‘Tis the Season for Christmas Movies

I love Christmas movies. Especially the classics. Miracle on 34th Street is probably my all-time favorite. It’s a Wonderful Life is  a close second.

It’s rare to find a western romance Christmas movie. At least for me. (I don’t have time for the Hallmark Christmas movie marathons.) Maybe you know of some good ones to recommend. Please leave me movie names in the comments!

I did run across a made for TV Christmas movie many years ago that has stuck with me. It was as corny as all get out, but I loved every minute of it. Dolly Parton and Lee Majors were the two stars. It dates all the way to my high school years – 1986. A Smoky Mountain Christmas. Anyone remember this one? I actually bought a copy of it about five years ago, just because I wanted to see it again.

Dolly plays country music star Lorna Davis who is suffering from writer’s block, so she decides to leave the big city and get back to her roots in the Smoky Mountains over the holidays. When she gets to her cabin, however, it’s filled with seven orphaned children who are hiding away from a bad situation. This is where the plot overlaps with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Mountain Dan has been watching out for the kids on the sly, which bring him into contact with Lorna and pulls him out of his hermit shell. The two of them work together to save the kids. But not only the kids need saving In true Snow White style, there is a wicked witch, a poison apple, and a true love’s kiss that come into play as well. Yes, it’s corny – I warned you – but for someone who loves fairy tales and rugged mountain men and heroines who take in orphans – it was perfect.

Besides, it might have been a few years between this show and Lee Majors’s appearance as Heath Barkley on The Big Valley, but he still makes a mighty fine western hero.

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  • What are your favorite holiday movies?
  • Any recommendations for romantic western Christmas movies?
Karen Witemeyer

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.


40 Comments

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  1. Good morning- I love the ones you named and Dolly & Lee’s movie is one of my moms favorite.
    I watch 2 movies this year that were great
    A Bramble House Christmas and The Christmas Train. Both very very wonderful movies.
    Hope you & your family have a very Merry Christmas.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Tonya. I’m going to look those up!

  2. I love the ones who are your favorites. I remember A Young Pioneer Christmas and Cowboy Christmas. My favorite right now is The Christmas Card.

    1. Ooo – those sounds like titles I would enjoy, Debra. Thanks. 🙂

  3. I have been watching a lot of movies on the Hallmark channel lately. They have a lot of good ones this year.

    1. Hmm…I might have to tune in if I can find some time this weekend.

  4. I do not watch movies—-never have. Would rather read.

    1. Hooray for books, Estella! I’m getting ready to start fellow filly Linda Broday’s Christmas anthology. I love the Christmas novella collections that pop up this time of year. 🙂

  5. You don’t really see that many western Christmas movies. Someone needs to work on that! I love The Christmas Card…my all time favorite! I watch it multiple times every year. Karen, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

    1. That’s the second recommendation for The Christmas Card. I’m definitely checking that one out! Thanks, Melanie. May you and yours have a blessed Christmas, too!

  6. Good morning Karen, I totally agree with your choices. I have always loved Miracle and Wonderful Life and Dolly is always a favorite. In fact, the past two years, there have been TV movies about her growing up years in Tennessee and they are “heartwarming and tear worthy”. I always mention that White Christmas is my favorite because Rosemary Clooney is a hometown girl. Well, actually, she grew up in Maysville, Kentucky and that is about 20 miles from my hometown. She returned to Kentucky to live out her life so Rosemary is a heroine to many!
    Blessings to you and Merry Christmas!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. How fun to have ties to Rosemary Clooney. I’m a huge Bing fan, so I like white Christmas, too. Holiday Inn as well. 🙂

  7. The only western movie with Christmas theme I know of is “The Three Godfathers” with John Wayne, directed by John Ford, which is loosely based on the idea of the three wise men. From IMDB: “When 3 outlaws on the run find a dying woman and her newborn baby in the desert they vow to save the child.” Another blurb about it: “John Wayne plays one of the Three Wise Men in one of the few, respectable Christmas Westerns. John Ford brings the same grandiose touch to carols as he does shoot-outs and this is the rare movie features both.” I watched this every Christmas as I was growing up. I often still do.

    As a matter of fact I used to watch almost every Xmas movie that aired on TV. I suppose my favorites though are the classics “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Carol” with Alistair Sim (although I watched the Reginald Owen version too), “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “White Christmas.” A more recent movie I like is “While You Were Sleeping” with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman.

    1. Oooo – Great recommendation, Eliza. I’m going to see if I can find a copy of The Three Godfathers. That sounds right up my alley. Thanks!

  8. Oh funny, Lee Majors! I remember him. 🙂 I don’t have any recommendations – I don’t watch too many Christmas movies beyond the original classics.

    1. I admit I had a crush on Lee back in the day.

  9. My favorite Hallmark movies are in the country or the person is living in the city and end up in a small town. When cowboys are involved that’s even better. One Starry Christmas is one of the best. An astronomer from the city meets a cowboy. So good!
    Lifetime has some good movies too.

    1. I like the sound of that one, Pam. Thanks!

  10. I do remember A Smoky Mountain Christmas–it pops up on TV once in a while.

    I’m a huge fan of B&W classics, Hallmark Christmas movies, and even modern ones like The Holiday and Love, Actually.

    1. There’s just something about Christmas that puts me in the mood for a good, sappy love story. 🙂

  11. If you can find it, I recommend Secret of Giving starring Reba McEntire from 1999. Definitely a romance. Definitely a western … & has an interesting twist at the end.

    My favorite Christmas movies are Scrooge (the 1970 musical with Albert Finney) & The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart. Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas in Connecticut & The Santa Clause are also ones I don’t want to miss around the holidays. Oh, & I think of While You Were Sleeping & Meet Me in St. Louis as Christmas movies, though both just contain important Christmastime scenes.

    And, of course, there’s Die Hard. Classic Christmas move. 🙂

    1. I’ve have to look for Secret of Giving, Sharon. It sounds like one I would like. Reba is such a sweet little spitfire. I bet she’d make a great heroine. And yes, Die Hard is a classic. Ha!

  12. I’m planning to watch “The Christmas Card” on DVD tonight. Another one that is good family viewing is “A Christmas Wish”. It has a small country town setting,no cowboys and a bit corny, and some really fun parts as it depicts some serious issues and of course a happy ending. We also like “While You Were Sleeping”.

    I,too, would like to see more western or at least rural settings for Christmas movies.

    1. Hope you enjoyed your movie night, Alice. Sounds like a great evening!

  13. Hi Karen – great topic! I love the ones you mentioned. I also have to admit that I’m a big hallmark movie fan, even if thy are predictable. In addition to the ones you mentioned, I also like a few more contemporary ones such as One Starry Christmas, Angels and Ornaments, and A Very Merry Mix Up

    1. Excellent! Thanks for the recommendations, Winnie. I’m going to have to check those out. The titles themselves are adorable.

  14. Hi Karen, I enjoy many of the ones mentioned but a new Favorite, I came across on Netflix last year and this one and they are now offering on the Hallmark Now App. It’s called The Spirit of Christmas, it’s Modern day romance but has a twist that goes back to the 1800’s. The romance is sweet and story fun with a supernatural element. It was a refreshing change from the usual. I adored it and so did my Mom. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Melissa. I just added The Spirit of Christmas to my Netflix queue. Now, I just have to carve out some time to watch it. Ha!

  15. Such a fun Christmas post!
    I’m gonna have to check out this Dolly Parton Christmas movie- I’ve never seen it before.
    I actually liked Dolly Parton in “Steel Magnolias!” It makes me cry whenever I see it so I don’t watch it very often.

    1. I bet you would like Smoky Mountain Christmas, Emilee. It might be hard to find, though, since it’s so old, but maybe you’ll track it down somewhere. One commenter said that it shows up on TV every now and then.

  16. I love the two classics you showed, with Its a Wonderful Life being my absolute fave! My other have-to-watch movies are The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant, We’re No Angels with Humphrey Bogart, Christmas in Connecticut, The Angel of Pennsylvania Avenue and Christmas for a Dollar!

    1. Love those classics, Jamie. Can you believe that I’ve never seen Christmas in Connecticut? It looks I can stream it with Amazon Prime, so I’m going to give it a try. Sounds like a great one.

  17. Two of my favorite Christmas movies is the tv movie Silent Night,which takes place during WWII. Based on a true story where a German woman invites both American and German soldiers who are lost to spend Christmas Eve in her cabin,as long as they call a temporary truce and leave their weapons outside. One of my other favorites is the Gift of the Magi sequence in the anthology film O.Henry’s Full House(1952) It stars Farley Granger and Jeannie Crain. It’s a very sweet take on the story.

    1. I love the idea behind Silent Night, Lynne. What a beautiful message of peace. I’m going to look that one up.

  18. Hey Karen! I love It’s a Wonderful Life and The Bishop’s Wife.

    1. It’s just hard to beat the classics, isn’t it?

  19. The Bishops Wife is my favorite along with It’s A Wonderful Life, I’ve been into the Hallmark movies this past week. So many great movies on both channels.Happy Holidays.
    Carol Luciano

    1. Thanks, Carol. Happy holidays to you, too. Maybe I’ll find some time to try out the Hallmark Channel this weekend. 🙂

  20. My favorite Christmas movie is White Christmas. I also enjoy Prancer, the original Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Clause the Movie, The Santa Clause, Polar Express,

    If you are looking for a western, try 3 GODFATHERS staring John Wayne.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Patricia. I might have to rent that John Wayne movie from Amazon. 🙂

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