To celebrate the festive season we asked some of our regular Romance.com.au writers and romance authors to pick their favourite Christmas movie of all time!
Here are some of their selections, in no specific order. Is your favourite movie on the list?
The Holiday (2006)
Romance.com.au writer Johanna: I was sorely tempted to rock the boat and claim Die Hard as my favourite holiday movie, but if I’m being entirely honest there’s only one movie that I watch every single Christmas without fail: The Holiday. The sweeping romantic soundtrack, Cameron Diaz belting out ‘Mr Brightside’, Jack Black’s playful chemistry with Kate Winslet, Judy Law as a sexy single dad, and two satisfying happy ever afters … what more could a romance-lover want?
As someone who also fell in love when I wasn’t looking for it, I love the quiet optimism that the right one is out there somewhere; even if you have to travel halfway across the world to find them. May we all find ourselves in a loungeroom adorned with boughs of mistletoe on New Year’s Eve, dancing with the love our life and the people most important to us, with a backdrop of twinkling Christmas lights.
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970)
Romance.com.au writer Hillary: An absolute trippy stop motion Christmas film about the origin story of Santa Claus. Sombertown has banned toys, and Kris Kringle (formally Claus) has grown into a fine young man and wants to restore his family to the original toymakers of the King. Between literally melting the heart of the Winter Warlock and starting a revolution of toys against Burgermeister Meisterburger, he falls for the beautiful Miss Jessica and each Santa tradition is explained throughout the film (why he goes down chimneys, how reindeers fly etc). Fred Astaire and Micky Rooney voice act in this charming kid’s film that teaches you to always “put one foot in front of the other.”
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Romance.com.au writer Eloise: Is it even Christmas without a re-watch of this absolute holiday classic? This gem of a movie is loosely based on A Christmas Carol and follows the story of George Bailey, who facing ruination on Christmas Eve is brought to the brink, until an angel named Clarence shows him what life would be like without his existence. A simply beautiful look at how one life touches so many others in a community, and a movie that brings me to tears every Christmas. It has the perfect balance of humour and earnestness, and certainly earns its place on this list, and in our hearts.
Special mention to a personal secondary favourite of mine, the Muppet adaptation of this film It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
Home Alone (1990)
Author Rachael Johns: So hard to pick – Love Actually is on repeat round here every year and a new fave is Last Christmas, which just tugged at my heartstrings, but if I have to pick, my fave Christmas movie of ALL time is Home Alone (the first of course). I first watched it as a kid and now watch it every year with my own family. I still laugh just as loud each time Kevin’s genius plans surprise the Wet Bandits and it still gives me a warm buzz at the end when the family is reunited. It’s so farfetched in so many ways, but I feel like that’s part of the fun with Christmas movies. The only thing missing is romance!
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Author Nicola Marsh: Home Alone 2 is my favourite Christmas movie.
No matter how many times I’ve seen it, no matter how dated it is, I always laugh so hard at the antics of Kevin as he brings thieves Harry and Marv undone. My all-time laugh-fest is when Harry’s beanie catches on fire and he douses it in a headstand in the toilet filled with petrol…his expression afterwards is a classic and just thinking about it makes me giggle.
While the movie is all about the laughs, I love the underlying theme of giving to those less fortunate and reaching out to those who need it. It’s a sweet touch amidst the humour.
Die Hard (1988)
Author Jackie Ashenden: My favourite Christmas movie is Die Hard, mainly because it’s the Christmas movie for those who don’t like Christmas movies. And I don’t!
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Author Penelope Janu: While You Were Sleeping, the 1995 romantic comedy film, is a Christmas season favourite at Chez Janu. The movie is not only funny and warm-hearted, the main and secondary characters are really well cast, and even though we only see Christmas at the beginning, I can imagine the cast of characters spending many happy Christmases together thereafter. Sandra Bullock is a standout as Lucy, a ticket collector at a railway station. She has few friends and no family, but when she saves the life of a handsome man, Peter Callaghan, who she’s fallen in love with (even though they’ve never met), everything changes. Due to a mix up at the hospital, Peter’s family thinks Lucy is Peter’s fiancée, and not wanting to upset his family, Lucy plays along. When he can’t remember her, Peter is thought to have amnesia, which is when things get even more complicated!
The romance in this movie is fabulous—a slow burn between Lucy and Jack (Peter’s slightly less handsome but far more adorable brother). And the warmth of the relationship Lucy develops with the extended Callaghan family is just wonderful. I love pretty much everything about this movie!
Last Christmas (2019)
Author R.J. Groves: I’d have to say Last Christmas is one of my favourite Christmas movies. It’s full of Christmas spirit and witty banter, and it’s such a heart-warming movie. While the romance part took a twist that I didn’t see coming in it’s entirety, those romance scenes are incredibly sweet. And who doesn’t love a transformation? Kate goes from running her life into the ground to getting it all together and volunteering at the homeless shelter. A transformation that brings a sweet and happy ending in itself.
A Castle For Christmas (2021)
Author Paula Beavan: Up until about a week ago I would have said “Love Actually” straight off the bat. But then I watched “A Castle for Christmas” and immediately it became my new favourite. I love the setting, because Scotland is my favourite place outside Australia. I think the main character being a writer is great, and then there’s the castle. Actually, it’s probably the castles and Scotland; but the story is good fun, and even if the actor playing the hero isn’t really Scottish, he doesn’t do a bad job of the accent.
Beauty & The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)
Author Alissa Callen: A go-to Christmas movie for me is Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. When my kids were little this was a favourite of my daughters and I’d find myself watching it whenever it was on (which was a lot). The movie encapsulates everything that love about Christmas – the decorations, the traditions and most of all the importance of connection, of belonging and of home.
Holiday In The Wild (2019)
Author Annie Seaton: This year I chanced upon a sweet, seasoned, Christmas romance called Holiday in the Wild.
After getting dumped by her husband, Kate takes their planned second honeymoon by herself — encountering a handsome pilot on her way. Embarking on an African safari, she travels to Zambia and becomes involved with an elephant conservation group.
When she forms a special bond with an orphaned baby elephant, she extends her stay, celebrating Christmas at the sanctuary.
Needless to say, the swoon-worthy pilot lives there too, and the attraction crackles!
With a sweet, slow burning romance—will they or won’t they—and a surprise family visit, Holiday in the Wild is a charming, feel-good Christmas story that tugs at the heartstrings in more ways than one.
Great soundtrack too, if you like your romance served with good music!
Four Holidays (2008)
Author Melanie Milburne: I love the usual Christmas films like A Christmas Carol and Love Actually, but a few years ago I came across a film called Four Holidays featuring two of my favourite actors- Vince Vaughan and Reese Witherspoon. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much since! It is just so hilarious. It’s about a couple who have always avoided spending Christmas with their blended families, but due to a travel glitch (not a pandemic!) they have to go to each of their remarried parents’ homes in turn. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I will definitely be watching it again on Christmas Eve.
White Christmas (1954)
Author Susanne Bellamy: When I was a child, my favourite Christmas movie was White Christmas. I waited all holiday with growing excitement to watch that single showing on Christmas Day of two couples finding love at the Holiday Inn. As a child, that film was Christmas.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Romance.com.au writer Jo-Anne: A classical movie about an affluent family of four daughters who are devastated when their father announces they are leaving St. Louis and moving to New York, this also happens to be one of my all-time favourite Christmas movies. It also introduced one of the most iconic Christmas songs, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, to the world, which also just happens to be sung by one of the most beautiful voices of all time — Miss Judy Garland — and in a scene that reduces me to a blubbering mess. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Throw in some romance and the obligatory schmaltz and your toes will be a-tappin’ in no time!
Love Actually (2003)
Romance.com.au writer Nicola: Someone had to say it. Love Actually lives on as a (if not the) Christmas great. It’s a bit of a middle-aged white bloke’s fantasy (though in my opinion, Laura Linney and Emma Thompson steal the show) but I loved it on first viewing, and as Emma Thompson’s character Karen tells us, ‘True love lasts forever’. Set in the six-week lead-up to Christmas Day, the film intertwines nine stories about love, including that of newly elected British PM and inept dancer David (Hugh Grant) and junior staffer Natalie (Martine McCutcheon); aging rocker Billy (Bill Nighy), who rockets to number one with the atrocious ‘Christmas is All Around’ and realises that the real love of his life is ‘the ugliest man in the world’, his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher); and, famously, gallery curator Mark (Andrew Lincoln), hopelessly smitten with his best friend’s new wife Juliet (Keira Knightley), who creepily proclaims his love with flashcards.
If you can, watch the deleted scenes, for the exceptionally sad story of the headmistress (Anne Reid) and her unnamed lover, played by Frances de la Tour, and a celebration of flatulence by Karen’s son, the despicable 12-year-old Bernard.
Author Susanne Bellamy: These days, in the lead up to Christmas, I always watch Love, Actually with its multiple interwoven stories of love. Not all the stories are deep and meaningful; some are light and silly, but two tales that are guaranteed to bring tears to my eyes (no matter how many times I see this movie!) are Sam and his widowed dad (Liam Neeson), and Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman’s rocky realisation that love is imperfect and hurts.
Author Mandy Magro: My favourite Christmas movie is Love Actually, because it encompasses all facets of love – good, bad, happy, heartbreaking – all of which is portrayed by a stellar cast. No matter how many times I watch it, I still feel every emotion. A wonderful film!
Author Annie West: I’d have to say, though I know it’s not unique, Love Actually. The characters are so good, the variations on romance so much fun, and I adore the feeling of optimism and tenderness at the end. It’s like a big, warm hug. Though there’s one thread of the story (Laura Linney’s) that makes me sad every time, so I tend to fast forward that or go and make a cuppa. Favourite line? When Colin Firth flies in to propose marriage and the town follows him after his soon-to-be sister in law declares he’s come all this way to murder Aurelia (instead of propose to her). Though I love our summer Christmases, there’s something so cosy too, about seeing the wintry festivities in the northern hemisphere too.
Author Darry Fraser: How can a favourite not be ‘Love, Actually’? Christmas is thought to be a time of great sparkle and joy, but within all relationships, there can also be heartache, loneliness and soul-searching, especially at this time of year. Apart from all the funny, wacky, or heart-wrenching and touching stories in the movie, Emma Thompson simply shines her brilliant light as an actor with the most poignant and unparalleled portrayal of a woman whose love has been betrayed.
But I wanted to find an historical movie, one closer to the era in which I write. I got as far back as seventy-four years ago, a stand-out ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. 1947, Jimmy Stewart (George) and Donna Reed (Mary) starred in a Christmas movie exploring depression and hardship, family, friendship, and faith. George is in emotional trouble and Clarence, an angel, is sent to help him. Christmas will be a difficult time for George, but its true spirit brings him back from the brink.