Christmastime is often ripe with reflection. It's the season of giving. The time for coming together and burying of old hatchets. And it's also a time for romance. Yes, you read that right, amidst all the family mumbo-jumbo, there's something about this special time that makes people feel very cozy about others.
Whether it is a couple kissing as snowflakes fall around them, or two people finally getting together at a family meal, romantic movies have a way of capturing this time perfectly. Lets be honest, the films don't really break new ground, but that isn't their purpose. Christmas Romance movies are meant to be idealized. They are meant to reflect the way we want things to be, rather than the way they probably are.
And all of this makes sense! Christmas is the holiday where we idealize what we hope to receive from others. This can be in the form of gifts, food, love, etc. Sometimes those things can be interchangeable. The whole spirit of giving (no matter what it is), is what makes this time so special.
So it is without further adieus, and with the help of IMDB, that we give you 18 Christmas Movies Perfect for Holiday Romance that are sure to make you feel warm and fuzzy. As we have said, Christmas is a special time and what's more special then renewing, rekindling or finding romance? Whatever you want from this holiday season, there's something for everyone on this list.
It's A Wonderful Life
This timeless classic is a true Christmas movie gem that tugs at the heart strings. In life we all make mistakes. At one point or another, we all think the world would be a simpler place, a better place, if we weren't in it. Well, George Bailey is having the worst Christmas Eve ever. He's going to end it all... then an angel named Clarence steps in and shows George what life would've been like without him. The romance in this film comes in what George does in his life for his family and friends. What man watching this film doesn't want to be the character of George Bailey? What woman wouldn't want a man like that? It's a Wonderful Life might seem like schmaltz, but it's ability to bring people together (over a story that celebrates humanity) shows that true love is not just a romantic notion. It is very, very real.
Families have a way of bringing us together and pulling us apart. This is never more apparent during the holidays. And when you factor in your family, your partner's family, extended family, etc., this whole thing can seem like a maze of personality managing. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon play a couple who have to navigate this emotion filled river. Their parents are divorced so they suddenly find themselves celebrating more Christmases than anybody on the planet. With a comedic touch and a lot of heart, Four Christmases serves many purposes. It is one of those Christmas movies that reminds us of the importance of the season. At the same time it is enough of a romantic movie that it binds us with our loved ones. It allows us to share the same emotions about our shared family during the holidays.
The Bishop's Wife (1947)
Everybody has problems. No matter who you are, no matter how perfect you think your life is, everyone is dealing with something. I bring this up because it is from these very trials that romantic comedy movies (especially of the Christmas variety) are born. This Christmas movie follows a bishop who needs to build a new place of worship and fix his flailing marriage. Starring the likes of Carey Grant and Loretta Young, director Henry Koster gets everything right here. From the tone, to the mood, to the overall warm and fuzzy Christmas feel, couples will certainly find themselves yearning for "us time" after viewing this film. If you think I'm joking, we dare you to try and not be captivated by the musical scene on ice skates!
A Christmas Romance
It may be hard to visualize it now but there was a time when pairing Olivia Newton-John and Gregory Harrison was HOT. Think Christmas romance movie personified. Truthfully, that was in the 1980s. Things may not be steaming in this 1990s film, but there's a lot going on to make this Christmas movie feel more than cozy. Newton-John plays a widowed mom who is barely getting by. Things get magical when she helps a debt collector (Harrison) who has crashed his car. A storm is happening, these strangers are thrown together, and suddenly we see how they are meant for one another. If this romantic comedy movie doesn't put you in the mood for some Christmas love, we don't know what will.
The Family Man
Nicholas Cage gets a lot of grief simply for being Nicholas Cage. Sure, his movie choices can be questionable, but his dedication to those choices are certainly not. Directed by Brett Ratner, The Family Man is one of the most unsung films of both their careers. This is one of those Christmas movies that epitomizes the very genre it is a part of. Part It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, we see what happens when a freewheeling bachelor wakes up to being a father, a husband and all the responsibilities that entails. Resistance ensues until ultimately this character realizes just how important family is. This Christmas romance movie exudes that warm and fuzzy feeling without every feeling cheesy. That in itself is a true holiday accomplishment.
Two lovelorn woman, tired of the men they are meeting in their own countries, decide to swap homes and see how the other half lives. As you have probably figured out they find the men of the dreams. Starring Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Jack Black, The Holiday might seem schmaltzy but it's the kind of romantic comedy movie that is perfect for couples around the holidays. Clocking in at over two hours, this will virtually ensure that those in a relationship have to spend time together. And with a romantic movie (that is also solidly in the Christmas movies camp) that makes you feel this good, those watching are all but assured of some "quality time."
This 2005 Christmas movie tackles the "friend zone" for the holidays. Don't be fooled, however, Just Friends is very much a romantic movie. Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) plays a successful music executive. He returns to his hometown by accident and confronts an old crush (Amy Smart). Having been in the dreaded "friend zone" with this person when they were younger, Brander is determined to have things be different this time around. Set around Christmas, Just Friends is simply a lighthearted romp about change, hope and the spirit of the holidays. Sure, it has a bit of an insensitive subplot (even for romantic comedy movies) about weight (Brander was bigger when he was younger, so of course he had to be in the friend zone, right?), but overall this movie has its heart in the right place.
The Family Stone
The Family Stone is that rare Christmas romance movie that tries to inject honesty into what presents itself as a happy-go-lucky genre. Look at the one sheet for crying out loud, audiences are practically being given the middle finger! The film centers on a business woman who wouldn't know fun if it landed on her face. She goes to her boyfriends family for Christmas and soon realizes that she's completely out of place. With a cast that features Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, and Rachel McAdams, just to name a few, this film has "adult" written all over it. More to the point it claims the christmas romance movie title as well. Just don't start feeling that you need to be as honest with the love of your life as this film is, otherwise you could be staring at a green and red separation!
Holiday Inn (1942)
Taking the classic romantic movie trope of two men vying for the same woman, Holiday Inn goes one step further by wrapping that idea in the holiday spirit. Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire (no less!) are the two men hoping to get in cahoots with Marjorie Reynolds. As you can guess, nothing goes simply in this romantic movie as Crosby and Astaire try and outdo one another for Reynolds' affections. Filled with great scenes, solid acting, and the sensibility of a time gone by, Holiday Inn is made for this time of year. So, boil some hot coco, turn on the fireplace, and settle in with someone special as you are transported back to another dimension with one of the best Christmas romance movies ever.
I'll Be Home For Christmas
Okay, when I think Christmas movies and definitely when I think of romantic comedy movies, the name Justin Taylor Thomas doesn't readily jump out at me. However, this is an offbeat holiday film with a lot of heart. Essentially Jake (Thomas), is having a very difficult time getting home for the holidays. Amidst his troubles he comes to realize the true meaning of Christmas. However, before this happens Jake has to come to terms with who he is. Again, this might seem like a romantic film, but we're guessing the audience for this is familiar enough with the players involved. They'll want to see these characters and the situations they have to overcome. During Christmastime, sometimes overcoming situations is the only way to truly discover the meaning of this fine holiday.
The Perfect Holiday
How can you not love a Christmas romance movie that employs a Santa from a department store to help a couple come together? That is the crux of this romance fueled yarn from director Lance Rivera. With a solid cast featuring Morris Chestnut, Gabrielle Union, Charlie Murphy and Queen Latifah among others, this movie brings the holiday cheer, the romance and also gives us a solid lesson about life and its expectations. A must watch for couples in need of some holiday and relationship spirit.
While You Were Sleeping
While the holidays are not front and center in this film, make no mistake, it is a tale for this special time of year. It is a story of mistaken identity as a lovelorn Chicago Transit Authority token collector is thought to be the wife of a man in a coma. This might not seem like land that a romantic comedy can thrive in, however, when watched with the right person... the true vibe of the season will take over. Romantic comedies are known for being light in tone and substance, While You Were Sleeping blissfully takes that notion and turns it on its head.
Pieces of April
A girl who has fallen away from her family, invites them all to her tiny apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving. As you can guess, many familial differences and grievances come to the foreground, opposites do and don't attract, and this mess becomes perfect. This is one of those smallish Christmas movies that is filled to the brim with important life lessons. During this time of year it's nice to sometimes have the old shaken up by the new. It's nice to take our relationships with our significant other and examine them. A movie like Pieces of April can get the conversation started. We're not responsible for what happens after that!
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
There are certainly others but Planes, Trains and Automobiles is THE Thanksgiving film. And it just so happens to be one of the best Bromances of all time! This expertly crafted tale from legendary filmmaker John Hughes sees Steve Martin and John Candy thrown together. Their goal? Make it home in time for the Thanksgiving meal with their families. What ensues is a tale of friendship, fights and unbridled heart that very few films have ever put on the screen. So how is this film about two married men a romantic comedy movie? Okay, you have two strangers who, due to unforeseen circumstances, have to share a motel room for the night. Making things even more cozy is the fact that they also share the same bed. That they wake up in each other's arms the next morning is the icing on the cake. Sure, it's all done in the name of comedy. However, this bromantic comedy is ultimately about two people who, no matter how bad things get, never stop trying to do right by one another. Isn't this something to which all relationships should aspire? One may not instantly think of this as a romantic comedy movie, but when you dig below the service, to the character's true intentions, you'll see that that's exactly what Planes, Trains and Automobiles is.
Christmas in London. A bunch of lives interconnected by the slimmest of margins. The Holidays are meant to be a time of reflection, right? So why not let adults reflect with a movie like this. With the lovey-dovey Christmas feel practically oozing out of every frame of this film, Love Actually is the kind of movie that defines best what Christmas romance movies do. When the final tally is held, Love Actually will certainly reside with the best romantic movies of all time. It is rich with solid story telling and never lets us forget that love can happen to any of us at any time. If that doesn't strike up a hopeful Christmas spirit than nothing will.
This holiday classic may be from a time that some deem ancient history, but White Christmas is a musical that should have you feeling warm and fuzzy at the start of the opening credits. This story of two song and dance acts joining forces to save an Inn in Vermont, is filled with Holiday cheer and excitement. The romance and comedy flows like hot coco and sugar cookies, and this film should enhance everyone's Christmas mood. In a time when so many things seem divided, this is one of those Christmas romance movies that teaches people in (and not in) relationships a strong lesson about working together.
Meet Me in St. Louis
New York is synonymous with the holiday season and that city looms very large here. Add to this that New York is seen by many as a romantic oasis, and that nearly ups this films romantic movies cachet tenfold. Judy Garland top-lines this film about the Smith daughters who have to leave St. Louis for the big city. Warmth oozes out of every frame of this film. Vincente Minnelli has directed a lush, picturesque tale that, though from a different time, resonates today as a romance classic.
Okay, Rocky 4 really isn't a holiday film... or is it? It was released on November 27, 1985. If that isn't a holiday movie, on a holiday release platform, I don't know what is. After Rocky's best pal Apollo Creed is killed by Russian puppet Ivan Drago, Rocky, in a true moment of bromantic selflessness, goes to Russia and battles Drago on Christmas Day. And he gives America the ultimate gift by showing that hard work, tenacity and belief in oneself can conquer any one or thing. Not a holiday film??? Bah-humbug. The purity which Rocky puts not only his life (but his family!) on the line for his fallen friend, just about ties up the meaning of the season and delivers it digitally to whichever medium you are using to watch it. Christmas romance movies often follow certain codes and formulas. It is often like this for a lot of romantic movies. Rocky 4 smashes this mold with a left hook and probably didn't even realize it was doing it.
What'd you think? Did we make you feel warm and fuzzy? Did we rekindle passions for the holiday? Have you never realized just how romantic Christmas can be? Let us know your thoughts, your stories, your ideas and opinions... and please be as warm and fuzzy as you can about it!