Watching the Holiday Movies

It’s a dirty little not-so-secret: I enjoy a lot of the holiday/Christmas movies. I just do. There is a expectation of wishes coming true, and of good triumphing over its opposition, that makes for an enjoyable viewing experience. Of course, there are few movies that hit all the right bells all the way through. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth watching, just that sometimes there are bumps in the one-horse-open-sleigh that you might have to endure.

This page is going to be the index of my blogs about these sorts of movies. I don’t think that what I write will be purely a review, or a critique, or even just a chat. The posts will likely have those elements and more. The goal isn’t so much to make this an academic exercise, but just to share some of my joys–and maybe a few disappointments–of the holiday fare.

Some of the movies are going to be classics that have played since we were children. Some will be the new stuff that shows up on cable networks like Hallmark and Lifetime. Many will fall somewhere in between. There are a lot of these sorts of movies out there. Unless you totally bah-humbug the entire season, I expect that many of you have more than a couple of these films in your want-to-watch list every year.

New Feature:

Bowing to several requests for the master list to have ratings, I’ve gone and done one better: not only does it have ratings, but all the columns are sortable (an iffy feature for mobile users depending on screen size). For now, I’m putting in the full list, but I may make it paged in the not-too-distant future as it’s starting to get long.

To ensure that movies in the list are in traditional alphabetical order (leading “A”, “An”, and “The” ignored for sorting purposes), I’ve had to resort to the inelegant solution of moving those words to the end of the title. If I come up with something that looks nicer, I’ll do that.

By default the list is with most recent reviews first.

TitlePosted on
(YYYY-MM-DD)
Overall Rating
Wish for Christmas, A
link
2016-10-29

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Christmas Land
link
2015-12-21

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas
link
2015-12-13

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Just in Time for Christmas
link
2015-12-06

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Christmas Gift, The
link
2015-12-06

 2.5/5.0 ★★½☆☆ 

Crown for Christmas
link
2015-11-28

 4.25/5.0 ★★★★¼ 

12 Gifts of Christmas
link
2015-11-27

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Once Upon a Holiday
link
2015-11-26

 2.75/5.0 ★★¾☆☆ 

Northpole —- Open For Christmas
link
2015-11-22

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Christmas Incorporated
link
2015-11-16

 3.5/5.0 ★★★½☆ 

I’'m Not Ready For Christmas
link
2015-11-15

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Charming Christmas
link
2015-11-09

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Ice Sculpture Christmas
link
2015-11-08

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

'‘Tis the Season for Love
link
2015-11-01

 3.5/5.0 ★★★½☆ 

One Christmas Eve
link
2014-12-02

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Christmas Under Wraps
link
2014-11-30

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Royal Christmas, A
link
2014-11-24

 3.5/5.0 ★★★½☆ 

Christmas Shepherd, The
link
2014-11-24

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

En Vogue Christmas, An
link
2014-11-23

 3.5/5.0 ★★★½☆ 

Angels and Ornaments
link
2014-11-17

 4.25/5.0 ★★★★¼ 

Northpole
link
2014-11-16

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Nine Lives of Christmas, The
link
2014-11-09

 4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 

One Starry Christmas
link
2014-11-02

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Finding Christmas
link
2013-12-16

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Snow Globe Christmas, A
link
2013-12-15

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Hats Off to Christmas!
link
2013-12-15

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Christmas Spirit, The
link
2013-12-02

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Dear Secret Santa
link
2013-12-01

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Let It Snow
link
2013-12-01

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Fir Crazy
link
2013-11-25

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Kristin’'s Christmas Past
link
2013-11-24

 3.5/5.0 ★★★½☆ 

Window Wonderland
link
2013-11-24

 2.75/5.0 ★★¾☆☆ 

Catch a Christmas Star
link
2013-11-18

 2.5/5.0 ★★½☆☆ 

Twelve Trees of Christmas, The
link
2013-11-17

 2.75/5.0 ★★¾☆☆ 

Christmas Ornament, The
link
2013-11-17

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Very Merry Mix-Up, A
link
2013-11-11

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Snow Bride
link
2013-11-10

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Pete’'s Christmas
link
2013-11-09

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Thanksgiving House, The
link
2013-11-03

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Christmas With Holly
link
2012-12-12

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Matchmaker Santa
link
2012-12-10

 3.5/5.0 ★★★½☆ 

Help For the Holidays
link
2012-12-10

 4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 

Come Dance With Me
link
2012-12-09

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Christmas Heart, The
link
2012-12-03

 2.75/5.0 ★★¾☆☆ 

Love at the Christmas Table
link
2012-12-01

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Naughty or Nice
link
2012-11-25

 3.5/5.0 ★★★½☆ 

Love At the Thanksgiving Day Parade
link
2012-11-18

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Wishing Tree, The
link
2012-11-17

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Christmas Magic
link
2011-12-19

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Christmas Pageant, The
link
2011-12-12

 4.25/5.0 ★★★★¼ 

Annie Claus is Coming to Town
link
2011-12-10

 2.5/5.0 ★★½☆☆ 

Princess For Christmas, A
link
2011-12-03

 4.25/5.0 ★★★★¼ 

Holiday Engagement, A
link
2011-11-27

 3.0/5.0 ★★★☆☆ 

Dear Santa (2011)
link
2011-11-26

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Debbie Macomber’'s Trading Christmas
link
2011-11-26

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Silver Bells
link
2011-11-25

 4.25/5.0 ★★★★¼ 

Christmas Wedding Tail, A
link
2011-11-20

 2.25/5.0 ★★¼☆☆ 

Christmas Wish, A
link
2011-11-20

 2.5/5.0 ★★½☆☆ 

Case For Christmas, The
link
2011-11-19

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Most Wonderful Time of the Year, The
link
2010-12-24

 4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 

Christmas Story, A
link
2010-12-16

 5.0/5.0 ★★★★★ 

Three Wise Women
link
2010-12-15

 3.5/5.0 ★★★½☆ 

Old-Fashioned Christmas, An
link
2010-12-12

 3.25/5.0 ★★★¼☆ 

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
link
2010-12-12

 4.75/5.0 ★★★★¾ 

Farewell Mr. Kringle
link
2010-12-05

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Christmas Carol, A (1984)
link
2010-11-28

 4.75/5.0 ★★★★¾ 

Christmas Card, The
link
2010-11-28

 3.75/5.0 ★★★¾☆ 

Crazy For Christmas
link
2010-11-27

 4.25/5.0 ★★★★¼ 

A Little About the Ratings

As of November 2013, the distribution of rankings looks like this:

holidaywatchgraph 459

As you’d expect, more-or-less a bell curve. Generally speaking, it’ll be rare to see a 2 or below because: the cable nets don’t want to air bad movies; at times I’ll self-select out movies that I know going in that I’m not going to enjoy (life’s too short), but these are fewer than you might expect. Within the range of movies watched, you can see that most will be in the 3-3.75 range, and these I consider average holiday fare — neither “must see” nor “avoid it” but quite watchable. The variation is due largely on personal taste, quality of script or actor, and, if I’m being completely honest, my mood/level of fatigue. This isn’t to say that anything lower than a 3 is a don’t watch — there are several 2.75, for example, that are there simply because of one character I didn’t like or an ending that didn’t satisfy.

Something I try not to do (though I’m not perfect with it), is to second-guess myself. I prefer to see the movie then immediately review the movie. Often I don’t even know what it’s about aside from the title or it has a star I like. It’s all too easy to let multiple viewings skew your perception due to increased familiarity.

* Disclamer: I’m pro-Santa, pro-peace, pro-love, pro-happy, pro-understanding, and generally in favor of the fundamental message of these films.

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