11.01.2011

The Stockings Were Hung :: Holiday Films

One of my favorite aspects of any holiday are the movies that are centered around that particular celebration. For example, during the month of October I spent several enjoyable evenings watching films like, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Blackbeard's Ghost. and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken - among others. With Thanksgiving coming up, I'll be pulling out my copies of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Garfield's Thanksgiving.

Christmas, however, is when you can hit the mother lode of all holiday films. My Christmas movie collection puts all other holidays to shame because I could start on December 1st and watch one movie a day until Christmas. If you want to see a complete list of films, then you should check out The List that I made last year. I don't want to do a repeat, so this time I'm simply highlighting a few of my very favorite holiday specials. These are the ones that I can't miss, even if life gets crazy and I don't have time to watch the entire collection.

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1. The Muppet Christmas Carol - hands down the best version of this story that I have ever seen. I know this sounds crazy, but it's easy to forget that the "actors" are puppets, which apparently means that the puppeteers are really masters at their craft. Also, huge kudos to Michael Caine as he did a wonderful job acting with puppets. He's also an excellent Scrooge - just mean enough in the beginning for you not to like him, but easy enough to believe that he could be so nice in the end. If you haven't watched this version because you are a Dickens purist, then you are missing out on a great holiday film!

2. It's A Wonderful Life - this should go without saying, and yet I'm sure there are people out there who haven't seen this film. I pity them, because it's a great example of how the life of one man (or woman) can affect the life of so many others without the person ever knowing it. George Bailey gets the opportunity to see what the lives of his friends and family - those nearest and dearest to him - would have been like if he had never been born, and it's not pretty. My favorite line in the movie is also the one from which the title is pulled, "You see George, you've really had a wonderful life." I can truly say to that, "Ditto".

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - love the original animated version, love the later Jim Carrey version. The aspects of the original that I enjoy are: the fun, true-to-Seuss animated characters, the short length (perfect for a pre-bed viewing on a late night), and the awesome songs ("You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch..."). It's hard to top such a classic film, but if anyone could make a good try of it, it is Jim Carrey. The scene where he's running from the tiny Who car shouting, "It's going to blow!!!" and then dives as a huge Hollywood fireball takes over the background - well, it never fails to make us laugh.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Linus reciting Luke 2 is what makes this film. Of course I love the scenes with Lucy giving advice, Snoopy decorating his dog house, and Sally dictating her letter to Santa Claus ("...just send money. How about $10's and $20's?"), but Linus really steals the show during his few minutes alone on stage. "...And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." 

5. A Christmas Story - "I can't put my arms down!" Need I say more? There are so many lines that we quote from this movie, though it's not one that I grew up watching (in fact, I didn't see it for the first time until after Peter and I were married). However, it quickly became a favorite and I never get tired of watching Ralphie's teacher sweep around the room writing A++++ on the walls of the classroom. There are other classic scenes and sayings from this film including the famous, "You'll shoot your eye out kid...HO! HO! HO!" Peter and I have also latched on to "I triple-dog dare you" as well as "I told you not to use Lifebuoy!" and "He lay there like a slug, it was his only defence!" They are truly a dysfunctional family, but nothing pulls this family together like winning a "major award"! Check it out if you have missed this one along the way.
I was very close to selecting The Bishop's Wife over A Christmas Story, but let it be known that if I were to chose a sixth "must see" Christmas film, that would be it. I mean, really, what says "Christmas" like Cary Grant arriving in answer to David Niven's prayer for help? Nothing, that's what. Another short film that almost made the list is The Star of Christmas. Yes, it's Veggie Tales, and yes, I might have been known to wipe away a tear or two while watching Bob and Larry help Mr. Pincher understand Love and Grace. Plus, the ride to the church with the banker showing up in between Jr. and his dad makes us laugh every time. In my humble opinion, it's worth picking up a copy if you have kids (or even if you don't).  


I'm sure I've missed some that you might think top all of these, so feel free to share some of your favorite holiday flicks (the ones that you don't want to miss) in the comments. Do you have one Christmas movie that stands out to you above all others? I have great memories of watching Rudolph and Frosty and How the Grinch Stole Christmas each year when they came on TV - what about you?

9 comments:

  1. A newer movie that's on my list is Love Actually. I watch it every year, and it ALWAYS makes me cry...I get teary eyed at the opening credits. Pathetic! :) but such a great movie.

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  2. Elf is on the top of my list...we watch it every year and every year I laugh hysterically at Will Ferrel walking down New York City streets in that costume!

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  3. White Christmas is my favorite all-time holiday film! We watch that and Love Actually every year. I'm a huge Muppets fan so we'll have to add that into the rotation this year!

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  4. Great list! I agree with all of them. Around here, our favorites are A Christmas Story and Charlie Brown Christmas. I think Charlie Brown Christmas is Dan's favorite, hands down. He also has Vince Guaraldi on repeat on the iPod already :-)

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  5. A few that make my list are Christmas Vacation, Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually, The Santa Clause, and Funny Farm (not sure on the last one but for some reason we always watch it at the holidays in my family).

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  6. Several of these are among my favorites too! I've never watched The Bishop's Wife though. I love Cary Grant so I definitely need to check it out! :) Some of my other holiday favorites are Meet Me in St. Louis, White Christmas, and Christmas Vacation. I have to watch them every Christmas. :)

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  7. Interesting to hear what you all like to watch! I've seen "Love Actually" and didn't like it at all, but "Elf" makes me laugh every time (even though I'm not a fan of Will F.). In fact, I'm listening to the soundtrack to "Elf" right this minute! "White Christmas" is another great film, though I've always enjoyed "Holiday Inn" a bit more (even though it didn't make my "must see" list). As for "Meet Me in St. Louis" - one of my favorite films ever, but funny enough, I've never thought of it as a Christmas movie, even though a famous Christmas song came from it! This was lots of fun - thanks for adding your favorites!

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  8. Elf and Muppet's Christmas Carol are my must-sees. (I've even been known to occasionally watch them at other times of year!) I also enjoy watching Family Man and While You Were Sleeping at Christmastime, and It's A Wonderful Life and Charlie Brown's Christmas are two family favorites. =)

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  9. Gonna second or third the Elf nomination. I just crack up. And I love Zoey's voice. She's on the new Winnie the Pooh.

    And Home Alone is hilarious to watch with my kids. They just roll.

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