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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


It’s Christmas Eve and my turn to blog. When the festivities of Christmas day are over and you can breathe again, relax, take off your shoes, prop your feet up, have a glass of wine and watch holiday movies.

In an effort to help you choose which ones to watch, I’ve listed a few of my favorites.

“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 romantic comedies, 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. (Did I mention I’m a TV and movie junkie?) I now have it on DVD so I can watch any time I want. 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.

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 shows it through the holidays. Or check TV Guide. The movie usually plays several times near Christmas. 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. Holiday Affair is a favorite of my husband’s too. This movie was remade as a TV movie in the Nineties. I like the new version also but it can’t hold a Christmas candle to the original.

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 of all A Christmas Carol movies. I like the Nineties version with George C. Scott too. I also have the book and treat myself to a reading of it every Christmas season.

How could I forget that perennial favorite, White Christmas? I know it’s corny, but the music is great, the movie is colorful and festive and it will make you smile and laugh. And it has a terrific romance.

Of course, there’s It’s a Wonderful Life. This movie about a man realizing he’s had a most wonderful life after all and has all he needs in front of him will make you cry and want to hug your loved ones a little harder.

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. We watch all the Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies together. My husband even cries at some of them. But he’ll deny this.

Because I love the Hallmark/Lifetime movies, I wrote a holiday romance, A Groom for Christmas, that is very much like those movies, with some intense love scenes. My book also touches on the things we hold dear about Christmas—family, rituals, love, joy. I’ve also written a new take on the classic Cinderella tale, A Cinderella Christmas, a fantasy filled with Christmas spirit, in more ways than one.

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

Blurb for A Groom for Christmas:
When a young woman hires her hometown’s former bad boy to be her pretend fiancé for the holidays, she finds she can’t wrap up her feelings as easily as a Christmas gift.
New York jewelry designer Graceann Palmer has two days to find a fiancé to bring home to Pennsylvania for the holidays so her matchmaking mama will quit fixing her up with jerks. The Falcon, a motorcycle-riding, leather-clad former high school crush, helped her out once before. Maybe he'll do it again.
Jake Falco, man of many mysteries, is back in town on a mission—one the people of Spirit Lake most likely won't appreciate. When Graceann presents him with her crazy scheme, it gives him something he's always wanted—a chance to get to know Graceann. It also gives him the perfect opportunity to add fuel to his project of revenge.
But as Jake and Graceann grow closer, their engagement-of-convenience begins to feel like the real deal—until Jake’s secrets are revealed.
Can a relationship that began with lies and secrets bloom like a rare Christmas rose into happily-ever-after?

Blurb for A Cinderella Christmas:
Jessica Gallo no longer believed in fairy tales or happy endings. And she certainly didn't believe she'd find her Prince Charming at Saks Fifth Avenue. Her Fairy Godmother thought differently.


Jeanine said...

Two movies I didn't know of! Thanks. Good luck with your holiday books.

Tina Donahue said...

I've always loved "A Christmas Carol", but then I'm a Dicken's freak. :) Also love the one with the little boy in the 50's who wants a BB gun. Hysterical.

Could never get into the Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie (can't recall it's name - it's advertised heavily on cable). I found it too depressing the one time I did try to watch it.

Cara Marsi said...

Jeanine and Tina, thanks for taking time during a busy day to comment.

Tina, the Jimmy Stewart movie you mention is "It's a Wonderful Life" which I list in my blog but I don't say who's in it. I love the movie but watched it so many times that I'm tired of it. The copyright expired and it was in the public domain for years so was shown ad nauseam over and over. Now NBC owns the rights and they show it only once a year.

The one about the BB gun is "A Christmas Story," which many love. I've seen it, like it, but don't love it which is why I didn't list it. However, it is very beloved by so many.

Melissa Keir said...

What a great list. I know that Love Actually isn't a typical holiday movie but I love to watch it during the holidays. It reminds me of the different types of love.

A Christmas Story was filmed in Cleveland and around my hometown so my dad loves it. We also like to watch the original Home Alone movie. I know it's not a romance but what a great story of friendship and looking beyond the face. The old man will break your heart.

Gemma Juliana said...

Thanks for this list of movies, Cara. We are heading over to my son's home in half an hour and want to watch a movie tonight. Now I have a few extra to suggest. I will check all of them out. I suggest you find out how to submit your book to Hallmark -- it is worthy of being made into a Christmas movie!

Paris said...


"It's A Wonderful Life" always kicked off the holiday season for me. When my kids were growing up we loved "A Christmas Story". These days, the Hallmark channel is usually my go to movie choice during the holidays. I love the Mrs. Miracle movies. Your holiday books sound like fun reads, good luck!

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