My Favorite Christmas Movies: From Classic to Cheesy

imagesI don’t usually watch a lot of TV, I’m not particularly romantic or sentimental, and yet, every December I find myself inexplicably drawn to Christmas movies. Maybe it’s because as a kid, my mom and I would always watch White Christmas. I can even remember dreaming of getting married in the red cape and dress that Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney wore in the final number. Later on, in high school, my friend Patti and I would sing the song “Sisters“—almost certainly out of tune, but happily nonetheless.

11173371_oriYears later, my husband, Mike, always a trooper, started watching White Christmas with me every year (although he insists on fast forwarding through the “Choreography” scene). The trade-off was that I shared in the Sheluk  family tradition: watching It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol (the original 1951 version with Alastair Sim).

Since then, we’ve added Home Alone (1 and 2), to our Christmas catalog. Mike’s also added Die Hard to his list, though I’m not convinced it’s a Christmas movie! Then again, Mike doesn’t like my all-time favorite Christmas movie, Love Actually. That doesn’t stop me from watching it at least once (and sometimes twice) in the season.


But my Christmas movie viewing isn’t limited to these holiday “Classics.” Whether it’s a more recent theatrical release—The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, or Four Christmases with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, come to mind—or a made-for-tv movie with a paper-thin plot (Boy Meets Girl,They Don’t Like Each Other, They Fall in Love, Happy Ending), I find myself donning my polar fleece pajama pants (the blue ones with the black snowflakes, or the white ones with the red reindeers), making a cup of hot cocoa (okay—sometimes a glass of white wine), and settling in for two-plus hours of mindless entertainment. It’s all part of my holiday tradition, right along with drinking my annual glass of rum-laden, nutmeg-sprinkled eggnog and eating too many shortbread cookies. After all, January—and reality—will be here soon enough.

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? Post a comment and let me know!

510x765-HangedMan-275x413It’s not a Christmas movie, but it would make a great stocking stuffer! 

The Hanged Man’s Noose is now available at all the usual suspects, or contact me for a signed and personalized  copy.

If you’re feeling lucky, enter my Goodreads giveaway, on until Dec. 17th (US & Canada only).




Thanks for reading!

If you're not a subscriber already, you can sign up here to receive future posts by email.

18 responses to “My Favorite Christmas Movies: From Classic to Cheesy

  1. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Jayne. Yes, Dyan Cannon, that’s the one I saw. It was funny. I’m going to look for The Ref. My list keeps getting longer…

  2. Oh, yes – Christmas in Connecticut. The 1945 one starred Barbara Stanwyck as the food writer who couldn’t cook, and the 1990s remake starred Dyan Cannon as the cooking show star who couldn’t cook. Both entertaining but overall I like the simple zaniness of the earlier one.

    The Ref is a different kettle of fish, dark humour and some foul language. A piercingly funny look at one American family who seems to have it all. Dennis Leery is the foul-mouthed element, great in his role as a jewel thief, and the chemistry between Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey is delightful.

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    LOVED the one with Roma — also had Hector Elizondo who I have loved since Pretty Woman.

    Saw Christmas in Connecticut but it was a remake. Don’t remember actress name but liked it. Never heard of The Ref?

  4. Oh, Christmas movies, and so little time! Your seasonal choices are classic, but here are a couple to consider – Christmas in Connecticut, with Barbara Stanwyk, Holliday Affair with Robert Mitchum, and Borrowed Hearts with Roma Downey. Also The Ref, which is hilarious.

  5. Judy Penz Sheluk

    I actually knew that Earl! Vera Ellen was also anorexic, in a time when not much was known about it. She of course had the tiniest waist — but that’s why.

    I love the ending of White Christmas, but there are also parts of it that make me laugh out loud every year. It’s just good old-fashioned storytelling.

    Enjoy your buttermilk at bedtime! And thanks for stopping by to comment.

  6. White Christmas is my all-time favorite. I prefer singin’ and dancin’ over drama. Trivia time: Vera Ellen couldn’t sing, so Rosemary Clooney sang both parts of Sisters.

  7. Judy Penz Sheluk

    I watch W network where I live and they have 2 Christmas movies a night. Last night there was a story about a Christmas cookie bake off between two teachers who used to be grade school friends. The requisite love interest in place. Totally ridiculous fluff but …

    I have Last Holiday PVRd. Will add The Family Stone. Let me know what the Brit movies were like. I often like Brit movies — unlike the US, everyone isn’t drop dead gorgeous!

  8. Judy, your December sounds a lot like mine. Women’s Channel holiday romances 3 evenings a week (so predictable!). White Christmas. Love Actually. Also Die Hard, which I watched with my son year after year, as long as we were in the same town.

    You may adore While You Were Sleeping which is another of my annuals. May I also suggest Last Holiday and The Family Stone, which touch on deeper aspects of the season while still being quite humourous.

    Tonight I’m sampling two new-to-me British movies, Get Santa and The Christmas Star, while writing cards and baking cookies.

  9. Judy Penz Sheluk

    I have never even heard of Home By Christmas, but just googled it. Added to my list! I may be watching Christmas movies in January at this rate.

  10. Judy Penz Sheluk

    I’ve never seen Polar Express. Another one to add to my list!

  11. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Yes the Christmas lobster (and there were more than one)! I’m not much of a muppet person — but my friend, Michelle, might enjoy that one for her little girl.

  12. Hi Judy, I love all the classics and look forward to new releases from the Hallmark Channel. One of my favorites – Home by Christmas with Linda Hamilton. 🙂

  13. Dian Bowers
    I to love the Christmas Carol. When the TV was in the same room as the tree it was a tradition to watch and decorate at the same time. I have also added the Polar Express to my loves. I can still hear the bell.

  14. As a family we read A Christmas Carol by Dickens one stave each of the five nights before Christmas. Most of the movie versions are forgettable. But I have loved Muppet Christmas Carol since I first saw it. “Light the lamp, not the rat.”
    I like Love Actually as well. Let me get my Christmas lobster suit out.

  15. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for commenting Michelle. I’ve never seen Elf OR Christmas Vacation. I will add both to my must-watch list! How did I miss those? Honestly, so many Christmas movies, so little time!

  16. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Holiday Inn is a good one, and yes, the first time that Bing sang White Christmas. But the ending of White Christmas — c’mon. I start crying just thinking about it!

    While You Were Sleeping? Is that a Christmas movie? Agreed on Miracle on 34th Street but the original with Natalie Wood and Maureen O’Hara.

  17. Love all of these movies! But also Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. And yes yes yes to the cheesy Christmas movies! I could watch those all day long in December!!! And Love Actually – one of my all time favourites! I still want to repeat the band / choir at the wedding scene one day for someone!
    Christmas movies and Christmas book! Love them both!

  18. Your classic list is close to mine, Judy, except for (don’t hate me) White Christmas, which I think tries too hard. Instead, I’m a Holiday Inn girl (though I admit I have to fast forward through a couple of numbers.

    And I’ll to that While You Were Sleeping and Miracle on 34th Street.

We love comments!