In Belle Calhoune’s No Ordinary Christmas, Hollywood action star Dante West returns to his tiny hometown of Mistletoe, Maine, intent on winning back the heart of his high school sweetheart, Lucy Marshall. Calhoune’s romance has a perfect blend of cinematic romance and cozy charm, so there’s no one better suited to put together a list of festive, swoony movies to watch while cuddled up under the mistletoe.
As soon as November rolls around, hundreds of romantic Christmas films begin to air on television. I love them all—the romantic gestures, the upbeat soundtracks, the variety of meet cutes and heartwarming declarations of love. As snow gently falls from the sky and twinkling lights shimmer, it’s the perfect time to curl up on the couch with a big mug of peppermint hot chocolate and indulge in one of my favorite holiday movies.
While You Were Sleeping (1995), directed by Jon Turteltaub
This is my all-time favorite. Lucy, the heroine, is adorable and genuine as she pretends to be the fiancée of her crush, Peter, who has fallen into a coma. With the magic of Christmas swirling around her, Lucy begins to fall in love with her fake fiancé’s family, as well as his charming brother, Jack. This is the ultimate feel-good movie about finding home and being seen for who you truly are.
Last Holiday (2006), directed by Wayne Wang
When Georgia Byrd (played by Queen Latifah) receives a terminal diagnosis, she decides to live life to the fullest by splurging on a decadent Christmas vacation in Europe. Hilarious and heartwarming, this one is pure holiday fun.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945), directed by Peter Godfrey
Barbara Stanwyck is at her best in the role of Elizabeth Lane, who is pretending to be a housewife/lifestyle columnist living in the Connecticut countryside with a husband and baby when in reality she is single, childless and living in New York City. In order to save her career, Elizabeth has to host a Christmas dinner for her publisher and a handsome war hero while keeping up her ruse.
The Holiday (2006), directed by Nancy Meyers
This movie has all the feels—unrequited love, a single dad—plus a charming English cottage. When two women (one living in California and the other in England) decide to swap houses for the holidays after enduring heartbreak, unexpected magic ensues for both of them. Bonus: Jude Law and Jack Black are both swoonworthy love interests.
Love, Actually (2003), directed by Richard Curtis
Set in London, this film depicts numerous love stories, from a childhood crush to a newlywed couple to a politician falling in love with his staffer. Poignant, humorous and achingly romantic, this movie stays with you well after the credits roll.
The Holiday Calendar (2018), directed by Bradley Walsh
Sweet and heartwarming, this friends-to-lovers romance is the perfect movie to watch in front of a roaring fire with a plate of gingerbread cookies.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), directed by Frank Capra
This quintessential holiday film is a must-watch movie every year. George Bailey, a loving family man, is in a desperate financial crisis and ready to end it all when an angel named Clarence shows him what an impact his life has made on others. The tender scenes where George and his wife, Mary, fall in love are utterly charming.
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997), directed by Andy Knight
Belle and the Beast’s fairy-tale romance blossoms over Christmas as the magic of the season sparkles and glimmers all around them. My favorite scene? Belle teaching the Beast to skate. So sweet!
Author photo by Venture Photography Greenwich.