That November Lull or Pre-Christmas Movies

November 1st.

The Jack-O-lanterns are now bug food. The kids are crashed out from their sugar rushes. The bathroom sinks are stained with face-paint smudges. The masks are put away and the pumpkin inflatables are now orange ponds on the lawn. Candy wrappers litter the sidewalk, but all the kids are accounted for.

The zombies still haven’t taken over, and Linus still hasn’t found the Great Pumpkin, while the Pumpkin King and the citizens of Halloweentown are celebrating another successful year.

The baton is now passed to the Pilgrims, but honestly what we all care about is Christmas. But what do we do with that long lull between November 1st and the month’s last Thursday? Do we pull out the Christmas music now or wait? Do we dawn Santa hats on our Publix Pilgrims salt and pepper shakers?

Sometimes it’s just so hard to wait, especially since so many people with obnoxious families dread Thanksgiving.

And what about our Christmas movies? Do we continue to watch dull, drab everyday non-holiday stuff, or can we pull out A Christmas Story and Scrooged?

Well, here’s a list of pre-Christmas movies that aren’t necessarily Christmas, but have just enough holiday in them to get you through to the first snowfall of the season.


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – I just recently rediscovered this movie on Netflix. This is hands-down the best Thanksgiving movie that could ever be made in a  million years. I mean, really, the only way this movie could have been any better would be if they added Martin Short to it. (Then I guess it would be the Three Amigos without Chevy Chase, the way it should have been.) Just have the mute button ready if you’re watching this with kids. When Steve Martin approaches the nice rental car lady, he  uses the F-word 18 times in 60 seconds, which is one of the reasons he agreed to do the film. And man, I miss John Candy!


Catch Me if You Can – I listed this as one of my top-ten favorite movies, yet I can only watch it just before the Christmas season. There’s a highly emotional scene in there where Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” plays during a pivotal moment in Frank Abagnale’s life, and it just gets me every single time. Plus with all the snow in France, during the second half of the film, it’s hard not to feel a sort of warm-cuddly as you watch this masterpiece. Spielberg at his usual best, I guess.


Little Women – One of my all-time favorite books in the history of the world. No joke – and I’m comfortable enough in my masculinity to admit it. I study it when I read it, envious of Alcott’s flare for character development. I even think Rowling, as great as she is, has miles to go to catch up with Alcott. But there’s a Christmas scene or two in the movie, which is actually a pretty great tribute to the original text.

die hard

Die Hard – I couldn’t resist. I just felt I had to redeem myself from Little Women. Though I don’t watch it on a regular basis, it’s still a great action film with one Christmas song thrown in there.


Hook – When I was growing up, ABC would play this every Thanksgiving night and my dad would sometimes watch it with me. Spielberg and Williams didn’t quite care for the film’s final results, but I think the rest of us still enjoys it. And yes, there’s a Christmas tree in Granny Wendy’s house – although, do they really celebrate Christmas in London while we’re playing little league baseball here in the states? Maybe that continuity issue is what bugged Mr. Spielberg.


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Okay, so this one’s sort of Christmas in reverse, as the happy ending isn’t “It’s snowing!”, but rather, “The sun’s out!” I know I’m not supposed to, but I get kind of depressed when the snow starts melting in this movie because it’s just so beautiful. But, Santa does make one of his greatest appearances here.


Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941. Let’s not forget that America was just two-and-a-half weeks away from Christmas when we were attacked. And when is Michael Bay going to stop making giant robot movies and make more epics like this?

Beauty and the Beast – What kid doesn’t remember receiving their first copy of this movie on VHS on Christmas morning? And that snow scene? It almost passes for Christmasy, doesn’t it? Anyway, it joyful and triumphant, however you look at it.

What movies can you recommend to get us through the November lull?

About Andrew Toy
Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

39 Responses to That November Lull or Pre-Christmas Movies

  1. ncreadergirl says:

    While I haven’t seen Planes, Trains & Automobiles (it’s on my to-watch list) I love every other movie you’ve listed. I’ve only read Little Women once a couple of years ago, but it was one of my favs! Thanks for sharing this list! Your right, the question is in the air ” Do we now pull out the Christmas movies? Or do we watch the boring everyday stuff?” It’s a toss up really at this point! I know one radio station in our area will probably begin playing Christmas music around the clock in about two weeks, but other than that I am right in line with you on these!

  2. Angela Death says:

    Love the post! Great ideas! However, for me, I will be watching a Doctor Who Marathon between now and the 50th Anniversary Special which non-Whovians call Thanksgiving! Thanks for the other ideas, though!

  3. Michael says:

    Planes/Trains is one of my all time favorite movies!! Yes, I do like the others (the ones that I have seen) on your list as well, but PTA is such a great easy laugh movie. When Steve Martin plays the straight guy, he’s always funny, and I do miss John Candy.

  4. lauraaokay says:

    Great post! Die Hard is always a must, but in terms of movie entertainment for this time of year you’ve left out a big one… Home Alone! Plus, there are about sixteen of those movies – perfect to get anyone through a lull =)

  5. billyriel1971 says:

    Thanks for the recent visit to my Western genre site….much appreciated. It is a fun list that you have put together in this post.
    All the best,

  6. Erick says:

    I would recommend “Dead Poet’s Society” with Robin Williams if you like a great story of boys learning hard lessons and becoming men. If you like something a bit more macho I’d go with “True Grit” with Jeff Bridges. Both great movies…and, thanks for visiting my blog – I appreciate it!

  7. I always watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles before going on a trip.

  8. barbtaub says:

    Does it make me a soppy sentimental drip if I say that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is playing every year as I wrap presents? We also do watch “Die Hard” every year, and realize anew that it would have been a 10-minute movie if anybody had a cellphone. Great post! (And thanks for the follow on my blog.)

    • It’s a Wonderful Life doesn’t make anyone a soppy sentimental dip. It just means you’re a normal American, and you recover with some John McClain.

      You should watch just about any movie made before 2000 that relies on a lack of communication (i.e. Die Hard, Speed, Home Alone, Planes Trains and Autos, etc.) and they’d never be made today.

  9. helenscribe says:

    Since it’s coming up cruise time I go for Pirates of the Caribbean, with backups of anything noir. Casablanca comes to mind as an all-time fave. Nothing to do with either Christmas or Thanksgiving, and thus a welcome breath of fresh air as a respite from sentimentality running knee-deep in the streets.Bah, humbug.

  10. sherry386 says:

    It would not be Christmas without the 1938 classic “Christmas Carol”. It makes me laugh and cry every time. I am looking forward to the November 22nd release of a new Christmas movie, “The Christmas Candle”. I am told it pays homage to the true meaning of Christmas. Enjoy your holidays and movies!

  11. jcsegarra says:

    You’ve got a great line up, friend! I think we’ll go your recommendations this year.
    You have a good one!

  12. lisa says:

    New Years Day…Twilight Zone Marathon. I know that these are not movies but if you watch enough of them in a row….Just sayin’ Keep up the recommendations…reminds me to watch some movies I have long forgotten and that I really enjoyed!

  13. sothislife says:

    Good movies, only one I haven’t seen is “catch me if you can”.
    And no you can’t start Christmas yet.

  14. Claire Cappetta says:

    In my childhood growing up Oliver was obligatory Christmas viewing, now I’m here in the US it’s March of the Wooden soldiers, Scrooge and a Christmas Story… But then I’m usually cooking and clearing up, finally crashing : )

  15. Yes to all of those films – esp. Die Hard! But what about Con Air? Nicholas Cage is clinging on to that stuffed bunny toy for his little girl all the way through, and their reunion is so sweet! I’m choking up just thinking about it! Hee Hee.

  16. mrsgillies says:

    What a great selection!

  17. Eric Adams says:

    I loved the post. Can ‘t wait to read more. Die Hard would be my favorite. Keep up the good work.

  18. Wow, so many good replies and of course your selection taste is very good.
    Planes, Trains is thee movie. I still find myself giggling remembering the face of Steve Martin in the bathroom. The towel. How lovely and pure was John Candy? A big problem, but he doesn’t know that. Tears are coming just now…
    Holiday&Christmas Movies =>Not my best movie but maybe The Holiday-Kate Winslett and Cameron Diaz may fit for lots of snow in England scenes.And there was a movie that Arnold Swarzenegger was fighting to buy a robot toy for his son. Jingle All the Way.

    One of my best movies are Snatch and X-Men, so I think we may not be on the same page 🙂
    Gool luck and best wishes at your adoption journey !!!
    Hope you will share your good news via this platform and we all celebrate together !!!
    Thank you.

  19. contulmmiv says:

    Hi – I am glad that someone else also looked into this particular topic 🙂 To me, the Harry Potter series fits very well the November limbo time. The Gothic elements (theme, scenery, soundtrack) have a Halloween tilt, while the Christmas vacation scenes, present in every installment, albeit short, are some of the best in the snowy/wintery/christmasy iconography (especially parts 3, and 7).

    Happy season.

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