Books, Current Events, Lists, Reviews

It’s a Wonderful List of Holiday Movies Based on Books

From Christmas to the New Year celebrations, here are a few holiday movies based on books (of course) for you to enjoy with loved ones. The books, or well, the movies, starting from Netflix’s A Boy Called Christmas and ending with About a Boy, vary in age-range and mood, and I am sure you will find something for everyone here! In addition to the variety, you will also find a couple of other things just a bit different about a few of these choices today. So ahead and check them out, and hopefully find a few books and movies that you can enjoy over the holidays, or to experience the holidays anytime of the year!

While the day of Christmas Eve might be a little late for such a post, I think such lists are timeless. Anytime is a good time to read any book; and to watch any good movie (even more so when it is based on a good book, don’t you agree?)!

Holiday lights in gold and red with pin title that says 'It's a Wonderful List of Holiday Movies Based on Books'

It’s a Wonderful List of Holiday Movies Based on Books

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A Boy Called Christmas

The book:

Title:  A Boy Called Christmas
Author: Matt Haig
Illustrator: Chris Mould
Length: 240 pages
Genre: Children’s Christmas Books (8 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher ‏: ‎Knopf Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (November 1, 2016)

The movie:

Name: A Boy Called Christmas
Director: Gil Kenan
Writers: Screenplay: Ol Parker and Gil Kenan; based on the book by Matt Haig
Stars: Henry Lawfull, Maggie Smith, Isabella O’Sullivan, Joel Fry

This Netflix movie I have been thinking of watching is based on a book of the same name by best-selling author Matt Haig. Incidentally, Haig is one author I’ve been meaning to read for far too long. His The Midnight Library is calling my name out loud currently, but sorry, you have to wait, for I am reading and enjoying A Boy Called Christmas (the book) before I watch the movie for Christmas with the fam! I am glad I am finally reading Matt Haig and just wish I had picked up his books earlier so I would have enjoyed his writing for that much longer!

Have you watched the movie? or read the book? I would love to hear your thoughts on the same.

A Christmas Carol

The book:

Title:  A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Illustrator: Frederick Coburn & George Alfred Williams
Length: 108 pages
Genre: Classic Literature & Fiction (all ages)
Publisher ‏: ‎SeaWolf Press (March 5, 2020) – 200th anniversary edition

The movie (well, one of the movies):

Movie: A Christmas Carol
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: Screenplay: Robert Zemeckis based on the book by Charles Dickens
Stars: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth

This book actually offers itself up for many choices to add to this list of holiday movies based on books!!!

I have watched quite a few movies and other screen adaptations based on this classic Dickens’ story (and there are so many of them!) And I have read the book itself many times over (again, a couple of different forms – comics, abridged, and not). I featured the Jim Carrey version here because we watched it together as a family at the theater. As for a favorite screen version, it is hard for me to pick one. Is it the Bill Murray’s Scrooged one for its goofy, wacky take on the book, or The Muppet’s Christmas Carol? Or the 1984 version of the movie, simply titled A Christmas Carol, or Carrey’s version? I am not sure but I know I enjoyed each one for different reasons.

Die Hard

The book:

Title:  Nothing Lasts Forever
Author: Roderick Thorp 
Length: 178 pages
Genre: Thrillers
Publisher ‏: ‎Graymalkin Media (December 18, 2011) – 25th anniversary edition

The movie (well, one of the movies):

Movie: Die Hard
Director: John McTiernan
Writers: Screenplay: Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza based on the book by Roderick Thorp
Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia

We have watched this movie at least a couple of times, and while I am still not sure if it is a holiday movie, maybe it is too, in its own way. I read this book after I talked about it in an earlier post about books to movies, and realized I owned a copy of the book already! While I have not reviewed the book yet, I have to say it is a well written book indeed, and totally get why it got a movie based on it.

Little Women

The book:

Title: Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Length: 376 pages
Genre: Classic Literature & Fiction

The movie (well, one of the movies):

Movie: Little Women
Director: Greta Gerwig
Writers: Screenplay by Greta Gerwig based on the book by Louisa May Alcott
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh

Little Women is not so little for me, not at all. Numerous appearances on my blog and many mentions IRL (same as with Anne Frank) means this book is a life staple!! And while I am glad my teenager finally read the book because of the latest version released in 2019, I am guessing my favorite version might be the.. well, I can’t decide now. While I have watched the 1984 Susan Sarandon version as well as many others, nothing compares to the book, right??!

Alcott’s quote “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain,” fits me perfectly!!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The book:

Title:  Christmas ’59
Author: John Hughes
Genre: Humor/Short stories
Publisher ‏: ‎National Lampoon magazine

The movie (well, one of the movies):

Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Writer: John Hughes
Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki

Both Nation Lampoon’s Vacation and Christmas Vacation were based on short stories written by the late John Hughes that appeared in National Lampoon magazine. We totally ROTFL each time we watch these movies, and we have watched both of the ones I mention here a few times! John Hughes was certainly a multi-talented person, considering how much I enjoy all the other movies he played a part in, including Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,  The Breakfast Club, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and of course, one of the most iconic holiday movies (series) of all – Home Alone!

You can read the short story – Christmas ’59 – that made the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation possible here. I know you will enjoy it (I did!)

It’s a Wonderful Life

The book:

Title:  The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Tale 
Author: Philip Van Doren Stern
Illustrator: Frederick Coburn & George Alfred Williams
Length: 64 pages
Genre: Classic American Literature (all ages)
Publisher ‏: Simon & Schuster (October 28, 2014) – gift edition

The movie:

Name: It’s a Wonderful Life
Director: Frank Capra
Writers: Screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Frank Capra based on the short story by Philip Van Doren Stern
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

This beloved 1946 classic is based on Stern’s short story titled The Greatest Gift. Having watched the movie many times over the years as it plays on TV around Christmas, I finally read the story it is based on this year. And what else can I say but that the story made me feel just like the movie does, teary-eyed and having those heart strings tugged all over again. I also found this really sweetly illustrated book for us to read together as a family. It is the It’s a Wonderful Life: The Illustrated Holiday Classic adapted by Paul Ruditis and illustrated by Sarah Conradsen. The narrative is true to the storyline and the illustrations are simply beautiful! Another great read I discovered and added to my TBR is It’s a Wonderful Life: The Original Screenplay by Frank Capra with an introduction by Scott W. Thompson.

The Charlie Brown Movies: A Charlie Brown Christmas and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown

The book (picked a random holiday themed one here)

Title:  A Charlie Brown Christmas
Author: Charles M Schulz
Illustrator: Vicki Scott
Length: 48 pages
Genre: Children’s Classic Literature Literature & Fiction (all ages)
Publisher ‏: ‎ Simon Spotlight; Deluxe ed. edition (September 19, 2017)

The movies:

Movie: A Charlie Brown Christmas / Happy New Year, Charlie Brown
Director: Bill Melendez / Bill Melendez and Sam Jaimes
Writers: Charles M Schulz
Stars: Various

To be honest, these are not books-to-movies, but at the same time, they are in-print-to-movies, so they made it here on the list. I love reading the comics and am awed constantly at the Sunday strip comics that convey so much in so few panels. And the movies, they are so so perfect to watch with anyone and everyone, and to completely and heartwarmingly enjoy!

When Harry Met Sally

The book:

Title:  When Harry Met Sally
Author: Nora Ephron
Length: 97 pages
Genre: Novelization/Screenplay
Publisher ‏: ‎ Knopf; 1st edition (February 24, 1990)

The movie:

Movie: When Harry Met Sally
Director: Rob Reiner
Writers: Nora Ephron
Stars: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan

To be honest, this one is a novelization. That is, it is not a movie based on a book but the other way around… but does it matter which one came first for a movie as cool as this? I know I will read this book based on the movie! This is one of those few movies my husband and I have watched a couple of times or more together (and by myself, a few more times, but he doesn’t need to know that!) I haven’t read the book but I hope to enjoy it.

The Age of Adaline

The book:

Nothing yet……

The movie:

Movie: The Age of Adaline
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Writers: Screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz
Stars: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford

There must be a book somewhere, right, for this movie? But there isn’t!! I loved the movie, and totally thought that it looked like it was based on a book. I know I will totally read a book based on this movie

Trading Places

The book

Title:  The Prince and the Pauper
Author: Mark Twain
Length: 318 pages
Genre: Children’s Classic Literature Literature & Fiction (9 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher ‏: ‎SeaWolf Press (August 2, 2018)

You can also read it here on Gutenberg.

The movie:

Movie: Trading Places
Director: John Landis
Writers: Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod (idea from Twain’s book)
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy

I recall watching this comedy ages ago, and well, a few more movies as well, which are all based on Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper.” The movie takes places around Christmas, and hence here on this list.

As for the book, I read it as a little girl and found it so very fascinating. I wondered how each one managed to learn the other’s little-things-that-make-us-us almost to the point of not being detected. But then it is fiction after all, and then maybe some times we can! Then there are the Princess Switch movies as well as the twins trading places movies to reunite their parents. All of these do follow a similar theme of the prince and the pauper.

Another of those books that lends itself to loads of holiday movies based on books!!

Bridget Jones’s Diary

The book:

Title:  Bridget Jones’s Diary
Author: Helen Fielding
Length: 48 pages
Genre: Children’s Classic Literature Literature & Fiction (all ages)
Publisher‏:‎  PAN MACMILLAN (February 1, 2021) (25th Anniversary Edition)

The movie:

Movie: Bridget Jones’s Diary
Director: Sharon Maguire
Writers: Screenplay by Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis based on the book by Helen Fielding
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant

I watched the movie shortly before I read the book and all I could picture was Hugh Grant and Colin Firth throughout! And who can blame me? Anyway, all I have to say for this book-movie pairing is it is perfect for anytime of the year, and wonderful for the holidays!

About a Boy

The book

Title:  About a Boy
Author: Nick Hornby
Publisher:‎ Riverhead (January 1, 2002)

The movies:

Movie: About a Boy
Director: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Writers: Screenplay by Peter Hedges and Chris Weitz based on Nick Hornby’s book
Stars: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette

New Year’s Eve changes a lot for the two main characters of this movie/novel. I enjoyed the movie and am yet to read the book. Have any of you read it? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Bonus Holiday Movies Based on Books (or related to books)

  • Let It Snow – I have added the book to my tbr and the movie to my watch list. Definitely a light YA read and watch.
  • Waiting to Exhale – I have read the book and watched the movie; and while I know I enjoyed them both, I don’t recall much else about either.
  • Ocean’s 11 – Another novelization that I am yet to read, but the movie is a family favorite!
  • Sleepless in Seattle is based on a story by Jeff Arch (that I couldn’t find anywhere to read unfortunately)

Related Reads

And Now, the End of this Post

Dear readers, have you watched any of these holiday movies based on books? Have you read any of the books themselves? I would love to hear your thoughts on them. And of course, I would love to hear your recommendations for other holiday movies based on books (or even TV shows or other on screen or theater adaptations).

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