The Best Romantic Christmas Movies (From 1940 Till Now)

01 Dec 2023
11 min read
Romantic Christmas Movies: Your Advent Calendar for 2023

Put up the tree. Light some scented candles. Dim the lights. Grab a blanket and a snack. It’s time to snuggle up with the one you love and watch some romantic Christmas movies. You turn on your TV, but what should you pick? Do you feel like you’ve been recycling the same three Christmas movies for the past few years, and it’s time for something new?

We’ve got you covered. Here is a list of romantic Christmas movies that have touched hearts for the past 80 years. Pick a few for a date or your own holiday entertainment.

Top Christmas movies: Shop Around the Corner movie poster

1940 – The Shop Around the Corner

Enemies to lovers? A hidden romantic relationship? This romantic Christmas movie portrays two coworkers who absolutely cannot stand each other. But through some twist of ironic fate, they unknowingly become each other’s pen pals and fall for each other through the letters they write to each other.

Related reading: Words of Affirmation – How to Make Them Into Love Language?

Meet Me in St Louis: One of the oldest of best romantic Christmas movies

1944 – Meet Me in St. Louis

Does the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” ring a bell? Throughout the holiday season, you likely hear it playing over and over again whenever you go out. However, this song came from one of the best romantic Christmas movies to be released.

Meet Me in St. Louis focuses on the trials and tribulations of the Smith family and the family drama they must endure. Intrigued? Then watch it now!

Classic Christmas movies: Christmas in Connecticut

1945 – Christmas in Connecticut

It is one of the best romantic Christmas movies where a person’s fantasy life finally catches up to them. Elizabeth Lane is a journalist who portrays herself as the perfect housewife who lives on a farm out in the country. She is told that a war hero will spend time on her farm for the sake of a story. The only problem is that she has no home-making skills and lives in a small apartment in the city.

Best romantic Christmas movies of all times: It's a Wonderful Life

1946 – It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic film that is showcased as one of the most romantic holiday movies to ever be made. The movie is so popular that even though not everyone has seen it, it’s almost impossible to find an adult who hasn’t at least heard about the film in some way, shape, or form.

What’s the plot, you wonder? After becoming convinced that his life has no worth, on Christmas Eve, George Bailey sets off to end things. This spins into a tale across time in which George is shown just how many people he has helped and, in turn, how much his existence has made things for the better.

This Christmas-time classic remains a pop culture phenomenon. It’s no wonder, considering its cast includes James Cagney, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore.

The Apartment: Romantic Christmas movie from the 1960s

1960 – The Apartment

The Apartment is considered to be one of the best comedic romantic Christmas movies of all time. It features Bud Baxter, a man who gets ahead in his work by allowing the higher-ups in his field of work to use his home for their affairs. Of course, it makes for an interesting holiday season when he begins to develop feelings for one of those mistresses.

Babes in Toyland: Christmas mood from Walt Disney

1961 – Babes in Toyland

Although it’s not the most romantic Christmas movie of the season, this film features characters from your childhood fairytale or mothergoose stories. It is a great film to watch with your partner, especially once the holiday spirit starts to bring you closer to each other.

Related reading: Rainy Day Date Ideas You Ought to Try

When Harry met Sally: One of the best movies of all times (including Christmas time)

1989 – When Harry Met Sally

When it comes to one of the best movies to watch during the Christmas season, When Harry Met Sally is a wonderful film that explores the age-old question, “Can a man and a woman really just be friends?”. This film showcases the adventures that Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) have over the years and ends with a beautiful Christmas romance.

Related reading: How to Get Out of The Friend Zone: A Jerk-Free Guide

Christmas movies selection: While Your Were Sleeping movie poster

1995 – While You Were Sleeping

The way to find true love can take many interesting twists and turns, and this is exactly what this romantic Christmas movie is all about. Sandra Bullock, who plays the character Lucy, finds herself in quite a predicament when she is saved by the man whom she has a crush on from an oncoming train. He is left in a coma she is mistaken for his fiance and finds herself spending the holidays with his family.

Of course, if that’s not enough drama for you, she starts to fall in love with his brother! So no worries – some interesting time is guaranteed with this movie at hand!

Related reading: Loving More Than One – Is It Possible?

Christmas season romantic classics: The Preacher's Wife with Whitney Houston

1996 – The Preacher’s Wife

Have you ever thought that a guardian angel would fall for you? That’s exactly what happens during this romantic Christmas film.

A preacher begins to lose control of the church he is in charge of, and Dudley, his guardian angel, comes to his aid. But while helping him through a turbulent time, he begins to develop romantic feelings towards his wife.

This is one of the most romantic Christmas movies you must add to your holiday calendar because of not only an interesting story but also an outstanding cast – The Preacher’s Wife stars Denzel Washington, Courtney B Vance, and Whitney Houston.

Serendipity: The best movie for a romantic Christmas day spent together

2001 – Serendipity

Serendipity has to be one of the best romantic Christmas movies to have been made. Two people meet on a night during the holidays, possibly Christmas Eve, and fall in love and expect to be together forever. But it seems to become the breakup story, as they meet only to become separated for nearly 10 years before reuniting.

It’s a story of fate and love, and how it can strange it can be. The great acting in this movie can be attributed to the casting of both Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack.

Related reading: Does Distance Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

Bridget Jones's Diary: Production Co: Columbia Pictures, Universal, Miramax

2001 – Bridget Jones’s Diary

If you want to check out a hilariously relatable film on Christmas Day or any other day of the year, you need to watch this movie. Bridget Jones is the main character of this film, and she desperately wants to improve herself for the new year. So, in preparation for New Year’s Eve, she begins to track everything about herself in a diary.

I mean, who hasn’t gone through an attempted journey of self-improvement? But like many other romantic comedies, this film has to throw in a twist. Of course, that twist has to come in the form of two very attractive men. See what happens next!

Related reading: ENM Relationship: What Is Ethical Non-Monogamy?

Love Actually: Romance and Christmas holiday spirit in the air with the legendary Hugh Grant performance

2003 – Love Actually

“Tell her that you love her. You’ve got nothing to lose, and you’ll always regret it if you don’t.”

Daniel

Well, if you’re looking for quantity over quality when it comes to romantic Christmas movies, Love Actually is the perfect film for you to check out. You’ll love it even more if you enjoy Hugh Grant being Hugh Grant.

When watching this Christmas movie, you get to follow the story of 10 romantic couples, including Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln. It’s interesting to see how each of their lives intertwines with one another, and how they end up with their dream partners at the end.

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Elf, one of the top Christmas movies

2003 – Elf

Elf is an absolutely hilarious family comedy with a romantic story woven within. The plot is simple: Buddy the Elf gets to leave the North Pole for the first time and goes right to New York to meet his birth father.

This movie has been popular during the holiday season for years to come. We also love seeing how Buddy’s romantic interest helps to save Christmas by bringing everyone together through the power of song on Christmas Eve. Maybe it’s not a fully romantic Christmas film, but it’s definetely the romantic story within the film.

The Family Stone with Sarah Jessica Parker

2005 – The Family Stone

This Christmas movie is set on the East Coast and stars Sarah Jessica Parker as an uptight business executive opposite Dermot Mulroney. She struggles to relax and enjoy herself with his liberal, off-beat family, who sees her as stuck up and unrelatable. Her boyfriend is less than supportive, but she begins to find some solace in his brother.

This movie is worth watching for the A-list cast. It also stars Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Clair Danes, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, and Diane Keaton.

Christmasterpiece Theater - Just Friends - New Line Cinema

2005 – Just Friends

This Christmas movie stars sexy Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Ana Faris, Chris Klein, and other talented performers. The plot follows Reynolds, starting as an overweight high schooler who leaves town humiliated after his crush rejects him. He vows to become a great success, which he accomplishes, but he also becomes a womanizing jerk. Later, he returns to his hometown and reconnects with his past. What happens next? Watch the movie to know!

Related reading: Situationship vs Friends with Benefits: Which Is Better for You?

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The Holiday, classic Christmas romance by Columbia Pictures

2006 – The Holiday

“It’s Christmas Eve and we are going to go celebrate being young and being alive.”

Miles

You can’t go wrong with a movie that stars Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, and Jude Law. Winslet stars as Iris, a wedding columnist who simply wants to get away when her heart is broken. The girls exchange their lives for a couple of days – and quickly encounter some romantic adventures that are too hard to stand!

The story is well-written, and the acting is great. Watch for things to get very interesting on New Year’s Eve.

Fred Claus, Warner Bros production

2007 – Fred Claus

Imagine Santa as the perfect golden child in his family. Who would you have to play his bitter, underachieving older sibling?

The movie’s answer is Vince Vaughn. Sounds terribly funny, ha? If you’re looking for a black comedy to watch over the holidays, you can find that combination in Fred Claus.

The Spirit of Christmas, a TV movie by David Jackson

2015 – The Spirit of Christmas

Looking to add some supernatural elements to the holidays? Get into The Spirit of Christmas!

In this not-quite-traditional but still romantic Christmas movie, Jen Lilley stars as a lawyer who encounters a sexy ghost (Thomas Beaudoin). He can only appear in human form before Christmas and complicates her plans to sell a historic inn. Can she find a love interest from beyond the grave? That’s the intrigue to see!

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Last Christmas, Universal Pictures production

2019 – Last Christmas

You can find a nice collection of Christmas movies from Universal Pictures. One of these is Last Christmas.

It’s a sweet story inspired by Wham’s ever-popular holiday tune by the same name, featuring the legendary Mother of Dragons, Emilia Clarke.

Happiest Season, released by Sony Pictures Releasing and Entertainment One

2020 – Happiest Season

Everyone deserves to have a romantic Christmas, and that’s exactly what this movie gives us. Almost every single romance movie features the relationship between a man and a woman. However, Happiest Season was the first of many romantic Christmas movies to feature a lesbian couple.

This movie features a sweet romance between Abby and Harper. Abby visits Harper’s family for the holidays only to find out that Harper hasn’t actually come out to her family. This dysfunctional family twist is a great film for any young woman or man who has to hide their love life by acting as if the person they love is nothing more than their best friend.

Feliz NaviDAD, the must-have in your movie holiday calendar

2020 – Feliz NaviDAD

Mario Lopez stars as a single dad who gave up on Christmas after losing his wife over the holidays. He’s spent several years avoiding all things Christmas-related, but this year, his daughter, despite the divorced parents’ trauma, decides he needs to regain the Christmas spirit and find romance.

Love Hard, a movie for holidays that you can find on Netflix

2021 – Love Hard

Most surprises from this dating app are something to look forward to. It could be a sign that you are going to cross paths with your dream man.

But in this film, that surprise ends up being a catfish. When you expect a handsome man and get someone completely different, what will you do when he promises to introduce you to the man whose pictures he used?

Related reading: Questions to Ask on a Dating App

Christmas with You, another Netflix movie on our list

2022 – Christmas With You

This Netflix movie features Freddie Prinze Jr. and Aimee Garcia as a classically mismatched Christmas couple. She’s a pop star in search of some grounding and a break from her hectic life. He’s the stable, small-town guy.

As expected, they spend the entire movie avoiding falling in love despite the fact that they are clearly meant to be together. Yes, it’s corny and uses all of the usual made-for-TV movie plot devices. Still, it’s sweet and fun for a date night or to watch with the entire family.

Related reading: How to Play Hard to Get

Christmas Ring, a Hallmark movie

2022 – The Christmas Ring

Is it really the holiday season if you haven’t watched at least one Hallmark movie? Let’s fix it with The Christmas Ring!

It’s the story of a reporter who decides to seek out the story behind an antique engagement ring inscribed, “Our Christmas 1948”. She partners with the grandson of the engagement ring’s owners. Predictably, romance follows.

Looking for more Hallmark movies to experience the true meaning of the holiday? Then try also The Sound of Christmas – a story of a music teacher who finds Christmas love.

Numerous romantic holiday movies are based on Christmas carol

1970-2022 – Christmas Carol

Christmas Carol has over 20 adaptations, so the production year is vague. Feel free to choose any of them:

  • Are you interested in watching the classic version? Try the 1970 movie starring Albert Finney.
  • What about a zany comedy version with plenty of slapstick? Look up Scrooged, then!
  • And what is you want a zany comedy with muppets and a surprisingly well-acted performance by Michael Caine? Then, you want the Muppet Christmas Carol.

There are even a few animated versions if that’s your preferred form of entertainment. In any case, pick the one you like and watch Scrooge learn important things about humanity.

By the way, Collider has prepared a great guide with detailed descriptions of each adaptation. Read it to make an informed choice!

Wonka, or just something sweet on New Year's Eve for everyone

2023 – Wonka

It is the only movie on our list that you can still watch in a movie theater this Christmas season. The sweet romance was not guaranteed by its trailer, but its sweetness is overloaded thanks to the chocolate that makes you fly!

We highly recommend seeing this story on Christmas or New Year’s Eve. We at Hily anticipate this movie so much that even designed a Wonka-themed Snapchat lens with dating predictions. Check it out while it’s still available!

Bonus: Not Quite Christmas Movies Yet Good for Festive Season

While I’m writing this material, it’s not Christmas yet, but it feels like the holiday has been forced upon us since August. I’ve had quite enough romantic holiday cheer at this point. If my parents once again ask me how is my romantic life going, I just might just send that red man who comes down my chimney right back up it. For me, the idea of watching any more romantic movies makes my teeth itch.

What’s the antidote if you feel the same but still want to have that merry little Christmas? I know the answer – you need a refreshing dose of Christmas movies that aren’t really romantic Christmas movies! Here are the ones I plan for my proudly single Christmas Day marathon:

  • Diehard
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Home Alone
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Batman Returns
  • Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Keep Your Eye Out

You’ll never run out of romantic Christmas movies. Every year, you’ll find at least one new film to enjoy with someone you love. So, take a moment and enjoy a holiday movie night. If you don’t have a cuffing partner for Christmas, check out our dating app to make a holiday connection – or simply watch a Christmas movie where there is no romantic love. There are no strict rules: just be happy and feel festive in the way you want!

Love&Sex Expert
Cherie Hamilton
I’ve always been inspired by women who are outgoing, very sure of themselves, and not afraid to be who they were, including their sex lives. Under their tutelage, I gradually shed my old self, hung out and socialized with them, and, over time, became the empowered, self-confident, and sexual woman I am today. Happy to share my insights with other women today!
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