5 Christmas Movies We’re Watching This Year

Ahhhh! School’s out, vacation has started, and it’s time of the annual watching of holiday movies. I’ve always loved seasonal films but this tradition started in earnest when my son was about 8 and we watched Miracle on 34th Street together for the first time.

Each year we pick the five movies we’re most wanting to see. Some are old favorites, some are new and untested, and some are not specifically holiday movies but speak of the season to us. Here’s our list for this year:

Movie #1: The Christmas Chronicles

Kurt Russell as Santa Clause in The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix via www.angelamaywaller.com

Kurt Russell as Santa Clause? Yes, please! An adventurous tale with a brother and sister who end up spending Christmas Eve helping Santa. Or “helping,” as the case may be. We first watched this last year when it was release on Netflix and had a blast. We can’t wait to watch it again this year. Only available on Netflix.

Updated: Yep, still love this movie! I had forgotten how sad it is in some parts—the children in the movie have lost their father (a fireman), and this is their first Christmas without him. In those scenes I couldn’t help but cry. But it has such a powerfully uplifting message and grand adventure that I forgive it those tears. A great movie.

Movie #2: Noelle

Anna Kendrick as Noelle Kringle in Noelle from Disney Plus via www.angelamaywaller.com

A new movie on Disney Plus starring Anna Kendrick as one of two children of Santa Clause. Her older brother is supposed to be taking over as Santa this year but having second thoughts. Chaos ensues. While I’ve tried to avoid seeing reviews, when searching for a picture to include here I couldn’t help but notice some pretty unflattering headlines. But it looks cute and I love Anna Kendrick, so we’re going to give it a watch and see for ourselves. Only available on Disney Plus.

Updated:Okay, I am not entirely sure why everyone is so down on this film. I loved it! It is whimsical and fun without being overly silly, and it has great heart. Again, a story that’s mostly fun but with some really moving moments: when we hear Noelle share about how her father has passed away, or when she visits the homeless shelter in Phoenix while trying to find her runaway brother. A lovely, fun movie with heart. We will definitely watch it again.

Movie #3: The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppet Christmas Carol starring Michael Caine via www.angelamaywaller.com

This is my husband’s pick for this year, and my first reaction was…. eh. But we’ve been including some version of this tale in the lineup for the last few years and it seems fitting. From 1992, the movie stars Michael Caine as Scrooge along with all of your Muppet favorites. Who doesn’t love Kermit the Frog? I have never actually seen this, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes!

Updated: Awwwww, this movie is so good! What a great way to watch this classic story with children, too. I was a little nervous because the original Muppet movie is pretty silly, and in general I’m not a huge fan of excessive silliness. But this movie is a perfect blend of fun and heart. It still has all the spooky elements and the painful life lessons, but with just enough Muppet whimsy to make it less intense for younger or more sensitive viewers. Plus the songs are great and the sentiments pure and true. On top of all that, Michael Caine is a fantastic actor and does a great job with this story. Two thumbs up, and probably now on our regular watch list.

Movie #4: White Christmas

White Christmas starring Bing Crosby via www.angelamaywaller.com

Another “not yet seen” film in the list this year — we’re on a new movie kick. Well, in this case old movie since this is a Bing Crosby classic from 1954. We’ve been wanting to try this film for several years but has always been pushed out by Miracle on 34th Street (a perennial favorite). But we’ve finally seen Miracle enough times to skip a year so we’ve got a spot for this one this year. We’ll report back.

Updated: So…. I didn’t love this movie (sorry!!!). I really wanted to—I’m a huge fan of the singin’ and the dancin’ and musicals in general. Singin’ in the Rain is one of my favorites! But this didn’t capture my heart. I think, upon reflection, that this is because the musical numbers weren’t tied to the story. In most musicals, the songs are an expression of what is happening in the story, so they extend and enhance the story as they are performed. But White Christmas is built around the idea of people working in show business and putting on variety shows, so all of the musical numbers are separate from the story, like performance asides. As a result, the story itself doesn’t get much airtime and I wasn’t captivated. On the plus side, Bing Crosby is a great actor and his romance with Rosemary Clooney is very sweet. Worth watching, but maybe not frequently.

Movie #4: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe via www.angelamaywaller.com

I know, I know, most people probably would not consider this a Christmas movie, but it speaks to us. Plus it has a cameo from Santa Claus!! This magical tale of the Pevensie children and their adventure in Narnia will always have a place in my heart and what better time for a re-watch than the holidays?

Updated: Gosh, I love Narnia. This movie is so well done. My heart breaks for Lucy when Edmund betrays her, for Edmund when he realizes how wrong he has been, and for the girls when they witness the events at the Stone Table. And my heart soars with every triumph and victory as well. A classic story of good and evil, friendship and sacrifice. Sigh!

Bonus Movie: Fitzwilly

Fitzwilly starring Dick van Dyke and Barbara Feldon via www.angelamaywaller.com

Sometimes the list just doesn’t seem to have enough room and this is one of those years. If we have time we’ll try to squeeze in one of my personal favorites, Fitzwilly. Starring Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon, this 1967 romantic comedy / heist flick is the fun story of a butler who is doing all the wrong things but but for all the right reasons. This classic romp is set at the holidays and warms my heart every time.

Updated: Unfortunately we didn’t have time to watch this movie this year, so it will likely make the top 5 next year. One of my favorites and worth repeated viewing!

That’s it!

That’s our list for this year. A good crop if I do say so myself! And of course I’m always interested to hear about new seasonal movies to try. Comment and let me know: what are YOUR favorite holiday movies?

Happy Holidays!

Love, Angela



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