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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So This Is Christmas (2013)
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 (2001)
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.
Special Delivery (2000)
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 (2015)
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.
Spookley and the Christmas Kittens (2019)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy, Musical
Synopsis: Spookley and Mistletoe brave a raging winter storm to find a home for three stray kittens.
Review: I went into this not knowing anything about Spookley except the it’s geared towards really young children. I expected it to be the typical little kid movie. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed it. It’s not overly saccharine. The music is really good. It also teaches great lessons to young children such as everyone wanting somewhere to call home and being a good friend. I’d even enjoy watching again.
Spotlight On Christmas (2020)
Starring: Tori Anderson and Victor Zinck, Jr.
Synopsis: Dumped before Christmas, famous Hollywood actress Olivia secretly returns to her hometown to eat cookies and avoid the press. Instead, she has to step up to take the starring role in her own life, realizing that home is where the heart is.
Review: I liked the drama aspect to it. Seeing the students brought back memories of my own high school days. Little Janey was precious and added tons of joy to the movie. The only thing I didn’t like was the slightly ambiguous ending.
The Spruces And The Pines (2017)
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.
Stagecoach Santa (2010)
Genres: Family, Religion
Synopsis: John's struggle to provide is bolstered by the childlike faith of his son who considers the meaning of Christmas. After a stagecoach rider visits Christmas eve, John must believe that troubles are temporary, and miracles can happen.
Review: The main message of this movie is religious faith. It does do a good job of combining an acceptance of both the religious and secular parts of Christmas. It emphasizes family and being grateful for what you have. It has good lessons for children and would spark conversations with families. While it’s clearly low budget, I believe the acting is good and the simplicity of the story makes it okay.
Staging Christmas (2019)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Soleil Moon Frye, George Stults, Jaleel White
Synopsis: Lori is intrigued when a wealthy widower names Everett asks her to stage his home for the holidays to cheer up his daughter, Maddie.
Review: This was a nice movie. It was a little flat but still enjoyable. All the Christmas decorating is fun. Lori and Maddie have more chemistry in their relationship than Lori and Everett.
The Star (2017)
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Religion
Starring: Anthony Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Mariah Carey, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelly Clarkson, Patricia Heaton, Gabriel Iglesias, Keegan-Michael Key, Kris Kristofferson, Zachary Levi, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry, Christopher Plummer, Ving Rhames, Gina Rodriguez, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Yeun
Synopsis: A small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas.
Review: I loved this! There’s enough humor to entertain while maintaining the appropriate reverence for the story. Tracy Morgan never failed to make me laugh. This would be a great family film. It would also be a good way to introduce the birth of Jesus to young children in a way they can relate to more than most movies. Even just adults will enjoy the humor. I laughed but I was also very moved at the end.
Star Dust (2010)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy
Synopsis: Kobold, a grumpy elf with no toy-making talent, tries to redeem himself by embarking on a trip to find the magical star dust that powers Santa’s sleigh to save Christmas.
Review: The animation is fairly low quality but it’s a nice story. Different people and beings work together and learn the true meaning of Christmas. Meant more for children but still fun to watch.
Stealing Christmas (2003)
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.
A Stone Cold Christmas (2018)
Genres: Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Demetria McKinney
Synopsis: A holiday encounter with a forsaken boyfriend forces money-grubbing Mia Stone to re-examine her past, present and future.
Review: A new look at the character of Scrooge. It’s not a literal past, present and future journey. It’s a look at a woman who gets a view of how she influences people. We do have the prerequisite change at the end. It’s still an enjoyable movie and I was thoroughly entertained.
The Story Of Santa Claus (1996)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Ed Asner, Tim Curry, and Betty White
Synopsis: The special presents an origin story for Santa Claus, who is depicted as a man named Nicholas Claus who wishes to give every child in the world a gift for Christmas. The elves of the North Pole become obligated to grant his wish, facing great obstacles.
Review: If you like stories about the origin of Santa, you’ll like this. I think it must be confusing for children with so many movies with different origin stories. Overall, they present the characters as good and giving which is a great message for kids. Adults may or may not enjoy it.
A Storybook Christmas (2019)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Ali Liebert and Jake Epstein
Synopsis: If event planner Celeste is going to save her business and give her niece a happy Christmas season, she is going to need help.
Review: A very sweet movie. Seeing Celeste try to honor her sister and the bonds between them and Finley was lovely. Taylor fit right in like am the perfect puzzle piece. The movie isn’t super deep but has just enough.
A Sugar & Spice Holiday (2020)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Jacky Lai and Tony Giroux
Synopsis: Suzie, A rising young architect, returns to her small hometown in Maine for Christmas.
Review: I love how the movie starts out lighthearted, especially with Suzy describing everyone as a dessert. As it goes on, it develops more depth and emotion. We see Suzy trying to deal with the loss of her grandmother as well as her need to succeed at everything while dealing with not being perfect. It is a great balance of emotions.
Summertime Christmas (2010)
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.
The Swan Princess Christmas (2012)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy, Musical, Religion
Starring: Jennifer Miller
Synopsis: Princess Odette, Prince Derek and their trusted woodland friends return for their first Christmas celebration! But, with the villainous Rothbart striving to destroy Christmas itself, will they be able to stop him and save the day?
Review: Let me preface this by saying the story isn’t religious but plenty of the music is and there’s lots of wonderful Christmas music. It’s a fun story with lots of silly and lighthearted moments. I also like that the female saves the male when it’s typically the opposite. This is a great one for families.
A Sweet Christmas Romance (2019)
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 (2019)
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.
Swept Up By Christmas (2020)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Lindy Booth and Justin Bruening
Synopsis: An antique seller and a cleaner clash as they work on downsizing a recluse’s magnificent estate.
Review: I found this to be a very original story. The romance between the woman left at the altar and the jilted man who is trying to return to civilian life after the armed forces was handled so delicately and is so plausibly realistic. The other characters add to the charm and round out the story perfectly. It’s truly endearing.