• Christina Rice

My Must-Watch Holiday Movie List

Updated: Mar 10

I love Christmas because my mom loved Christmas. She isn't here to celebrate with us anymore, but our joyous traditions live on. Movies are a big deal in our house, thanks to my husband. Movies are his jam. Naturally, at Christmastime, movies play a big part in our family festivities.

There are so many wonderful Christmas and holiday movies. Too many to mention, so I'm going to limit this to three. Here I will recommend one movie for a family movie night, one for a romantic date night, and lastly, a film to gift to your husband. He'll love you for it.

My family-friendly favorite has to be Get Santa. It's rated PG for concerned parents, and luckily, you can watch this on Netflix right now.

Get Santa is a humorous adventure between father and son to save Christmas. Santa crashes his sleigh while test-driving the newest model, and he winds up in jail. Tom and his father, Steve, must break him out in time to deliver the presents.

For those adults and children alike, who desperately want Santa to be real, this movie is filled with magical moments that make you believe. Children's letters follow Santa, and he can make anyone believe again when he recounts, in detail, a Christmas memory of their past.

Expect to laugh more than your children when Santa gets schooled on how to get mean to survive his stint in jail. Santa becomes Mad Jimmy Clause with cornrows and a new attitude with Straight Outta Compton playing on the soundtrack.

Tom and Steve hatch the plan to spring Santa from jail while in Lapland. Lapland is dreamy for anyone who likes homes and architecture as I do. A winter home there would be delightful. They borrow the old sleigh and Oswald the Squirrel, the highly-trained reindeer wrangler, to make one last attempt to save Christmas before it's too late.

Get Santa is a must-watch for us each year. I urge you to watch it and revel in its magic, adventure, and humor for all.

Once the kids are snug in their beds, cozy up to your partner and watch the Christmas romantic comedy, The Holiday. It's available to rent ($3.99) or buy ($7.99) from Amazon Prime Video. Or, you can find it on Hulu for free, but you'll have to sit through commercials.

The Holiday stars Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Eli Wallach. Did I mention Jude Law?

When Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) and Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) encounter trouble in their current relationships, they switch homes for the holiday to escape. Iris makes new friends in Los Angeles while Amanda unexpectedly meets Iris' brother, Graham (Jude Law), in Surrey, England.

This movie plays when I'm baking, wrapping, or when Zander and I are snuggled on the couch. It's my go-to, feel-good movie that I watch every year, and yes, I can recite many of the lines right along with the cast.

I'm a sucker for any movie with strong relationships and undeniable chemistry, and The Holiday doesn't disappoint. I get lost, watching Amanda and Graham fall in love. I was so taken by the scene when Amanda finally meets Graham's adorable little girls. The four of them all lie down in the girls' beautifully-crafted tent. I recreated a boy version of that tent for my little men, and they loved it for years.

We sold our home and moved to a temporary apartment. I wanted to make the boys' room special in this strange home. I was inspired by The Holiday tent and made this.

We added lights to the top and later added the solar system.

Iris befriends her elderly neighbor in Los Angeles, Arthur Abbott, a retired Hollywood writer. She admits to Arthur she's in LA because her ex-boyfriend forgot to tell her he was engaged to another woman. Arthur doesn't hold back. One of my favorite exchanges is from Arthur. He tells Iris, "in the movies we have leading ladies, and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you are behaving like the best friend."

The director of this film is Nancy Meyers, and I can't forget to mention her style. Nancy Meyers always includes swoon-worthy architecture in design in her films. Of course, this is a big reason why I love this movie. Amanda's Los Angeles home is a 1920's Mediterranean masterpiece built by famed architect Wallace Neff. It's to-die-for! I learned from the Hooked on Houses Blog that the interior of Amanda's home was a set. The interior sets were stunning in 2006 when the movie came out, and they still hold up today.

Iris' Rosehill Cottage in Surrey is so quaint and idyllic, but I understand it was built specifically for the movie. Again, bravo Nancy Meyers. It's perfect for an Air BNB getaway. I'd be there in a heartbeat.

While I love this movie's romantic elements, my husband, Zander, enjoys it with me for the comedy. I highly suggest you watch it for a Holiday Date Night.

My last recommendation isn't an actual Christmas movie, but it does take place on Christmas eve, so I'm rolling with it! You have to watch Die Hard with your husband or boyfriend. He'll be thrilled.

This action-thriller, Die Hard, was released in 1988 and starred Bruce Willis. John McClane (Willis) is an NYPD officer on Christmas vacation. He travels to Los Angeles to meet up with his wife on Christmas eve for their corporate Christmas party in the Nakatomi Plaza. German thieves take the party-goers as hostages in an attempt to rob the safe. John McClane is the wildcard they never expected.

This is a suspense-filled, shoot-em-up, action-packed movie with big explosions and daredevil stunts. It's everything my husband loves. I enjoyed watching Die Hard with him amid all the sappy Christmas movies he's been watching with me.

I am a child of the 1980s and proud of it. I'm not sure I'm biased or not, but Die Hard is well written and directed and just plain fun to watch. Bruce Willis is the perfect urban cowboy to save everyone's Christmas. He's manly, witty, and not willing to give up until he stops the bad guys. I like that. Yippe Ki-Yay.

Enjoy this time with family and friends. Feel free to tell me what you think of these movies or offer suggestions for your favorites. Merry Christmas, friends.

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