So, without any more rambling, I present a list of my favorite Christmas movies (this is by no means extensive... I had to limit myself to ten because otherwise this would be the longest post ever.) And if your favorite isn't included, feel free to remind me. I'm sure there are some classics I've forgotten!
1. It's a Wonderful Life- I love this movie, though I must confess that I usually watch up until "Buffalo Gals" and then quit because I'm such a baby when it comes to sadness. But, if I'm feeling emotionally hardy I barrel through to the end, which of course is totally worth it to hear Zuzu say "I want to give my flower a drink" and know that Clarence gets his wings. And of course, I can rarely watch Harry say "To my big brother George... the richest man in town" without blubbering. A true classic, and Jimmy Stewart called it his favorite of all the films he made. I agree, Jim.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas- I don't care if you're 2 or 102... this is just fun to watch. In my opinion, the biggest thing it has going for it is the Vince Guaraldi track (the man was a genius) but watching the kids dance around and wave their hands to magically transform the little bush into a full Christmas tree is also charming. Then of course, Linus's recitation of the Christmas story is one of my favorite moments in all Christmas shows. "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." Yes, indeed, Linus.
3. A Muppet Christmas Carol- I can hear my dad saying "Oh brother" and my mom cheering all the way from Georgia. My dad thinks this movie is dumb but it's my mom's favorite. I happen to love it, not only because it features Michael Caine (in his grumpy perfection) but it also has a really sweet soundtrack (it's a musical) and has the Muppets! Kermit as Bob Cratchet and Miss Piggy as Mrs. Cratchet? I love it. Watch it if you've never seen it before.... Gonzo as the narrator is hilarious.
4. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)- I love the 1947 version, which is obviously the first and a classic, but (don't shoot me) I actually prefer the newer version. Natalie Wood as Susan in the first movie is annoying to me, but I adore Mara Wilson as Susan and other than preferring Maureen O'Hara to Elizabeth Perkins, I pretty much like everyone in the new movie better. (Except for the fact that they changed the story and the store isn't Macy's, etc.) I guess I like old-fashioned story line better prefer the modern cast. Again, the casting of Susan in the '94 version just makes the movie for me. She is so adorable!
5. The Santa Clause- Please tell me you've seen this... it's one of Disney's funniest holiday movies in a long time. What happens when Tim Allen accidentally bumps off Santa and is now responsible for filling his shoes, er... boots? Sudden weight gain, overnight facial hair, and being forced to explain all this odd behavior to those around him. Pretty much, hilarity ensues. Oh, and the sweater jokes he makes about his ex-wife's husband are worth watching the whole movie.
6. The Santa Clause 2- I rarely enjoy sequels, but this one is really funny. Not quite as funny as the first movie, but I still really like it. Santa (aka Scott Calvin aka Tim Allen) is doing a great job at the North Pole and everything is peachy when he realizes a) his son Charlie is on the naughty list and b) he will lose his job a Santa unless he finds a Mrs. Clause. P.S. The scene where Scott goes on a blind date with a Christmas-obsessed woman who breaks into song is one of my favorite Christmas movie scenes of all time. You will laugh very hard.
7. Santa Clause is Comin' To Town/Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer- basically the whole collection of those clay-mation wonders is on my list. I love the Santa Clause story of how Kris Kringle became Santa (and I love that it's narrated by Fred Astaire) and the Rudolph story, with the whole misfit toys side story, is so cute. And again, both of these have great songs! ("There's Always Tomorrow" or "Put One Foot in Front of the Other" ring any bells?)
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas- the Dr. Seuss version narrated by Boris Karloff... NOT the Jim Carrey version. I HATE the Jim Carrey version... don't be offended, I just really despise that movie. Anyway, the songs and animation of the 1966 movie are just great. If you've ever really listened to the lyrics of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" you know the genius of Dr. Seuss. Read the book out loud sometime for a good laugh, especially to kids.
9. Holiday Inn- Shockingly, our family did not discover this cinematic gem until a couple of years ago, but we have made up for lost time in the amount of times we've watched it since then. The premise is that an entertainer, weary of his grueling schedule, decides to open an inn open ONLY on holidays... which means that his laziness is satisfied with only having to work about 15 days a year. Lots of other little twists are included, but I'll let you enjoy it yourself. =) Just know that Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire are wonderful as always, and this includes quite a few of Irving Berlin's best songs.
10. White Christmas- I saved the best for last, because this is my absolutely favorite Christmas movie of all time. In fact, I went through a stage when I was about 10 (in the month of June, of all things) where I watched this at least once a day for weeks in a row. In case your life has been very sad up to this point and you haven't actually seen it, two WWII vets become entertainment partners and join up with a sister act to save their former general's inn, just in time for Christmas, of course.
There you have it... my very favorite Christmas movies. Other favorites include Holiday Affair, Elf, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Home Alone, Christmas in Connecticut, Bells of St. Mary's, Boys Town, lots of Christmas episodes of my favorite shows (especially Psych) and probably more that I am just too tired and forgetful to remember.
What are your family's favorite Christmas movies? I would love to add to my collection!
Happy watching! May your days be merry and bright... and, well, you know the rest.