So you know my favorite Christmas songs. I still owe you my favorite Christmas albums (the two aren’t necessarily the same), and our Christmas tree will be going up next weekend, so stay tuned for tales of Christmas trees gone wrong in years past (let’s just say that twine and tacks into wall/mantle have been involved).
But today, as we head into the real holiday season (even though mine started weeks ago), I thought I’d write about my favorite Christmas/holiday shows and movies. Probably won’t surprise you that I can watch a lot of these all year through.
- A Christmas Story. Hello, leg lamp? I’m proud to hang a leg lamp ornament on my tree each year.
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (tv special). I’m not much for claymation, but I just love Hermie, the elf who wanted to be a dentist. I actually have a Hermie on my desk at work, who served as our mascot for a report I wrote on children’s dental health during December last year.
- Home Alone. Anyone else remember all the years that NBC used to show this on Thanksgiving? I will forever associate it with that post-turkey coma. Too bad Macaulay Culkin turned out so weird.
- Home for the Holidays. Terrible movie featuring Holly Hunter and Robert Downey, Jr. about her dysfunctional Thanksgiving trip home to see her dysfunctional family. I watch this every year — except this one, when it apparently is not on either cable or the Channel 56 equivalent here. A turkey lands on someone’s head in this movie. How is it not on TV this year? Makes me question programming directors’ decisions.
- Cheers episode with the Thanksgiving food fight. Diane in a pilgrim outfit, Norm, Cliff and Carla at the Thanksgiving table, flying mashed potatoes. Took the requisite Thanksgiving TV episode to new heights.
- A Rugrats Chanukah. Every year at college, my friend Jenn threw a latke-and-Rugrats party. (In related news, she was an elementary ed major.) Gotta love the kids (led by Tommy, Chuckie and Angelica) trying to defeat the “meany of Chanukah.”
- First two West Wing Christmas episodes – In Excelsis Deo and Noel. The music in both episodes is haunting and beautiful. Unfortunately, you can’t find these on TV anymore, because Bravo has decided marathons of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (or something similar) trump the old 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. showings of West Wing. So, get to a Blockbuster, put these on your Netflix queue, or find a good friend who’s willing to lend you the DVDs. Well worth watching.
- The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (original cartoon version). A great show unto itself, but it gets extra credit because Max, the Grinch’s dog, looks just like Sandy, our dearly departed and neurotic mutt who didn’t particularly appreciate our efforts to put antlers on her every year.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. How do you top Eddie in a dickey, drinking egg nog from Wally World mugs, talking about his son joining the circus and ruining the wooden Christmas decoration?
- Love Actually. On constant replay in the Storybook Life house. Taken independently, the individual story lines aren’t the strongest. But this is the movie that brought us Hugh Grant dancing through 10 Downing Street to Jump (for my Love), lobsters present at the birth of Jesus, and Otis Redding’s version of White Christmas.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas. Charlie Brown holds special significance to our family, where Mike and I played our roles of Linus and Lucy to a tee as kids (Mike with the blue blankie, me with the …. bossiness). And now we have a Snoopy in Clarence, although I’ve yet to see him decorate his crate for Christmas. I love Sally’s request to Santa: “If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?” And though I’m not the most religious person, Linus’ speech gets me every time. Plus this special gave us Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack.
- Last, but by no means least: It’s a Wonderful Life. I love Jimmy Stewart. I love Donna Reed. I love the pieces of this movie that are so ingrained in our popular culture. And then there’s the angel, Clarence.