The 12 Greatest Festive Rom-Coms Of All Time

Vicki Notaro lists the best seasonal chick flicks to swoon over on a cold, winter night.

Bridget Jones’ Diary

Bridget’s action takes place across a whole calendar year, but she first sets eyes on Mark Darcy at Christmas time (who could forget the silly reindeer jumper?) and by the time they get their mutual act together, it’s the festive season once again.

Snow makes all big “getting it together, finally” scenes more romantic – fact.

Four Christmases

We adore Queen Witherspoon in STELLAR Towers, and even though this is nowhere near her best, the presence of the from com legend elevates its status. Reese and Vince Vaughan play a couple whose travel plans are thwarted and thus must stay home and visit all of their divorced parents and carious dysfunctional relatives.

Along the way, their own relationship is massively tested. A bit too real for some, perhaps? But the Christmas spirit prevails!

 

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Happiest Season

A relatively new addition to the canon, this one came out in 2020 and flew pretty much under the radar thanks to cinemas being closed. It’s an LGBTQ love story; Kristen Stewart is Abby, going home for Christmas with her new bird Mackenzie.

However, Mack isn’t really out to her family, who are all overachieving, conservative and frankly bitchy nightmares. Dan Levy plays Abby’s BFF, and Aubrey Plaza is Mackenzie’s first love. It’s heartwarming and gas.

Elf

You may not consider Elf to be a rom-com, but if you think about it, it totally is? Buddy’s quest to find his father and along the way, himself, is front and centre to the plot, but a huge part of him becoming the man he was always meant to be is meeting and falling in love with Jovi.

They end up teaching one another about the Christmas spirit, and it’s a very happy ending too. Ahh.

Holidate

I LOVED this smart Netflix rom-com from last year. Emma Roberts plays a cynical gal who hooks up with a random babe (the divine Luke Bracey) for the holiday season in order to stave off loneliness and despair.

Sick of the family questioning their single statuses, they decide pairing up temporarily is no bad thing, so from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Valentine’s and beyond, they’re each other’s plus one. But as in all good romcoms, feelings are caught along the way…

Just Friends

Part of the gross-out genre that was huge in the early 00s, this shouldn’t be a cute or romantic film because parts of it are so drama offensive, but somehow it just is.

Ryan Reynolds plays a womanising workaholic with an ego who ends up at home over Christmas and comes face to face with the woman whose rejection made him a monster. Anna Faris steals the show!

 

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Love Actually

It’s been torn asunder and analysed to death on the internet in recent years, and while Richard Curtis’ crossover rom-com is far from perfect, it is incredibly festive and has some stellar moments in a somewhat clogged screenplay.

Show me a person that doesn’t cry along with Emma Thompson when she discovers her husband has been unfaithful! Prove to me there isn’t a person that doesn’t get “eight is a lot of legs, David!”

While You Were Sleeping

If the gender roles were reversed in this film, it would be seen as extremely creepy. Yet while I can admit that, I also know that I love it and watch it every Christmas.

Lovelorn Sandra Bullock has a commuter crush, and one festive season witnesses an accident that leaves him in a coma. Of course, his family mistake her for his fiancé and seasonal calamity ensues.

 

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Meet Me In St Louis

This is one of my all time favourite films, and while it does span a year in the life of the Smith family, the bulk of the action takes place at Christmas.

Judy Garland is resplendent in a red velvet gown and a divine jewelled headscarf as she belts out Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas in one of the most festive scenes ever committed to film.

The Holiday

Is it even Christmas if you haven’t thrown on this Nancy Myers house swap classic? Cameron Diaz plays a scorned American film editor looking to escape LA for the holidays, while Kate Winslet’s unrequited lover has just revealed his engagement and she needs to flee the Costwolds.

They swap gaffs, meet men, enjoy the perks of a different kind of Christmas, and Jude Law and Cameron make an eye-watering attractive couple.

 

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Serendipity

Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack meet in a busy New York department store at Christmas, both reaching for the same pair of gloves. They click at first sight and have one of those strange, romantic nights together that are rarer than hen’s teeth.

But the pair of absolute eejits have lives back home, so decided to leave whether they’ll meet again up to fate – wrecking their own heads for ever more.

The Family Stone

The romantic element of this film is quite effed up, considering there is essentially a bit of sibling wife swapping going down. But once you get over that, it’s a festive favourite that will make you cringe, cry and coo all at once.

Never have you wanted to slap someone else’s mother harder, or rooted for the leading lady (a delightful neurotic SJP) to fall for her brother’s fella more.

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