I love Christmas.
There are many reasons. Among them are the true reason for the season, the joy one feels when giving to others, the “peace on Earth, good will toward men” feeling that comes over many of us, the fun of having family and friends around more than normal, the beautiful decorations and lights, the special holiday music and, yes, the festive food.
A big part of Christmas for me is watching classic Christmas movies between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. And I know I’m not alone in this endeavor.
I recently posed this question to my friends at Facebook.com: What is your must-see Christmas movie or movies over the holidays and why?
Some of their answers were predictable. Others were a surprise. Here are their comments:
* Brian J. Krans: “‘Love Actually.’ It’s the only Christmas/chick flick that’s actually funny.”
* Nancy Swanson: “‘White Christmas’ because I like it!”
* Dave Whiskeyman: “‘A Christmas Story.’ I was soooo Ralphie. That was my life.”
* Karen R. McFadden: “Hey Dave, you’ll shoot your eye out!”
* Teri Heritage Beyer: “‘Meet Me in St. Louis.’ Great music, and the snowman scene always makes me cry.”
* Erica S. Carrick: “Definitely National Lampoon’s ‘Christmas Vacation’ with Chevy Chase.”
* Twig Caven: “Call me a sentimentalist, but how in the world can you beat ‘It’s a Wonderful Life?’ When all the friends come back to help him (George Bailey) is probably the best tear-jerker of all Christmas scenes. Second best is ‘White Christmas.’ Again, when Dean Jagger enters the barn in his general’s uniform and the soldiers stand to honor him sends shivers down my spine.”
* Brad Ruggles: “I’m with Whiskeyman. Have to watch ‘A Christmas Story’ at least a dozen times, and National Lampoon’s ‘Christmas Vacation.’”
* Chris Williams: “Heard an interesting debate recently: Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas movie?”
* Polly K. Peterson: “‘Family Stone’ is good, too!”
* Tom Johnston: “Krans, nice call on ‘Love Actually’ — love that movie. It can’t be the holidays without National Lampoon’s ‘Christmas Vacation.’ Randy Quaid rocks!”
* Alan Sivell: “As teachers tend to do, I was off on a tangent in class, waxing enthusiastically about my favorite Christmas movie, ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ when one student stopped me in my tracks: ‘Is it in black and white?’ (Because no movie from before 1990 could be worth her time.) It’s gotta be the original, not a remake.”
* Matthew Clemens: “‘A Christmas Story’ because I WILL put my eye out and Bad Santa. Crime writers can’t have Christmas without crime movies, and this debauched weirdness has risen to the top of the pile.”
* Ken Gullette: “‘A Christmas Story’ has become my favorite. I only discovered it in recent years. Nancy and I visited the house they filmed in (and the museum) in Cleveland last week. For many years, starting when I was a kid, my favorite was ‘Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol’ if you can believe it. For a cartoon, that was very well done. It’s hard to find these days.”
* James Taylor: “I’d have to say Bill Murray’s performance in ‘Scrooged.’ His speech at the end is great: ‘You make someone a sandwich, and you say, oh by the way, here……..’”
* Tom Kramer: “‘Scrooged’ anyone?”
* Roger Ellis: “‘A Charlie Brown Christmas!’”
* Deirdre Baker: “The Bakers enjoy ‘Christmas Vacation,’ with Chevy Chase and company. It is especially treasured by my husband.”
* Steve Carrick: “‘It’s A Wonderful Life.”
* Susan Flansburg: “‘Christmas Story!!’ Funny, true to human nature, true to times past (my father says the movie reminds him of his own childhood) and sweet.”
* Tom Johnston adds: “‘Scrooged’ is also a holiday must see. ‘A toaster. She hit me with a freaking toaster!’ A line from the movie and NOT my wife (at least not today. Yet.”
* Kathy Pearson Gile: “‘White Christmas’ with Bing Crosby. I just love the music.”
* Brian Heidgerken: “‘Muppet Christmas Carol’ because it is the best and most accurate adaption and ‘Bishop’s Wife,’ (because) Cary Grant is funny the way he drives the old prof crazy with the refilling bottle of sherry.”
As for me, Christmas movies that have won their way into my heart, in no particular order, and the reason why are “A Christmas Story,” I can relate a bit to that family and those times; “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I find it uplifting every time I watch it, and I’d like to think we all have a guardian angel like Clarence watching over us; National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation,” I love the interaction between family members, particularly Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie Johnson; and “Home Alone,” the way a youngster outwits two bumbling would-be burglars is hilarious.
To my readers, merry movie-watching and Merry Christmas!
Copyright 2009 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. Much of this piece was submitted to The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa, as a column.