Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmastime Is Here

I bet you were expecting to see photos of our decorations or something. Nope, not for this post. I want to talk about Christmas movies and shows. I start seeing Christmas themed items in the craft stores in August, and there are usually Christmas trees going up with the Halloween decorations at the "big box" stores. As a cue of the season, they have almost become meaningless for me.

These movies and shows, however, are only pulled out of our DVD cabinet once a year, generally after Thanksgiving (though I did make an exception when Luke asked to watch the Grinch the week before Thanksgiving when he was home sick). These are the things that *really* scream "Christmas" to me.

The Muppet Christmas Carol - As much as I despise reading Dickens, I absolutely love this story. I own quite a few different versions of it (including Patrick Stewart's, of course), but this one is definitely my mostest all time favorite. I've seen it so many times, in fact, that when I watch other versions, it sounds strange to my ears to hear Fezziwig instead of Fozziewig.

Mickey's Christmas Carol - And this is probably my second most favorite version. Come now, what did you expect from me, the Disney freak? I don't love it simply because it is Disney. If it had been too silly (most likely what would have happened if it were made today instead of in the 80s), I probably would not have cared for it, but I think it is incredibly well done, particularly as short as it is.

Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas - I remember watching this on television when I was a kid. I was afraid this one had vanished into the ether of childhood, obscured my more traditional classics and lost to time. But it was released on DVD a few years ago, and I snatched it up the moment I stumbled upon it. It was one of the best surprise gifts I have ever given my little brother for Christmas. He was shocked to see it!

The Nutcracker - I could easily sum this one up with a single word: Baryshnikov. To quote Mary Poppins, it is practically perfect in every way. I remember watching it with my mom on PBS one year and being completely transfixed. To this day, it is still the standard by which I judge all other Nutcracker performances, live or televised.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Growing up with my father, a huge Peanuts fan, this was bound to be on the list. The story is timeless and poignant, even to this day. Plus, how often do "secular" Christmas stories quote entire passages of the Gospel of Luke (and my personal favorite passage)?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Another timeless classic, and why shouldn't it be? It combines Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones, and Boris Karloff into sheer magic. The story is both quirky and elegant, and the songs are quite catchy. Anyone's heart would grow three sizes just watching it. Plus, Luke absolutely loves it. He'd watch it year round if I let him (and I occasionally do).

I was having difficulty getting into the Christmas spirit this year, but we popped in the Muppets, Mickey, Emmet, and The Nutcracker today, and I am feeling much better. (I imagine we'll catch Charlie Brown and The Grinch either sometime this week or next weekend.) *Now* I am officially ready for it to be Christmas!

Yes, there are plenty others that I like. Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life are both okay. The stop motion Rudolph and animated Frosty are great classics, to me. A new short that I quite enjoyed last year was Disney/Pixar's Prep and Landing; give it a shot if you find it on television this year. (I didn't care much for the Kung Fu Panda holiday special that premiered this year.) I really do like Scrooged even though it is not my usual thing. The original Santa Clause is wonderful, and I am slightly ashamed to admit that I genuinely like the Home Alone movies (the second one is my favorite; never did see the 3rd). Love Actually is very sweet and tends to crop up this time of year (if you like it, try Playing By Heart as well; not Christmas, but an excellent movie). Two notable film that many others love that I do not especially care for are A Christmas Story and The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Sorry, they just don't work for me.) I have not seen Elf or White Christmas (though I have seen Holiday Inn, where the song actually premiered, thanks to Heather), so I can't speak to those. In less traditional Christmas fare, Die Hard and Lady and the Tramp are always good.

What are your favorites?

Currently feeling: Christmasy


  1. The Christmas shows always signal "real" Christmas season to me too. We have several on DVD and now Blu-ray, but we tend to tape a lot of the ones showing on cable on the DVR and watch them in the evenings together as a family. Good times. :) We also love the Grinch and Charlie Brown Christmas. Our favorite full length features are Polar Express (the kids) and The Family Man (me and DH). We also really like It's a Wonderful Life, several versions of A Christmas Carol, Home Alone 1 and 2, Elf, and a new favorite - Fred Claus. :)

  2. I have to throw in NL's Christmas Vacation. If I ever find a set of those moose mugs...

  3. Love Disney's version. Did you know that Hallmark has a series of ornaments based on the characters? The series started last year. You can still get last year's on ebay (yes, I am evil).

    It's a Wonderful Life is always the movie that starts the Christmas season in our house. The other movie we seem to watch a lot around this time of year is Sound of Music. My personal favorite is The Grinch (the original animated version). The Grinch is my hero.

  4. Hayley absolutely adores The Nightmare Before Christmas and spent her own allowance money to purchase it in Blu Ray this fall. Me, not so much (as a Christmas movie anyway), but the message is a positive one.

    My all time favorite is the original Miracle on 34th Street, followed by the Charlie Brown Christmas.

    BTW, I had a poster of Barishnikov from "The Nutcracker" on my classroom wall for years. It eventually fell apart from too many moves.

  5. Musts for me are "The Year Without a Santa Claus" (with the Heat Miser!) and Claymation Christmas. I love to watch my older sister laugh her head right off at the Carol of the Bells!


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