Everyone loves A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Love, Actually, but there are many other movies worth checking out to get you even more excited for this season. Set during the holidays, these films touch on the importance of family, celebration, and togetherness. But the Christmas lights, trees, and traditions that help the plot along don’t hurt either. Here, we list down seven films you need to watch over the Yuletide break.
1. While You Were Sleeping
When Lucy Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) gets mistaken for a comatose man’s (Peter Gallagher) fiancée after saving him from getting run over by a train, she finds herself not just propagating the ruse, but spending Christmas with his whole family as well. The lively bunch takes to Lucy from the get-go, but when her fake fiancee’s brother Jack (Bill Pullman) shows up, Lucy realizes that it’s more than just her charade that’s dangerously close to being exposed.
2. The Holiday
Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) and Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) have had it with men. On a whim, the two women decide to swap houses for two weeks over the holidays. In Los Angeles, Iris revels in Amanda’s large mansion where she meets a friend of Amanda’s ex Miles (Jack Black) and develops a friendship with legendary screenwriter Arthur Abbott (Eli Wallach). Meanwhile, Amanda meets Iris’s brother Graham (Jude Law) in Surrey and finds herself forming an attachment to him despite all her efforts.
3. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
A modern take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past tells the story of playboy Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) who doesn’t believe in love. After a spectacularly bad speech at his brother’s rehearsal dinner, he gets visited by the ghost of his dead uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) who then tells him that he will be visited by three spirits that evening. As was in the original story, Connor also journeys to the past, present, and future, realizes the mistakes he’s made, and resolves to set everything right again.
4. Batman Returns
Before Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, there was Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. In this universe, Gotham City celebrates the holidays under the mercy of the Penguin (Danny DeVito) and business tycoon Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) who plans to build a power plant that will drain the city of its electricity. Add Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) who’s eager for revenge to the mix, and you’ve got a city destined to go under. It’s up to Batman (Michael Keaton) to save Christmas.
5. You've Got Mail
Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) owns a friendly neighborhood book shop called Shop Around the Corner, but when large book retailer Fox Books owned by Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) opens, her business and other small stores are in danger of closing up. Despite flailing financially, Kathleen finds a silver lining in NY152, a man she recently met in a chat room. As the two become closer, they decide to meet up. The only problem is: NY152 is none other than Joe. He finds out Kathleen’s identity, ditches her as NY152, and approaches her as her irritating rival. While the Christmas setting makes the story seem all the more romantic, the two go on to develop a chemistry that’s all their own.
6. Mean Girls
Need to come up with a group performance at the yearly Christmas party or family reunion? Take your cue from the movie Mean Girls. In one scene, The Plastics, composed of Regina George (Rachel McAdams),Gretchen Weiners (Lacey Chabert), Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried), and Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) are dancing along to “Jingle Bell Rock” when Gretchen accidentally causes the stereo to malfunction. Cady saves the performance by singing the next lines of the song, prompting the crowd to join in. High school crisis averted.
7. The Family Stone
If your man is bringing you over to meet his family this Christmas, watching The Family Stone should help calm your nerves. In the movie, Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker) meets her boyfriend’s (Dermot Mulroney) quirky family for the first time. As you might expect, the introductions don’t go as smoothly—Meredith feels out of place in the rambunctious group and her clumsy efforts to get closer to the family only ends up alienating her even more. It all comes to a head at one point and both sides realize that there is more to the other than what meets the eye.