This movie list doesn’t include Home Alone, The Grinch, Love Actually, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Instead, this is a selection of movies, mostly romantic films, some of which are not necessarily set during Christmastime that I believe are fitting to watch during this time of the year, but also even way after the mistletoes and fairy lights are put away.
Hopefully this will give you more choices on what movie to play while opening gifts or spending time with loved ones this holidays.
On a personal note, I have seen all movies on this list but somehow I haven’t had a chance to watch Love, Actually yet, so I do not completely understand why everyone says it’s the ultimate holiday movie. I really need to watch it soon.
Click on the titles to view the official trailers.
“Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone?”
The Holiday is the story of two women (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet) living in opposite sides of the world – Los Angeles and Surrey, England – who find themselves heartbroken. In a single online conversation, they decide to switch houses, cars, and everything else during the holiday season. Little did they know that a change of address could mean that their lives would be changed forever. With Jude Law, the beautiful county of Surrey as setting and a great soundtrack, this could very well replace Love Actually as the classic romantic holiday movie.
“One second he was there, and the next, he was gone.”
Based on Audrey Niffenegger’s novel of the same title, The Time Traveler’s Wife tells the story of Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams), a beautiful art student, who falls in love with Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana), a charming librarian diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder. Henry has the ability to travel through time, but he cannot control it. The movie is a mesmerizing whirlwind of scenes of Clare and Henry seeing each other in spontaneous moments, with captivating scenes of Clare as a little girl meeting a grown Henry in a meadow, bringing him a full set of clothes and picnic sandwiches. It doesn’t matter whether you have read the book or not – it’s one of the most chilling romantic time-travel movies – mostly because Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana were perfect as Clare and Henry.
“Do you stop believing in the sun when the clouds block it out?”
How could you not love a movie where the Sandman, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Jack Frost come together? Dreamworks, the same animation studio that created How to Train Your Dragon, has made a lovable, heartwarming film out of the childhood icons that little kids around the world have grown to believe in. The Rise of the Guardians tells the story of Jack Frost (Chris Pine), the spirit of winter, who finds out no one could see, hear, or touch him. He’s then recruited by Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) and the rest of his team, and they find themselves on a mission to fight the essence of fear, Pitch Black (Jude Law), from engulfing the world in darkness.
Every character is portrayed so creatively that you might not look at Santa Claus or imagine the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy the same way again. My personal favorite is the non-talking Sandman; I couldn’t stop giggling every time he pops into a scene. And if I had a crush on an animated character, it would most definitely be Jack Frost. The entire film is a cinematic treat, with its stunning visuals and immersive storytelling.
“Whatever happens tomorrow, we have today.”
On a cold day in Scotland in 1988, Dexter and Emma spend the night together and decide to stay as friends. They then agree to meet every 15th of July for the next twenty years. Set in the United Kingdom, the movie captures one day (July 15) of every year of Dexter and Emma’s lives. On some days they’re together, some days they’re not. Based on David Nicholls’ book of the same name, Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess’ impeccable chemistry made the a flawless film rendition out of one of the most captivating novels.
“Live life as if there were no second chances.”
Directed and written by Richard Curtis, the creator of Love Actually and Notting Hill, About Time is a movie about life and love, sprinkled with the magic of time-travel. It ponders on the question: What if you could relive every moment, until it was perfect?
It reminds us to make use of our time to make our lives the way we want it to be, while accept the circumstances and consequences we don’t have complete control over. About Time is a romantic film that will gently prod you to reflect on how you live out your life and to think about what it means to live well, without regrets.
“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks’ hit romantic comedy turns 15 years this year. The love story of bookstore owners Joe Fox of Fox Books and Kathleen Kelly of The Shop Around the Corner began with an AOL email conversation, in a time where Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are still nonexistent. You’ve Got Mail is a witty and wholesome movie set in the Upper West Side of New York. The effortless chemistry between Ryan and Hanks is always a delight to watch.
“It’s such a nice sounding word for what it means: a fortunate accident.”
There could be no other better movie that perfectly captures the meaning of destiny than Serendipity. Set in modern New York City, the movie opens with Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) looking for a pair of socks in a department store during the holiday rush, bumping into a dapper Jonathan Trager (John Cusack), whom she eventually spends one of the most memorable nights of her life with. The rest of the movie follows the lives of Sara and Jonathan several years later. Serendipity is very beautifully shot and written. It’s filled with witty, catchy lines and even more unforgettable scenes, such as the one where Jonathan draws the constellation Cassiopeia on Sara’s arm, when they drink frozen hot chocolate in Serendipity Cafe, and when they ice-skate together in Central Park. This is a perfect film for couples to watch during the holidays.
“I believe in music the way some people believe in fairytales.”
August Rush is a film about music, love, and second chances. It tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy named August Rush (Freddie Highmore). August is a musical prodigy and an orphan who hopes to someday find his parents. His dad is an Irish guitarist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), and his mom is a cellist (Keri Russell). Set in New York, this movie is a musical and heartwarming treat. I remember watching this in a plane and being utterly captivated by it, even with a small screen and turbulence and all. Robin Williams gives a stellar performance here as well.
“The world doesn’t scare me, okay? It’s just getting good. I wanna start living in it.”
New Year’s Eve’s cast is already enough reason for you to watch this film. It tells the stories of different individuals dealing with romance, heartbreak, second chances, and taking risks, as everyone welcomes the new year in New York. It boasts of a stellar full-feature cast, including Hilary Swank, Lea Michele, Ashton Kutcher, Halle Berry, Bon Jovi, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Each of their individual stories are distinct from one another, seamlessly portrayed from start to finish.
Bonus: Frozen (2013)
“Some people are worth melting for.” – Olaf
Even though this just showed in theaters, I can’t resist including Frozen in the list! It’s perhaps the most exquisite, masterful fantasy epic that Disney has made in recent years. Every character is lovable and captivating to watch. From the elegant Elsa to the quirky Anna to the summer-loving Olaf the Snowman, every role is animated and voiced in classic Disney fashion that we grew to love. The script is well-written, the score is so much fun to sing along to. The best part of all? The finale is a refreshing deviation from what we typically expect from Disney films.
Do you want to build a snowman? It doesn’t have to be a snowman! ☃
Have a wonderful and merry-filled holidays, everyone! ♡