There’s a specific kind of movie that shows up in my house at Christmastime.
It’s the kind of movie that is set in a picturesque location and includes a charming house or even houses. The actors – from the stars to the supporting – are fabulous. It’s funny and sweet and there’s a little romance. And does it go without saying that it takes place during the holidays? Well, I said it anyway.
The guys in my house would call this kind of movie a chick flick. And while they’re open to watching one now and again – and may even tell you that they enjoyed it – they’re generally not down with watching the same one year after year the way my daughter and I are.
All of which makes this the perfect kind of movie to wrap presents to.
Because I’m usually wrapping presents alone.
And I need something on TV where I don’t have to pay attention to every single frame, but that lets me look up and pay attention at my favorite parts, or even take a little wrapping break to just enjoy the “feel” of the movie for a while.
So here – in no particular order – is my list of movies to wrap to:
While You Were Sleeping
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Jack Warden, and Glynis Johns (the mom from Mary Poppins – still adorable!)
Why it’s great: Has there ever been a more perfect girl next door than Sandra Bullock or a more perfect boy next door than Bill Pullman? The Joe Jr. character is a funny surprise (“I seen how you look at him. Like you just seen your first Trans Am.”). And lots of shots of Chicago at Christmastime.
Location: London and thereabouts
Cast: Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Keira Knightly, Liam Neeson, and Hugh Grant (plus look for January Jones in a small part)
Why it’s great: It’s British, so there’s that. And while big ensemble movies sometimes don’t live up to the high expectations they set, this is an exception. And, oh yeah, it’s British.
Location: L.A. and rural England
Cast: Funny American actors: Cameron Diaz and Jack Black. Charming British actors: Kate Winslet and Jude Law. Plus, Eli Wallach!, Ed Burns, and John Krasinski in a small part.
Why it’s great: The Holiday was written and directed by Nancy Meyers, known for making movies “starring” great houses (It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give) and the plot of this movie revolves around a house swap, so enough said.
The Family Stone
Location: New England
Cast: Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson, Claire Daines, and Rachel McAdams
Why it’s great: It’s the perfect combination of funny and poignant and anyone who has been in a big, close family will recognize the dynamics of when a new person is brought in. Plus, the extended family coming home to the charming old house in snowy New England creates the perfect holiday vibe.
So I’d like to know: Do you have a favorite movie to wrap to (or bake to or decorate to) at Christmas?