I can get pretty annoyed with reruns, especially when I’m not a TV person to begin with. There are a very few shows I watch faithfully each week. And somehow when summer reruns start, I have managed to see every single one of them, even on shows I rarely watch.
But during the Christmas season, it’s different. I look forward to the Christmas specials that run year after year. They evoke memories of Christmases past, some dating back to my childhood. With Christmas cheer and sentimentality added to the mix, my attitude is completely different–I look forward to seeing old favorites.
It’s a Wonderful Life is an oldie I remember from my childhood, if only because my mom always talked about it. In it an angel helps depressed business man Jimmy Stewart by showing him what life would be like if he’d never existed. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never seen the whole thing, but it’s definitely a classic. Maybe this year.
How many movie reincarnations have there been of Dickens’s A
Christmas Carol? Each has been as good as the one before, in my estimation, because the story at its heart is one with a universal appeal. Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is taken on a journey of self-redemption by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. Who can resist a good redemption story? Not me. Not Tiny Tim. God bless us, every one.
One has to believe that Dr. Seuss was inspired by The Christmas Story when he wrote How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Okay, swap out the paranormal aspect for a dog who doubles as a fake reindeer, but the plot is definitely another journey of redemption. I’m not ashamed to say if the Grinch comes on I plop down and watch it through. When the Grinch steals all the holiday trappings from the Whos in Whoville and learns that Christmas is far more than things, it embodies everything lovely about the season. And I’m a sucker every time for the Grinch’s heart growing three times bigger when he makes that realization. I do prefer the animated version to the movie, though.
I look forward to a TV visit from the Peanuts gang every year, even while I wonder anew at how a scraggly tree without needles grows plush and green once it’s decorated Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause and Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation are surprisingly watchable, even for one who doesn’t typically enjoy silly movies. I’ll even watch Will Ferrell (not a fan) in Elf. But my personal favorite? A Christmas Story.
A 1983 production, the movie supposedly takes place in the 1940s, which is part of its charm. Of course I always wondered why the mother sported the long uncurled perm of the 80s…that seems like an obvious goof. But the story so enchanted my kids that they always insist we turn it on Christmas Eve for the 24-hour marathon. Ralphie, an Indiana schoolboy, tries to convince parents, teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift. Amid adult admonitions ‘you’ll shoot your eye out’, Ralphie traverses the childhood traumas of taking on the neighborhood bully, having to dress up in a pink bunny costume and suffering the consequences of uttering the dreaded ‘F’ word. The charm of the movie can’t be overstated. I understand that there’s a sequel out this year. There’s no way it can ever reach the elevated status of the original. This one’s a classic, at least in my family.
Do you have a favorite holiday movie that you look forward to? Is there one that evokes memories of your childhood or Christmases past?