Holiday Classics

MV5BMTMzMzY5NDc4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzc4NjIxNw@@._V1._SY317_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 DownloadedFile-1
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.

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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? 

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25 Responses to Holiday Classics

  1. Trish Jensen says:

    Kylie (man, I love your name…I so want to use it):
    I honestly dislike It’s A Wonderful Life, but I’m not sure why. Maybe because it feels like a self-pity party. That would not be on my recommend list. I already happened upon Grinch by accident, and couldn’t turn it off, even though I’ve seen it a gazillion times. My absolute favorite, though is White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, et al.

    Also love some of my favorite regular shows with their Christmas-themed shows. NCIS always has tear-jerker Christmases. The oldy but goody Golden Girls always had wonderful Christmas shows. It’s just the time of year when you want to feel good, yes?

    Happy holidays to all!

  2. TrishJ says:

    Yup, The Christmas Story is our favorite. The kids, and now grandkids, drop quotes from that movie all month long. I think my son could probably recite whole passages from that movie. But I cry every year watching It’s a Wonderful Life. You just don’t know how much impact your life has on people. Anyway … Merry Christmas everyone!!!

  3. laurieg72l says:

    We watch Will Vinton’s A Claymation Christmas, PRANCER with Sam Elliott and a young girl’s belief in the magic of Christmas, Garfield’s Down On The Farm, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street and Miracle On 34th Street. OOPS almost forgot ELF and Charlie Brown.

  4. Linda says:

    I make it a goal to watch all of the classic Christmas cartoons/claymation shows. Starting with Charlie Brown, then Rudolph and Frosty. I will only watch the cartoon Grinch. There are other Christmas movies that I really like but don’t always get to see, a few of them are White Christmas with Bing, Meet John Doe ( which I think is better then It’s A Wonderful Life) and Miracle on 34th Street (the original).
    Here is to all of the movies that celebrate the meaning of Christmas!

  5. kylie brant says:

    Linda I just picked up Shrek the Halls for the grandkids to watch when they come for Christmas. We’d never heard there was a Christmas movie with Shrek. Hopefully they won’t have seen it :)

  6. Christie Ridgway says:

    Love the Peanuts Christmas special! So much that our Son1 found us a cute version of the scraggly tree, complete with Linus’ blanket.

    It’s a Wonderful Life is great…such a depiction of days gone by. You need to watch the whole thing! I also adore Love, Actually.

  7. kylie brant says:

    Is Love, Actually a Christmas story? Did not know that. My daughter once asked me (she was in high school) for the entire collection of Peanuts specials. It took some doing but I finally found a collection of all of them. Now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy one for myself!

  8. lizkflaherty says:

    I feel like such a Scrooge because about the only one of the movies listed that I DON’T like is A Christmas Story. I liked it okay the first time, but have disliked the 400 viewings since then. But I love all the old ones.

  9. I adore “A Christmas Story.” We let it play at least a few times every year while dinner prep is underway. Clyde loves to say fra-geel-a when he sees Fragile on a box.. And whenever anyone in the house wins anything the cry goes up, “It’s a major prize!”

    I remember seeing “The Little Match Girl” on TV–black and white, probably one of those 1/2 hour “playhouse” shows. I remember bawling inconsolably. So I Googled and found a 1954 version on Youtube–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K5jBV7nMpQ

    But I don’t think this was the one. I remember a final scene with the girl looking though the front window of a contemporary (1950’s) home and the girl inside looking out. Inside girl goes outside and brings the little match girl inside as the music swells. Of course, that’s not the way the original Hans Christian Anderson version ends, so maybe I’ve revised that memory, hmm? I am a romantic, after all.

    • kylie brant says:

      I dimly recall the little Match Girl, Kathy. Was it a silent movie though? I seem to recall it being very very old, like a Chaplin or something.

      • When I googled I noticed there was a silent movie, but I don’t go back quite that far. The one on Youtube looks almost as old, and I think I’ve seen it, but that’s not the way I remember it. There were lots of GE Theater and Playhouse 90-type shows in the 50’s (I read that’s how Paul Newman among many others got started), and I’m thinking it might have been a version like that, although the 1954 YT one does seem familiar. Isn’t it funny the way the memory works? You see something you haven’t seen since you were little and the whole surroundings kind of pop into your head.

  10. Cindy Gerard says:

    I still have to watch Rudolph because it brings back so many memories of our son getting excited about it every. And who can resist Natalie Woods in A Miracle on 34th Street. As for classic TV series Christmas’s I just watched last’s years rerun of Modern Family’s Christmas episode. One of the funniest ever. And did anyone catch Blake Sheldon’s Christmas special Monday night? Laughed till I cried. Love that guy.

  11. kylie brant says:

    This week’s Modern family was pretty funny, Cindy, as they tried for an ‘express Christmas’. Loved that the old guy hated the baseball card Phil went to such lengths for but laughed with delight when he got dog antlers :) It truly is that hard to know what to buy some people!

  12. debradixon says:

    I love holiday movies. New and old. THE HOLIDAY is a new favorite. I love THE FAMILY STONE. And of course the classic HOLIDAY INN. This year I’ve been hoping to see some great holiday romances but every time I have any spare time to check on Hallmark…it’s stars I don’t like or a story/movie I don’t like. Where are the good ones?! They’re on when I’m not available, darn it. but I love Christmas romances.

  13. Quilt Lady says:

    The Holiday is my favorite Christmas movie right now. Its awesome.

  14. Rosemary K. says:

    I love White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. It came out in the 1950s and was just a feel good movie with beautiful songs. They use to show it at midnight on Christmas eve but it has been replaced.

  15. leannebanks says:

    Coming in late, but it’s White Christmas times 10 for me. Love the music…. “When you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep… and you’ll fall asleep… counting your blessing. Sweet dreams.:)

  16. roxanne rustand says:

    Coming in three minutes behind Leanne to say that I love this topic! And I adore The Christmas Story. It so echoes the year that our boys got Red Ryder BB guns. I was terrified that–yes–they’d shoot their eye out. :) I saw an interview on Yahoo news with the boy (now a grown up) who played the star of the movie, He said he still has the pink bunny suit as a momento. :)

  17. Kimh says:

    Xmas songs , moivues too! Like the Brady tv movie, hallmark movies

  18. Nora Braun says:

    I actually have my own collection of holiday movies for our tradition of viewing on Christmas Eve — so many now that we can’t watch them all in one setting! But two favorites I haven’t seen mentioned are Holiday Inn (all the wonderful songs for the years holidays sung by Bing!) and Miracle on 34th Street. When the little girl runs through the house at the end and finds everything she asked for in it, it just warms my heart!

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