If you live anywhere in the upper mid-west, you’re not only bracing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you’re also bracing for a crap-load of snow. Yes, the Christmas of 2009 is promising to dump a whole lot of snow on us and the only reasonable thing to do is to cocoon with your loved ones, lots of tasty baked goods, and a selection of fun Christmas movies to watch. This year we won’t just have a holiday, we’ll have a snow day holiday–a Christmas snowstorm the likes of which we haven’t seen for years.
For my Christmas I’m going to practice my shoveling skills, bake spice cookies and peanut butter blossoms, drink tea, and watch some of my favorite Christmas movies. And I invite you to join me, in spirit if not in body–exceptions must be made when there are winter travel advisories. If the flakes are flying it may be too late to leave your home for anything other than an emergency, but if you have Netflix you can stream some movies instantly over the internet and enjoy Christmas classics with just a few mouse clicks. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas movies.
- White Christmas. My sister and I used to watch this movie a couple of times each holiday season and practice singing the “Sisters” song. This movie is a gem of the big studio system, one of those big-budget musicals with huge song-and-dance numbers. However, for all the big numbers, I think that seeing Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye dressed up as women and lip synching is my favorite part. Into every holiday a little cross-dressing should fall.
- Christmas in Connecticut. I absolutely love Barbara Stanwyck in this 1945 holiday comedy of errors. A magazine writer who has found success writing about her farm, husband, and baby in Connecticut, Elizabeth Lane has none of those things but embarks on an elaborate to charade when her boss sends her a sailor for Christmas. What does a woman do when she meets “the one” and he thinks she’s already married?
- Elf. Does anyone play the innocent misfit better than Will Ferrell in this movie? I think not. This story about an elf-raised human who goes in search of his human father and just happens to save Christmas is fast becoming one of my favorites.
- Miracle on 34th Street. I like both the original version of this movie with the incomparable Maureen O’Hara and the 1994 remake with Richard Attenborough. In the current age of “trust but verify” sometimes it is good to take the lesson from this movie and trust in those important intangibles that common sense tells us not to believe in.
- Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. When I was a kid I watched the original cartoon version of this every year. Even though some of the back-story given the Grinch seems a little hokey, I just love to see Jim Carrey stomp around in all his green glory in 2000’s feature-length retelling. And the quirky sets and costumes that give life to Dr. Seuss’s drawings have more whimsy than a roomful of Disney imagineers.
- A Christmas Story. Just about every kid can think of one toy that they had their heart set on getting for Christmas. It is that much more memorable if it is something dangerous and forbidden like the BB gun our protagonist Ralphie wants. I wonder how many times the phrase “You’ll shoot your eye out” is said in this movie? Oh, and the part with the kid freezing his tongue to the flag-pole is a cold weather classic that pretty much every kid in a cold clime has tried or been warned about.
Well, those are some of my favorites. If you noticed that It’s a Wonderful Life was missing, it is only because I haven’t actually seen that entire movie. I have every intention of getting around to it. Until then, I wish you a very merry Christmas and successful snow day cocooning!