Contemporary romance novelist Courtney Walsh writes swoon-worthy romances readers adore. If you follow her on Instagram during the holiday season, you’ll see her posting fun reviews of Christmas rom coms in her Instagram stories. This year, Courtney shared a list of her personal favorite romantic Christmas movies. Read this post to see if you share any of these favorites in common.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for romance.
When picking out a movie to watch or a book to read, my first question is usually “Is there romance?” Add Christmas to that romance, and I am beyond happy!
The holidays have come early around here. I’ve found that in difficult seasons, it’s important to cling to anything happy. 2020 has been a very difficult season, so I immediately surrendered to the Hallmark holiday lineup. Because happy endings are important. Because losing myself in a little Christmas magic keeps me from plunging into the depths of despair.
Isn’t it funny how books and movies can serve as an escape? That’s why I’ll never think artistic pursuits are frivolous—because in times like this, when the world feels heavy and bleak—lighthearted entertainment can be exactly what we need.
That said, I do have my favorite romantic Christmas movies, and I highly recommend adding these to your movie queue as the season kicks into full gear.
5. Dash & Lily
Technically, this is a television series, but if you watch all the episodes in a row, it’ll feel like one, deliciously long movie. I knew nothing about this one but found it charming and sweet. It’s set in New York City at Christmas and it has such a fun, romantic hook: A boy and girl trade all their hopes and dreams via a notebook they pass back and forth in various NYC locations. It’s a clever look at two teens who don’t quite fit in as they help each other learn to be okay with that.
4. Cranberry Christmas
So far, this has been my favorite 2020 Hallmark Christmas movie. Keep in mind, I’ve only just begun binge-watching, so I’m sure I’ll have many more on my list, but this one will still stay at the top. Cranberry Christmas is about a couple who pretend their marriage is blissful and perfect in order to help their business and their town’s Christmas festival, which forces them to reassess what’s really important. It was a delightful twist on a common trope, and truly, there’s very little I find as calming as a Hallmark Christmas movie set. Beautifully decorated, charming small towns come to life in a way that I cannot get enough of!
3. The Christmas Contract
I watched this movie two years ago and refused to delete it from my DVR. A newly single woman returns to her hometown in Louisiana and will be confronted by her ex and his new girlfriend. Naturally, she does what any sane woman would do and gets herself a fake boyfriend! Let’s just be clear: the fake boyfriend trope is one of my absolute favorites, so I was hooked just reading the description of this one. I found it to be adorable, and several of the actors from One Tree Hill reunite for this one, making it feel like a happy high school reunion. The best news? It’s on Prime, so you can watch it tonight! (If you do, please message me to tell me what you think!)
2. You’ve Got Mail
Maybe it’s not a “Christmas movie” exactly, but with many scenes bringing in the New York Christmas charm, it’s going on the list. This is hands down my favorite rom-com, so there’s no way I can’t include it. I find You’ve Got Mail to be clever in a way that many romantic movies are not, but that’s the beauty of Nora Ephron, isn’t it? I love the scene where Meg Ryan is remembering being in her mother’s bookstore, dancing around and decorating for Christmas. It’s wistful and sweet and nostalgic. I feel like this movie deserves an annual viewing with pajamas, fuzzy slippers, and a mug of hot cocoa. It just doesn’t get any better.
1. The Holiday
True story. The first time I saw this movie, I actually kind of hated it. I felt like Jack Black and Cameron Diaz were both miscast and, frankly, sort of wished Kate Winslet and Jude Law were paired together. But then, years later, I watched it again, and I saw something different. A movie about love and loss set on the backdrop of my favorite holiday. The love stories in this one are layered and many, including Jude Law and his daughters and Kate Winslet and the old man she befriends. It’s a smartly written story about people with great capacity for love and how they find happiness in unlikely places.
Plus, it is Jude Law at his very best. (If you know, you know.)
Tell me: what are your favorite Christmas movies and do you have a plan to binge-watch them to help usher in the holiday spirit? I would love to hear what movies would make your list!