Can You Guess the Christmas Movie From a One-Sentence Summary?

By: J. Reinoehl
Image: Liberty Films

About This Quiz

For some families, Christmas movie marathons fill the holidays. For others, the shows only play in the background while they wrap gifts. Do you know your Christmas movies well enough to guess them after reading only a one-sentence description? Find out by taking this quiz.

In which movie must a child fend off two robbers by himself?

“Ma'am, I'm 8 years old. You think I would be here 'alone?' I don't think so.” –Kevin McCallister, "Home Alone"

In which movie did a man get to see how bad life would be without him?

Although Donna Reed won the role of Mary Bailey, Jean Arthur was the first actress considered for the part. Donna named her daughter Mary, but it was because that was the name of her grandmother, Mary Mullenger—not because Mary Bailey was her first starring role.

In which movie did a man pre-spend his Christmas bonus on a swimming pool, only to discover his boss was stingy that year?

“I don't know if I oughta go sailin' down no hill with nothin' between the ground and my brains but a piece of government plastic.” “Do you really think it matters, Eddie?” –Eddie and Clark, "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation"

In which movie did a kid get a rifle for Christmas and almost shoot his eye out?

Bob Clark, the director of "A Christmas Story," heard a radio broadcast of a short story by Jean Shepherd in 1968. After directing "Porky’s" the year before, he was successful enough to get permission to film "A Christmas Story."

In which movie did a boy try to put on a neighborhood Christmas play and was ridiculed about the Christmas tree he purchased for it?

“Ugh! I've been kissed by a dog! I have dog germs! Get hot water! Get some disinfectant! Get some Iodine!” –Lucy, "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

In which movie did a grumpy recluse dress up as Santa Claus and steal presents from an entire town?

Dr. Seuss became an animator in the U. S. Air Force during WWII. He created short films in his characteristic verse, showing soldiers how not to be Private Snafu (Situation Normal All Fouled Up).

In which movie must a man take the place of Santa Claus after killing him?

“Charlie, stay away from those things. They're reindeer; you don't know where they've been. They all look like they've got key lime disease.” –Scott Calvin, "The Santa Clause"

In which movie was a stingy man visited by the ghost of his dead business partner and three spirits who taught him that giving is better than hoarding?

Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol" in six weeks. It was published December 17, 1843, and sold out by December 20, 1843.

In which movie did an angel help build a church and repair relationships in an unexpected way?

"Nobody expects him to be normal; he's a bishop." –Matilda, "The Bishop’s Wife"

In which movie did a man compete with other shoppers for the season’s fad toy?

Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally going to be in the "Planet of the Apes" reboot, but production delays prompted him to walk away from it and accept the role he played in "Jingle All the Way."

In which movie do a group of outcasts help Santa save Christmas?

"Peppermint! What I've been searching for all my life! I've struck it rich! I've got me a peppermint mine! Wahooooo!."

In which movie does a condescending television CEO struggle with his own ghosts as he tries to produce "A Christmas Carol."

Bill Murray has eight siblings. His three siblings who are also actors, Joel Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, and John Murray, were all in "Scrooged" with him.

In which movie does a thief mend a bickering family while waiting for a way out of town?

"Do you know what this family needs? A mute."

In which movie did an elf of unusual size travel from the North Pole to the United States seeking his true origins?

Peter Billingsley played the elf, Ming Ming. Billingsley also played Ralphie in "A Christmas Story."

In which movie did army buddies put on a show to save their commanding general’s hotel?

"Miss Haynes, if you're ever under a falling building and somebody runs up and offers to pick you up and carry you to safety, don't think, don't pause, don't hesitate for a moment, just spit in his eye." –Bob Wallace, "White Christmas"

In which movie did a snowman try to keep his hat from an evil magician?

The song, “Frosty the Snowman,” came before the movie. The film first aired in 1969, but the song was released in 1950.

In which movie was Christmas at the office of a crisis hotline filled with its own series of problems?

"Thank you for calling the Los Angeles Times. If you would like to order a subscription, please press 1. If your newspaper did not arrive this morning, press 2. To place a classified ad, press 3. To speak to the editorial desk, city desk, national desk, international desk, sports desk, metro, view, or calendar sections, press the first three letters of the desk you desire, followed by the star key in the case of the first three, or the pound key in the case of the latter five." –Automated Response System for the L. A. Times, "Mixed Nuts"

In which movie was a woman who lied about being a perfect housewife in her newspaper column put to the test when her editor visited for the holidays with a war hero?

The story behind "Christmas in Connecticut" was loosely based on Gladys Taber. Gladys lived in Connecticut and was a columnist for 'Family Circle' and the 'Lady’s Home Circle' magazines.

In which movie did the well-meaning Pumpkin King of Halloween Town discover people weren’t as happy with Halloween-styled gifts on Christmas?

"Jack, please, I'm only an elected official here, I can't make decisions by myself!." –Mayor, "Nightmare Before Christmas"

In which movie was an​ NYPD police officer’s wife taken hostage at a Christmas party, and he had to save her?

Bruce Willis was born in West Germany to a German mother and American father. Alan Rickman, who played the German Hans Gruber in the movie, is British and most of the German he spoke in the movie was gibberish.

In which movie did a rich but obnoxious man pay for a family at Christmas?

"My family's not for sale, pal.” “I'll pay you $250,000!” “Welcome home, son." –Tom Valco and Drew Latham, "Surviving Christmas"

In which movie did a couple decide not to do Christmas but rushed to create the holiday when their daughter said she was coming home to celebrate it?

Although "Christmas With the Kranks" ranks 12th on the Christmas movie box office lifetime gross charts, critic Roger Ebert gave it only one star. He complained that unlike most holiday movies that have an anti-commercialism theme, this one celebrated commercialism and only gave a nod to religion by having a priest (who apparently was neglecting his religious duties) show up at the final party.

Which movie was the age-old tale of a miser who learned to give on Christmas Eve told with some slapstick humor?

"Christmas is a very busy time for us, Mr. Cratchit. People preparing feasts, giving parties, spending the mortgage money on frivolities. One might say that December is the foreclosure season. Harvest time for the money-lenders.” –Ebenezer Scrooge, "A Muppet Christmas Carol"

In which movie did a single man wake up married with kids?

"The Family Man" grossed almost $76 million in domestic theaters and almost $125 million worldwide. It had a production budget of $60 million.

In which movie did a couple have to visit all four of their parents on Christmas morning?

"My childhood was like "The Shawshank Redemption," except I didn't have some old, warm, black man to share my story with!" –Brad, "Four Christmases"

In which movie did a young girl find a wounded reindeer and nurse it back to health believing it was one of Santa’s?

Samuel Peck Elliott (born August 9, 1944) was told he should be a star after a high school performance of "Guys and Dolls," so he moved to Hollywood, served in the National Guard, and worked in construction until he became famous. He initially attracted attention by performing in Westerns, but he has also appeared in "Mask" (1985), "The Big Lebowski" (1998), and the television series, "The Ranch."

In which movie did a bumbling good guy try to save Christmas by helping Santa Claus find a replacement?

“Ahh, smell those Christmas trees. You can keep your 'Channel' Number 5, just give me a whiff of the old lonesome pine. That symbol of brotherly love, that centerpiece that all mankind gathers around to share the cranberry sauce shaped like a can.” –Ernest P. Worrell, "Ernest Saves Christmas"

In which movie did two guys fight over one girl at a holiday-themed supper club?

Irving Berlin wrote the song, White Christmas, for "Holiday Inn," but the movie, "White Christmas," did not come out until 12 years later. "Holiday Inn" also inspired the name of the Holiday Inn hotel chain, the first hotel chain to make $3 billion. It is currently owned by InterContinental Hotels Group, PLC.

In which movie did two women swap homes to ease their guy problems?

"I have a cow, and I sew. How's that for ‘hard to relate to?’" –Graham, "The Holiday"

Which movie was a Mother Goose-themed tale where an evil man tried to force another man’s woman into marrying him?

The behind the scenes wrap party featured on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color was actually scripted. Annette Funicello co-hosted the feature with Walt.

In which movie did an older department store Santa try to teach a young girl to believe in Christmas again?

"But... but maybe he's only a little crazy, like painters or composers or... or some of those men in Washington." –Mr. Shellhammer, "Miracle on 34th Street"

In which movie did a cute, cuddly pet create a horde of malicious monsters after its owner broke the rules that came with it?

"Gremlins" was going to be released in December as a Christmas movie in 1984. However, Warner Brothers did not have a summer offering to go against "Ghostbusters" or "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," so "Gremlins" was released early.

In which movie did two millionaires place a bet to see what happened when a con artist and an investor switched places?

"We took a perfectly useless psychopath like Valentine, and turned him into a successful executive. And during the same time, we turned an honest, hard-working man into a violently deranged, would-be killer!" –Rudolph Duke, "Trading Places"

Which movie covered the brief truce between World War I enemies on the Western Front that brought both sides together for Christmas?

On Christmas Day in 1914, during World War I, German, French, and British troops stopped fighting and exchanged cake and cigarettes. "Joyeux Noel" uses fictional characters to tell about the real events that happened on that day.

Which movie was a retelling of the Charles Dickens classic, with Scrooge McDuck playing a grumpy penny pincher?

"My partner, Jacob Marley, dead seven years today. Oh, he was a good'n. He robbed from the widows and swindled the poor. In his will, he left me enough money to pay for his tombstone, and I have him buried at sea!” –Scrooge, "Mickey’s Christmas Carol"

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