod to “Cinderella” at the end.
Saving Christmas (2014)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Religion
Starring: Kirk Cameron
Synopsis: His annual Christmas party is faltering thanks to his cynical brother-in-law. Kirk attempts to save the day by showing him that Jesus Christ remains a crucial component of the over-commercialized holiday.
Review: I, like most people, struggle with the religious vs. secular celebration of Christmas. This movie does a good job merging the two with in-depth explanations. I learned a lot but was still entertained. If you aren’t Christian, this may not appeal to you but I’d still recommend giving it a try.
Scoot And Kassie’s Christmas Adventure
Starring: Luke Perry and Taylor Negron
Synopsis: Kassie rescues a retired, wounded police dog and names him Scoot. She and her friends organize a charity concert to raise money for less fortunate kids, and Scoot has to save the day when two crooks make plans to steal the donated money.
Review: This is a good family film. The children and the dog are really the stars. I think a lot of adults will find it corny but it seems made for children. A cute story with good messages.
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Seymour Hicks
Synopsis: Scrooge, the ultimate Victorian miser, hasn't a good word for Christmas, though his impoverished clerk Cratchit and nephew Fred are full of holiday
spirit. But in the night, Scrooge is visited by spirits of another color. Straightforward adaptation of Dickens.
Review: As advertised, this is a traditional version of the story. It is well acted and I was quite surprised at the special effects given when it was made. If you want the true story, not an adaptation, you’ll enjoy this.
The Search For Santa Paws
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Reese Alexander and Bill Cobbs
Synopsis: Magic dogs and an elf team up with two children to rescue Santa who has lost his memory.
Review: Like the other talking animal films this is more for children. There are some scenes that younger children may find scary. It’s too silly for adults.
Seasons Of Love
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Starring: Taraji P. Henson and Gladys Knight
Synopsis: Set in the picturesque backdrop of New York, "Seasons of Love" is a romantic, soulful holiday drama about two people who struggle to find love against the odds, while reconciling with the past and learning the true value of family.
Review: Christmas is a small part of the movie but I wouldn’t count this as a Christmas movie. It’s more a relationship movie where you're watching people navigate different situations. It fell a little flat for me.
Second Chance Christmas
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Starring: Katrina Begin, Tilky Jones, and Charlene Tilton
Synopsis: In this Christmastime romantic comedy, Caroline is unhappy in her marriage and makes her way to file for divorce. On the way, an accident occurs and everything in her love life is about to change, as amnesia is now setting in.
Review: I know amnesia is often overused but here it is used well. We get to see a couple falling apart fall in love all over again. Enchanting.
Secret of Giving
Starring: Reba McEntire and Thomas Ian Griffith
Synopsis: A young widow, aided by a lone rider, overcomes hardship to restore the faith of a town in time for Christmas.
Review: This movie was lacking something. I didn’t feel invested in the story or the characters. It felt like a superficial story lacking depth and layers. We never really get to know the characters well which takes away from any emotional reaction. It’s not the worst but I suggest skipping it.
A Shoe Addict’s Christmas
Genres: Fantasy, Religion, Romance
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Luke Macfarlane, and Jean Smart
Synopsis: Noelle, a holiday hater who toils in a department store in which she is accidentally locked on Christmas Eve. There, she meets a woman who identifies herself as Noelle's guardian angel and introduces her to several "ghosts" of Christmases past, present, and future.
Review: A fresh new take on the Christmas Carol theme. It’s as good as all of Bure’s movies. I liked how the story unfolded subtly. It’s hard to discuss without spoilers but if you like feel-good movies you’ll love it.
Starring: Linda Hamilton
Synopsis: Fact-based World War II story set on Christmas Eve, 1944, finds a German Mother and her son seeking refuge in a cabin on the war front. When she is invaded by three American soldiers and then three German soldiers, she successfully convinces the soldiers to put aside their differences for one evening and share a Christmas dinner.
Review: If you enjoy history this one is for you. It’s a wonderful drama about the magic of Christmas bringing peace and kindness. Hamilton is great.
Sleigh Bells Ring
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Erin Cahill and David Alpay
Synopsis: A busy single mother begins organizing her city's Christmas parade. While prop hunting, she finds a beautiful sleigh that seems to have a mind of its own, and it begins nudging her back to an old flame.
Review: What makes this movie special is the subtle nudge to Christmas magic and Santa. Yes we have exes reuniting, an amazing kid, a beautiful town, and the required happy ending. But we also have a fun time on the ride. The movie keeps a gentle pace and is a relaxing watch.
Small Town Christmas
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Ashley Newbrough and Kristoffer Polaha
Synopsis: Nell’s last stop on a nationwide book tour takes her to Springdale, the hometown of Emmett, a young man she met when both were young coy editors at a New York publishing company.
Review: This movie mixes the usual ingredients; a company wanting to take over a small town, a single parent to a niece whose parents died, and a long lost love. Utterly predictable and utterly delightful. Despite the lack of story originality, they manage to create a town and characters that capture the Christmas magic.
Small Town Santa
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Dean Cain, Christine Lakin, and Sophie Boleyn
Synopsis: On the eve of Christmas, Sheriff Rick Langston has lost his holiday spirit. But when he arrests a home intruder claiming to be Santa Claus, his world gets turned upside-down ! With the help of Lucy, the new girl in town, Santa helps show Rick that even when you feel that all is lost, love is all around you.
Review: The movie borders on silly but it’s still fun to watch. Lots of Santa magic. I found it enjoyable.
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family
Starring: Chevy Chase, Chris Elliott, and Jean Smart
Synopsis: When a school in upstate New York is snowed in, a group of students hi-jack a plow to keep the school closed.
Review: I’d say this is definitely for kids and teens. They’ll get the most out of the children’s hijinks and relationships. For adults it’s a little corny.
A Snow White Christmas
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Carolyn Hennesy
Synopsis: Blanca’s dastardly stepmother tries to cheat her out of her father’s inheritance. When she wakes up with amnesia, she receives the help of seven quirky friends, the Holly Jollies, to help her figure out her life.
Review: Based on the synopsis, I had higher expectations for the movie. The plot is so good but some of the characters, like Zane, are so over the top it takes away from the story. If you like fairy tales, as I do, you may still like this take on Snow White. I liked it but I’m just disappointed because it could’ve been so much better.
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Bethany Joy Lenz and Andrew Walker
Synopsis: Jenna Hudson and Kevin Jenner are polar opposites working for the same online publication in New York City. With both having nowhere they want to be for Christmas, they volunteer for a special writing assignment. After a snowstorm forces their plane to land in none other than Santa Claus, Indiana, the two are placed in a Christmas Wonderland and the focus of their story shifts to saving the historic town inn run by Carol and Christopher Winters. As the two overcome their differences, they also rediscover the magic of Christmas. But with the inn's fate in jeopardy and the return of someone from Jenna's past, Carol and Christopher lend a helping hand to bring Jenna and Kevin together.
Review: It's a little expected with few surprises but filled with Christmas which makes it so good. I love the town and all the people. The love story is also fun to watch developing.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Ashley Newbrough and Jesse Hutch
Synopsis: A true romantic finally gets her chance at the love she’s always dreamed of when a little Christmas magic brings her snowman to life.
Review: I realize the premise sounds ridiculous but it actually works. It’s a sweet story about someone always looking for what she doesn’t have rather than what she does.
So This Is Christmas
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Religion, Romance
Starring: Eric Roberts and Vivica A. Fox
Synopsis: Eighteen-year old Ashley's life is headed in the wrong direction. She's been hanging out with a bad crowd and seeking an escape from the drama at home. Everything begins to change when a handyman working on the family's house encourages her to volunteer for a Christmas play with underprivileged children. Ashley finds purpose by helping people in need and uses that to help heal her troubled family. Together, they discover the impact one person can make through the gift of giving.
Review: There are plenty of good moments in this film but just not enough in between to hold them together. The religious message is too preachy and the plot too expected. The good moments can make it worth watching for.
Sons Of Mistletoe
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Roma Downey, George Newbern, and Doris Roberts
Synopsis: An heiress who was long estranged from her father comes to town to sell off all of his belongings. Too late she learns that she has sold a boys' orphanage run by a gentleman who grew up there.
Review: I love this movie. The children have such diverse and funny personalities. It’s hard to describe without spoilers but I loved Roberts as the cop and Newbern’s dedication.
Starring: Andy Dick
Synopsis: A baby gets misplaced by a worker at an adoption agency during the Christmas holiday.
Review: If you’re familiar with Andy Dick you know to expect slapstick comedy. This movie has that but the tender moments will surprise you. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but still delivers a terrific story.
The Spirit Of Christmas
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Thomas Beaudoin and Jen Lilley
Synopsis: Emotionally frigid attorney Kate Jordan reluctantly accepts an end-of-the-year assignment to get a reputedly haunted inn appraised and sold by year's end. By and by she meets Daniel, the resident ghost who, for the past ninety-five years, inexplicably returns to life each December during the twelve days of Christmas. Kate has only one logical recourse for their mutual benefit: break the curse that binds him - but falling for a man almost a century her senior isn't among her plans.
Review: The premise sounds far fetched so I was surprised that I was so moved by this love story. I wanted Kate and Daniel to work it out so they could be together. I won’t spoil it and say if they did. I found the story to be original and charming. The more times I watch it, the more I love it.
The Spruces And The Pines
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Jonna Walsh, Nick Ballard, Tom Kemp, Ken Cheeseman
Synopsis: A Romeo and Juliet romance takes place among two feuding New England Christmas Tree lot families. Against their families' wills, Julie Pine and visiting-from-Texas, Rick Spruce, fall in love, but are forced to hide their Yuletide relationship.
Review: It’s a little corny but I liked it. Once you realize the connection between the story and Romeo and Juliet you start to expect where the story may go. The backdrop of the tree farms is beautiful and the story is lighthearted and fun.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family
Starring: Tony Danza, Lea Thompson, and Betty White
Synopsis: After bungling his latest heist, bank robber Jack Clayton flees the big city and winds up in the small town of Evergreen. There he’s mistaken by Sarah Gibson and her daughter, Noelle, as the Santa Claus they’ve hired to promote their local family Christmas tree farm. Jack plays along while casing a local bank. As his affection for Sarah and Noelle grows, can he leave his past behind him?
Review: This movie is a little slow and a little too predictable but it’s still got that Christmas feeling to it. I even got involved to the point of wondering how everything would sort out with Jack.
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Religion
Starring: Josh Roy and Monica Eder
Synopsis: While vacationing separately in small-town USA, Elwood and Nora, two of Santa's elves, receive an urgent transmission, initiating a series of events that will change their lives, and the world, forever. With the help of one good little girl, they set out to rid the town out of an economic depression and turn the wayward children back from naughty to nice. As their relationship blossoms, they discover the limits of their magic, the true meaning of Christmas and the joy of helping others.
Review: The movie is filled with points it is trying to get across; how government affects families, the inclusion of religious Christmas with the secular, accountability for actions, and more. It’s a B-movie with some very average acting and it starts out quite slowly. If you’re okay with the religious content, it has some good family qualities and would create positive discussions. We can all use some Christmas year-round.
A Sweet Christmas Romance
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Adelaide Kane, Greyston Holt, and Loretta Devine
Synopsis: When a food stylist finds out the owner of her favorite bakery is retiring and sponsoring a baking contest to see who will be her successor, she enters but then is forced to join forces with a rival chef to try and win.
Review: This is such a sweet love story. It’s not full of surprises but there are just enough details and different relationships to keep it interesting. They don’t overdo it on the baking. The emphasis is on the people and their relationships. This is one I’m definitely watching again.
Sweet Mountain Christmas
Genres: Drama, Musical, Romance
Starring: Megan Hilty, Marcus Rosner, and Teryl Rothery
Synopsis: A musician who is set to headline a Christmas concert in NYC makes a pit-stop in Tennessee to see her family.
Review: This is a perfectly average movie. It’s not good, it’s not bad. It just falls flat. I didn’t really care about the characters or what was happening. There are a few moments; like them dancing, or her with the kids. If you’re a Megan Hilty fan, give it a try. Otherwise, I’d skip it.