I’m new here and this is my first post. Thank you for having me. I’m thrilled that I’m part of Pop Culture Divas with all of you talented writers.

Thanksgiving is in a few days, and we all know what that means: the start of the Christmas season. One of the many things Christmas means to me is holiday movies. I have favorites I watch every year. I decided to write about a few of them. Please feel free to jump in and tell us what your favorites are.

Cara Marsi

“She can’t cook.”

“She can’t cook?”

“No, but, oh, my, what a wife!”

If you’re like me and you love Christmas romance movies, you’ll recognize the above exchange. It comes at the end of one of my favorite movies, Christmas in Connecticut, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan.

I discovered Christmas in Connecticut decades ago, before VCR’s. In those days, near Christmas, I would scour TV Guide to see when the movie was playing again and hope it wasn’t in the middle of the night. I now have it on DVD. Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favorite actresses. I love the premise of this movie. Barbara is an independent, single career woman who lives in an apartment in New York. This is in 1945, mind you. She’s a writer for a women’s magazine. She can’t cook, but she writes a column about cooking and about her wonderful husband and baby and their farm in Connecticut. Of course, there is no husband, baby or farm. And Dennis Morgan, another favorite, plays a sailor, a war hero, who falls in love with her. Only he thinks she’s married. Quite racy for the time. Dennis Morgan is one of my favorite sexy male stars from the Forties and Fifties, but I’ll save that for another post.

I grew up watching the romantic comedies of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties on late night TV. They inspired me to write romance. And for me the Christmas season is a treasure trove of romantic movies.

Holiday Affair with Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum, 1949, is another favorite. If you’ve never seen this movie, I urge you to find it if it’s available on DVD. Comcast On Demand is showing it now through the holidays. If you don’t want to pay for it, check TV Guide. The movie usually plays several times near Christmas. I have it on tape. Janet Leigh is breathtakingly beautiful and Robert Mitchum is macho, handsome and totally sexy. Even though Janet’s character is almost engaged to another man, Mitchum’s character makes no secret of the fact that he wants her. Another racy story for the time. This movie was remade as a TV movie in the Nineties. I like the new version too but it can’t hold a Christmas candle to the original.

I confess to a guilty pleasure in my next movie, Bundle of Joy, 1956, with Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. It’s not a very good movie. A remake of the much better 1939’s Bachelor Mother with Ginger Rogers and David Niven, Bundle of Joy has none of the good acting and sparkle of the original. Yet, I like it. Debbie Reynolds, as an unmarried, just-fired retail clerk who finds a baby, is bubbly and charming. Eddie Fisher, as the scion of a wealthy department story family, couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag. But he does sing some great songs. I love the scene where Eddie takes Debbie to his family’s department store after hours and outfits her in a gown and all the trimmings for their New Year’s Eve date. What a fantasy that is. And the scene where Debbie pretends to be Swedish is priceless.

Another movie that’s not a romance, but is high on my annual list is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Chevy Chase is endearing as a dad who just wants to have an old-fashioned Christmas. Anything and everything that could go wrong does. Through it all, Chevy retains the dream of a perfect holiday.

This next also isn’t a romance, but I have to mention it. My favorite movie version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the 1951 adaptation with Alastair Sim as Scrooge. Many critics rate this as the best one of all A Christmas Carol movies. I like the Nineties version with George C. Scott too.

Then there are all the Christmas romance movies on Lifetime and Hallmark. My husband, who has never read any of my novels or short stories, is a real sucker when it comes to romance movies, especially Christmas ones. Holiday Affair is also a favorite of his. We watch all the Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies together. My husband even cries at some of them. But he’ll deny this.

So there you have it. My holiday viewing guide. What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?


  1. Thanks for the movie suggestions - I'll check them out. I just saw that Reese Witherspoon is releasing a holiday romance in mid-December, and I'll be going to see that one!

  2. Okay, my all time favorite and one I have to watch every Christmas is "Christmas Vacation" with Chevy Chase. It is just too funny and I die laughing every time he climbs on that sled.

  3. Congrats on your first blog post with The Pop Culture Divas, Cara!

    I'm not a fan of vintage films and rarely watch them. My favorite holiday movies are "A Christmas Story" and "Elf."

    Every year I spend one full day wrapping presents while watching "Elf". Then I watch "Home Alone" and other fun films.

    Every year on Christmas Eve my family and I watch "A Christmas Story" together. It doesn't matter that we know the story almost from memory, we still laugh year after year. I cherish this time together.

    Happy holidays!

  4. My hands-down favorite is The Year Without A Santa Claus. Heat Miser and Snow Miser rule! (or wish they did...)

  5. Lynn,I like Reese Witherspoon. I can't wait to see her movie.

    Patsy,I still laugh over Christmas Vacation no matter how many times I see it. I especially love the squirrel in the Christmas tree.

    Adele, I've always enjoyed vintage movies. I like Elf and A Christmas Story also. I used to watch Christmas in Connecticut when I wrapped gifts. It was my little tradition.

    Judi,I need to check out Year Without a Santa Claus. That sounds familiar though. If its a Lifetime or Hallmark I've seen it.

    Thanks for posting, everyone.

  6. Hi Cara - welcome! And fun post! I haven't see all of these films so great of you to mention the movies that don't usually the x-mas lists!

    I must confess I love watching the Anne of Green Gables TV miniseries that first aired in Canada years ago - it is so lovely - and I never get tired of it. ;) I also love Bridget Jones's Diary - what can I say - it's a must see every holiday! ;D

  7. Hi, Joanna, thanks for posting. I figured I'd mention movies that aren't often on lists. I have different tastes in movies and books at times. I never saw the Anne of Green Gables series, but I've heard it was excellent. And I too love Bridget Jones.

  8. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is a must see. Boris Karloff and Chuck Jones are way better than anything Jim Carrey can come up with.

    I also agree with Judi, Heat Miser and Snow Miser are great. I sing along every time.

    And no Christmas is complete without the Yule Log and "A Christmas Story".

  9. Hi, Sheree, thanks for posting. I agree about How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The original is a classic. I've got to find out what the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser are.

  10. Carolyn, that's my favorite version of A Christmas Carol too, and one of my favorite Christmas movies. I hate to be obvious, but I also really like It's a Wonderful Life. A Christmas Story is probably my favorite Christmas movie though.

  11. Lynn, thanks for posting. I do love It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, but I wanted to mention some others I love that aren't as well known.

    Thanks to everyone who posted. It's been fun.

  12. Cara,
    I love all of your holiday movie picks. A favorite of mine is the ORIGINAL MIRACLE ON 34th Street with adorable Natalie Wood! I love the message and the competition of the then two retail powerhouses, GIMBLES and MACY's, the latter is still my favorite store to shop in year round, especially at Xmas. And, Yes I tune in faithfully to the Macy's Day Parade every year and will tomorrow, too!

    Barbara Stanwyck is an amazing actress-loved her in Double Indemnity! :)

    Thanks for sharing these terrific picks,

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