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I’ve compiled my list of the top Christmas movies of all times. My favorites to say the least. And no, “A Christmas Story” is not on the list, classic though it may be. If you have a free night with your friends, or if your family watches movies after Christmas dinner, I’ve provided a list of films that you may want to check out. Grab a few bottles of wine, some tissue and all your blankets. It is time to curl up with the ones you love and get into the holiday spirit.

Love Actually (2003)
When people ask what we should watch around the holidays, my first thought is always “Love Actually”. But I have to remember the first line of the movie is filled with expletives (which I usually recite along with the character). Also in this film there is nudity, sexual innuendo, children with transgender dolls. NOT AT ALL A family friendly film, despite Freeform’s attempts to censor it. But I love this film because I laugh, I cry, I cringe, I cheer. You will feel every emotion for this film that intersects no less than 10 different storylines, all taking place over the five weeks leading up to Christmas. This is not your typical holiday film. But for me it is perfect.

The Holiday (2006)
This film probably spoke to single women in progressive nations around the world. It definitely spoke to me. Premise: In an effort to forget their present relationship status, a British woman in a one-sided love affair and an American woman in a failed long-term relationship swap houses for the Christmas holiday. The exchange doesn’t have the desired effects initially because it exacerbates their internal struggles, but in the end it forces them to explore parts of themselves that they had forgotten. I love Kate Winslet’s character so much and I relate to Cameron Diaz’s character more and more as I get older. I love Nancy Meyer films. And I love almost every score by Hans Zimmer. So just imagine her story telling with his audio support. Perfection.

This Christmas (2007)
Despite the brevity of this film, I felt like I knew every character in this movie. And the fact that they called their mother “Ma’dear” (not Tyler Perry’s Madea) endeared them all to me as my maternal grandmother was Ma’dear. If you aren’t familiar with the term, don’t take it personal—it truly is a HISTORICAL part of black culture that I’m not going to explain here. Anyway, all of Ma’Dear’s children come home for Christmas bringing all of their personal drama. It was predictable, but still GREAT to see people who spoke like my family (educated but not crazy wealthy) portrayed in a film. To my non African-American readers: The vernacular of this family is exactly that of my family.

The Family Stone (2005)
Where do I begin? Dianne Keaton. The end. LOL. No, I kid but she is amazing in this film, where her son brings home his frigid girlfriend to meet his regular-degular family. This film is so honest without being dark that I almost cried. You wouldn’t have to change one word of dialogue for this film to represent any American family. If I were a filmmaker, I’d remake this film in ten years with an all black cast. Claire Danes and Rachel McAdams are two of the other female actors in the film. But just grab your tissue. It’s a good one.

The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
Let me be very clear: The soundtrack ALONE is reason enough to watch the movie. Whitney Houston sings her face off in nearly every montage. But back to the film. It is a remake of an older film “the bishop’s wife”, but this version features an all black cast including Denzel Washington (uh, yes), Courtney B. Vance (oh absolutely) and the incomparable, late, great Whitney Houston. If you believe in love, angels and Christmas miracles—this film will give you ALL the feels. You can be sure that it is a sweet film with a sweet ending—as most Christmas movies are, but this film takes me right back to my childhood. And I miss Whitney Houston’s presence all over again. Trust me. Its worth a watch.

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