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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Saint Maybe (1998)
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.
Saint Street (2012)
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.
Same Time, Next Christmas (2019)
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Lea Michele, Charles Michael Davis, Nia Vardalos, and George Newbern
Synopsis: Sparks fly between a young woman and her childhood sweetheart when they reunite at the same Hawaiian resort where they met earlier.
Review: The movie was definitely a new story and different from so many others. There are a few Christmas traditions but it’s mostly about the families. I liked it but I didn’t love it. Newbern and Vardalos were the best part.
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.
Saving Christmas (2017)
Genres: Family, Fantasy
Starring: Ed Asner, Brooke Langton, and Patrick Muldoon
Synopsis: A young boy, Danny, tries to prove the existence of Santa by using his intelligence and gadgets. He and his trusted group go on an intense journey to find the truth of Santa.
Review: I was surprised at how poor the quality seemed to be here given Asner and Muldoon being in it. The children act the way children act especially when they reach the age where they start questioning Santa. We have the bullying and the yearning to believe but it’s just done so poorly it’s hard to watch. It ends with Santa showing his magic by zapping a pro wrestler with a broken foot from his home to the ring and then magically fixing the foot so they can wrestle. This movie was a waste of two good actors.
Saving Santa (2013)
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Joan Collins, Tim Conway, Tim Curry, Martin Freeman, and Ashley Tisdale
Synopsis: A lowly stable elf finds that he is the only one who can stop an invasion of the North Pole by using the secret of Santa's Sleigh, a TimeGlobe, to travel back in time to Save Santa, twice.
Review: This movie was very original and quite entertaining. The underdog elf that is repeatedly told he’s no good keeps going until he succeeds. A great message for kids. The songs are good but you won’t find yourself singing them to yourself later. Great for families to watch together.
Saying Yes To Christmas (2021)
Genres: Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Erika Prevost and Romaine Waite
Synopsis: A magical Christmas wish makes a career-obsessed woman say “yes” to every invitation while she’s home for the holidays. However, past feelings get reignited when an old flame joins her hectic schedule of yuletide activities.
Review: This was a really interesting movie and I truly enjoyed it. Seeing her frustration as she’s trying to say no adds some comedic moments. Her relationship with her parents and the scene where her mom talks about their heritage add real heart. It’s a fun one with feeling.
Scoot And Kassie’s Christmas Adventure (2013)
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 (2010)
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 (2014)
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.
A Second Chance Christmas (2014)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Michael Rainey, Jr. and McKinley Freeman
Synopsis: A widower tries to bond with his young stepson during the holidays.
Review: The relationship between Lawrence and Malcolm is so moving. Seeing them go from coexisting to not wanting to be apart really got to me. Lawrence’s belief in the true meaning of Christmas is an underlying theme of the movie. I won’t spoil the ending but I needed a tissue.
Second Chance Christmas (2017)
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 (1999)
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.
The Secret of the Nutcracker (2007)
Genres: Family, Fantasy
Starring: Brian Cox
Synopsis: In this innovative version of the world-famous Christmas story, 12-year-old Clara takes a magical journey on Christmas Eve to find her father in a World War II Prisoner of War camp.
Review: We start with a family in Canada during WWII while the father is a prisoner of war in Germany. This concept alone may require explaining and be difficult for younger children to understand but would be a good history lesson for older children. I will say this is a little odder of the versions I’ve seen. Uncle Dross is the owl from the woods and his friends are birds (people dressed as birds). There’s plenty of the classic music and a few scenes with ballet. Overall, I think it suffers from too many storylines at once. It’s all over the place. One of my least favorite nutcracker stories.
Secretly Santa (2021)
Starring: Alicia Dea Josipovic and Travis Nelson
Synopsis: Mirand and Paul, two business rival who playfully despise each other, work together on a holiday gift-giving app, and unexpected feelings develop for one another.
Review: The movie felt sort of stale and predictable in the beginning. It’s stayed predictable but got more enjoyable as it went on and I got to know the characters. The ending is clear from the beginning but still sweet.
The Secrets of Christmas Revealed! (2021)
Starring: Harvey Levin, Chrishell Stause, Sophia Shoate, Chris Down, and John Smoltz
Synopsis: A massive data breach results in the release of millions of secret documents revealing the confidential innerworkings and mysteries of Santa’s entire Christmas operation.
Review: Let me start by saying I wouldn’t have children, especially those who still believe, watch this. It’s a mockumentary that supposedly exposes all of Santa’s secrets. Things like the ugly Christmas sweater tradition starting due to Mrs. Claus’ addiction to knitting or Rudolph having a red nose due to FAA guidelines. It’s so ridiculous but I was laughing out loud. I think this is one people will love or hate.
Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen (2019)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Erin Krakow, Luke Macfarlane, and Kimberley Sustad
Synopsis: Ella Dashwood and her sister Marianne are huge Christmas enthusiasts and own a party-planning business. One of their new clients is a toy company and they don't see eye-to-eye with Edward Ferris, the company's C.E.O.
Review: This was a lovely movie. Ella’s Christmas spirit and joy are contagious (and I love her scarves). All the characters are so wonderfully similar yet unique. It’s sweet watching their evolutions. It’s definitely a feelgood romance.
A Sesame Street Christmas Carol (2006)
Synopsis: Oscar the Grouch is visited by three ghosts in an attempt to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.
Review: This would be a great way to introduce the Christmas Carol story to young children. It also teaches about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Sesame Street: Elmo Saves Christmas (1996)
Genres: Family, Fantasy
Starring: Charles Durning, Maya Angelou, and Harvey Fierstein
Synopsis: Elmo wishes that it would be Christmas every day, but with the help of Santa’s reindeer-in-training, Lightning, he learns that might not be such a good idea when he sees the future.
Review: I think little children will love this just because they love Elmo. I personally don’t like the message that it’s too much of a good thing, but I don’t think kids will get that.
Shadow Island Mysteries: The Last Christmas (2010)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Jennifer Finnigan and Natalie Brown
Synopsis: A writer must solve a puzzle after the death of her grandfather.
Review: It’s hard to review this without giving anything away. It’s suspenseful but not to the point of frightening. The story unfolds at a decent pace, if not an odd order. It kept my attention and interest as I tried to solve the mystery. If you like mysteries and suspense this is for you.
Shelby: The Dog Who Saved Christmas (2015)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Chevy Chase, Rob Schneider, Jefferson Brown, and Tom Arnold
Synopsis: When stray pup Shelby runs away from the pound and ends up in the home of aspiring magician Jake, the whole family pulls off an ultimate magic trick to rescue him from the local dogcatcher.
Review: This is a good movie for family viewing. It’s fun without being too silly. The characters are very relatable and fairly straightforward. The dog doesn’t talk. You’re hearing his thoughts. Yes, the story is a little typical, but it’s well done and entertaining.
A Shoe Addict’s Christmas (2018)
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.
Shoelaces for Christmas (2018)
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Bailey Chase and Jessica Morris
Synopsis: A self-absorbed teenager learns to true meaning of Christmas spirit through the support of her family and an unexpected encounter with a special young girl.
Review: I loved this movie. It had me from the very beginning. It has relatable characters dealing with issues many can relate to. The beautiful messages of kindness and love are woven throughout the story. Very young children may not understand it but for older children and teens this would help open conversations about compassion, empathy, and giving.