You might say the best parts of the holidays are the feelings of comfort and joy or the time spent with loved ones. If you’re being completely honest, you might even say the best parts of the holidays are the food and the presents. But that’s all wrong.
We know the truth: The best part of the holidays is the entertainment, particularly the themed romantic. comedies. They are more comforting than stuffing and mashed potatoes, more heartwarming than Christmas carols and more joyful than buying or unwrapping the perfect gift from a loved one.
So, what are you going to watch during that magical month between Thanksgiving and Christmas? While we know you have your favorites, there’s always room for more, whether you’re icing cookies, wrapping presents or just relaxing with a hot toddy after a long day.
Without further ado, these are our very favorite holiday rom-coms of all time.
This is a controversial pick because this movie definitely has its lovers and its haters, but the truth is a holiday rom-com list wouldn’t be complete without this 2003 classic film that follows eight different couples through the month before Christmas in London, England. Put aside your worries for, like, 135 minutes and relax with this new classic.
‘While You Were Sleeping’
It’s Christmas again, the magical time when your distant crush falls into a coma and you pretend to be his fiancée and then fall in love with his brother.
We love this 1995 throwback. Starring Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman, it has just the right mix of situational hilarity and romance, not to mention some great holiday scenes.
‘The Family Stone’
Almost all of us have had the experience of going home for the holidays to meet the family of the person you’ve been dating — and being met with a crazy collection of relatives and a lot of drama to boot. This is one of those stories. Made in 2000, it stars Sarah Jessica Parker as an uptight career woman who isn’t quite ready to be thrown in with her boyfriend’s eccentric tribe. We are here for the story as well as for the all-star cast, which also includes Claire Danes, Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams.
This totally feel-good Christmas movie from 1954 is about a song-and-dance team who meets another song-and-dance team — and romantic sparks fly along with a wonderful number of song and dances. It all comes to a head when the foursome travel to a Vermont lodge for a Christmas show and a number of mix-ups and hijinks ensue.
‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’
This 2001 classic is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which automatically makes it an all-time amazing romantic comedy. It also takes place over the course of one year, beginning and ending with the holiday season, making it delightfully Christmassy. We love the chemistry between Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth and could basically watch this over and over again. It’s an especially good one if it’s just you, a glass a wine and a pint of ice cream for the night. We like you just the way you are!
Do you ever just want to leave the freaking country for the holidays — and also maybe meet the love of your life? Well, you might want to check out The Holiday from 2006, in which two unlucky-in-love women who need a fresh start decide to swap houses from across the pond for Christmas. While Californian Cameron Diaz falls for Jude Law in England, Kate Winslet travels to California, where she meets the delightfully zany Jack Black.
If you are a believer in fate and also a believer in the cuteness of John Cusack, your favorite holiday rom-com may well be 2001’s Serendipity. When our two love interests meet in New York on Christmas Eve, both trying to buy the same pair of gloves at a department store, they aren’t sure whether or not they belong together. But 10 years later, as they are both approaching marriage, they wonder if they should try to find each other.
This one’s pretty sappy, but it’s oozing with a wintery mix of love and joy.
‘Home for the Holidays’
This is a favorite holiday romantic comedy of ours because it’s about a single mom (Holly Hunter) who is navigating the holidays alone and not in the best place in her life. When she decides to return home for the first time in years, she’s met by an oddball cast of characters (including Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Claire Danes and Steve Guttenberg).
Of course, this 1995 holiday flick also happens to have a love interest, played by Dylan McDermott – the friend her brother brings to ring in the holidays.
‘Meet Me in St. Louis’
Although only part of this film (which spans a year) focuses on the holidays, the scene in which timeless star Judy Garland sings, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and the snowman scene that follows are two of the most touching holiday moments in movies.
Filled with song, dance and period costumes, we love this musical romantic comedy from 1944, whether we’re watching in black-and-white or Technicolor.
When couple Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn are forced to cancel their tropical Christmas vacation and instead visit all four of their family’s holiday gatherings, many hijinks and conflicts unfold involving a huge cast of colorful friends and relatives. In the end of the romantic comedy, though, love wins (as you might guess).
This 2008 film is not exactly considered a critical darling, but we love the slapstick and ridiculousness of it all — and it’s a welcome modern change from some of the more worn classics.
‘The Family Man’
If you’re totally sick of It’s a Wonderful Life and need a different holiday movie that’s about a man who is magically put into a different universe on Christmas Eve, check out The Family Man.
This 2000 film starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni is about a bachelor businessman who suddenly finds himself living an alternate life with a wife, kids and a minivan in the suburbs. What happens next will… well, it probably won’t surprise you. But it’s a magical holiday movie about gratitude and family all the same.
‘The Shop Around the Corner’
Did you know that years before It’s a Wonderful Life hit the theaters, Jimmy Stewart starred in another totally wonderful holiday movie? And that movie was the inspiration for the non-holiday rom-com You’ve Got Mail? If you haven’t seen The Shop Around the Corner, it is such a lovely classic film filled with wonderful writing and warmth. The best part is the finale, which takes place on Christmas, when our two protagonists finally get together at last.
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