All Things Christmas: Favorite Movies of the Season

We’re well on our way with our All Things Christmas series, where I’m joining book reviewer (and my daughter!) Madi’s Musings for some highlights of favorite books, movies, and music for the holiday season. This week, I’m showcasing some of my family’s favorite Christmas movies (many of which we watch each year), while Madi’s Musings will be sharing delightful gift ideas for the bookworm in your life.

What’s the Christmas season without snuggling under a blanket in your favorite recliner and munching on popcorn while watching your favorite Christmas movie? Add a steaming cup of hot chocolate with puffy marshmallows and a peppermint stick, and you have the perfect setup.

Here, in no particular order, are my picks for favorite movies to enjoy not only for the Christmas season, but all year round.

*Disclaimer: Please excuse the crazy formatting and size variations for this post. For some reason, WordPress was not cooperating with my plans. 🙂


The Nativity Story
Beautifully produced, realistic, and touching, The Nativity Story reminds us of what Christmas is all about.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
It just doesn’t get any better than timeless Charlie Brown classics! Another one we watch every year, A Charlie Brown Christmas is, for the first time, no longer available on network television. But thankfully it is available for purchase and streaming.

The Christmas Cure
Love this family-oriented story with plenty of humor, love, and some dramatic moments. You can find my full review here.

The Christmas Card
Sweet romance movies just really doesn’t get any better than this. Check out my full synopsis and movie review here.

Christmas Angel
As always, Della Reese provides a command performance in this delightful story of friendship. Add a touch of romance between characters played by phenomenal actors Kevin Sorbo and Terri Polo and you’ve got a must-watch for the entire family.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
A touching must-see movie about how reaching out to others can make a difference. For my full movie review, go here.

Wish for Christmas
When a high school girls makes a wish, she has no idea that it’s going to change everything – and not for the better. A mix of humor and drama, this also includes a great lesson of putting others before ourselves and a great one to watch with teens.

Christmas Oranges
A wonderful story for young and old viewers alike. For my full movie review, go here.

Broadcasting Christmas
A fun story about how competition can lead to love.

Silver Bells
A story with a great lesson about the true meaning of Christmas. For my full movie review, go here.

Silver Bells
One of my absolute favorite Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies, Silver Bells is a classic true love story about second chances.

A Dog Named Christmas
A heartwarming movie for all, but especially those who love dogs.

Christmas With Tucker
Another heartwarming movie highlighting family bonds and a special dog.

The Angel Doll
A little girl with polio and a caring big brother set on making his sister’s Christmas special.

Dashing Through the Snow
Looking for a relaxing evening with a romantic comedy? This one is a must-watch.

Switched for Christmas
When two sisters who are completely opposite with completely opposite goals in their lives switch things up for Christmas, what could possibly go wrong? For my full review, go here.

The Christmas Ornament
A beautiful love story about second chances.

For more family movies, please check out my extensive Mom-Approved Movies Listing on this blog. Now, hop on over to Madi’s Musings for some awesome gift suggestions for that bookworm in your life.

Merry Christmas!

Day 7 of the Days of Christmas Book Giveaway Celebration with Penny Zeller & Karen Baney

I am super excited because today commenters have a chance to win a copy of Karen Baney’s book A Dream Unfolding and a copy of my book McKenzie – the first book in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series! Scroll down for the fun question of the day and information on how you can have a chance at winning both books!

A Dream Unfolding 

Here is the blurb about A Dream Unfolding:

The promise of a new life and a chance to start over…
Hannah Anderson had the life she always wanted, married to the man of her dreams. When her husband’s brother gets in trouble with the law, the town turns against them, shattering her perfect life. Now they are left with only one choice–to head west to the Arizona Territory in the hopes of creating a new life. Will the journey be worth the cost?
Will Colter, after burying his father, is forced to leave the ranch he has called home for nearly thirty years. The journey is dangerous, challenging him and his men. Will he find the new life he was hoping for? 
Or, is there a new dream quietly unfolding before their eyes?

And the blurb about McKenzie:

Desperate to save her sister from an abusive husband, socialite McKenzie Worthington responds to a mail-order bride ad in the Montana Territory—where God-fearing rancher Zachary Sawyer prays for a wife to share his life. But when McKenzie arrives with a plan that includes divorce, will Zachary’s persistent kindness and self-sacrifice change her heart?

Today’s fun question is – what is your absolute favorite Christmas song? Leave a comment for a chance to win both books! And don’t forget to go back and leave comments on Days 1-6 for more chances to win. A winner for each day will be chosen at random on December 19. We have only a few more days of the Christmas giveaways left, so be sure to leave a comment! (U.S. residents only, please) Also, confirmed subscribers receive two entries!

And now for some Christmas memories and traditions!

My Christmas Memory by Karen Baney

Karen Baney Ever since I lost my mom, ten years ago now, I have a hard time looking back at holidays.  It seems far easier to stay in the present than to travel back in time to my childhood because I miss her so much.  So, when Penny came up with the idea for this series, I had to work up the nerve to go through some old photo albums.

Boy, am I glad that I did.  I came across this picture from my mom on Christmas Day 1986.  This is the perfect picture to describe a long standing Armstrong gift-giving tradition that Mom instigated.

Don’t worry.  Mom didn’t really get a box of Fruit & Cream Oatmeal for Christmas.  Nope.  Instead, Dad took the lovely string of pearls in the iconic felt jewelry box and wrapped it inside the oatmeal box which then got a layer of wrapping paper.

Our tradition: disguise gifts, double wrap gifts, hide gifts around the house.  Anything was acceptable.  I think one of us girls even got a bra wrapped in a two-cup measuring cup one year.  That was Mom’s idea.  She loved it—two cups having double meaning and all.

Yeah, we were creative (evil) with gift wrapping.  Half the time I think we put more thought and effort into making it a challenge to open gifts than we did on the gift itself.

Just in case you think this tradition died in the 90’s when the last Armstrong graduated high school, think again.  The story of how my brother proposed and gave his future wife the engagement ring involves many boxes, duct tape, and a very patient woman.

The best part?  As our family grows we have even more people to torture with creative (evil) gift wrapping techniques.  The Armstrong Family Tradition lives on.  (Mwahaha!)

Join Karen and 9 other Christian authors as they celebrate the release of her new novel Nickels, with a blow out $0.99 sale for Kindle books.   http://womensliterarycafe.com/content/december-2011-book-launches You can connect with Karen at http://www.karenbaney.com/

My Favorite Christmas Traditions by Penny Zeller

Years ago, my husband and I started three fun traditions with our children that we look forward to each Christmas season, in addition to attending Christmas Eve services at church. Each year…

We go “Lighting.” Everyone snuggles into their pajamas, then we head out in the car for a drive around town and a night of enjoying the creativity of those who use Christmas lights to decorate their houses. We then grab a bite to eat – since we’re in our PJs, we go through the drive-thru of course!

Our second fun tradition is that our girls exchange “Gag Gifts.” These are presents that appear to be normal to the unsuspecting eye (and are wrapped beautifully), but inside contain wacky gifts, such as an empty milk jug for the daughter who loves milk or an old avocado seed for the daughter who detests avocados! We capture these hilarious moments on film and laugh about these gifts for months afterward.

Finally, our third yearly tradition takes place on Christmas night. We watch Christmas movies (The Nativity Story, etc.) and for dinner we eat popcorn, crackers with spray cheese, and other fun junk food items. My husband found some large football-shaped plates from the Dollar Store that we use only on this special night. Our daughters have commented that we are the “coolest” parents because we allow them to have an all-you-can-eat Christmas dinner with nothing nutritious!

But no matter how many traditions the Zeller Family enjoys each year, the most important thing we celebrate as a family is the celebration of Jesus Christ!

Penny loves to hear from her readers at her website at www.pennyzeller.com, here on her blog,  and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks.