Favorite Holiday Movies
Favorite Holiday Movies:
I am a big Christmas fan. Incidentally, I was born on Christmas day; therefore I was named “Mary.” Makes you wonder what I’d be named if I was born on Arbor Day, Fern? Anyway, my Mom always wanted to make this time special and my parents often went into credit card debt just so Santa would have a full sleigh.
In addition to the special memories of listening to my mother singing in the choir at Midnight Mass, setting out cookies for Santa, (Dad) the huge tree you had to climb over in our small apartment, and frantic unwrapping of gifts that my brother and I engaged in such a fury, it was scary. In addition to all these great memories were the movies.
Back in the day before videos, DVDs, or Tivo, we had to check the TV guide to catch our special Christmas shows. If you missed it, you had to wait a whole other year.
Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977) (TV)
This is a “spin-off,” of sorts of Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer. This donkey, as the title revealed, had very long ears that got in the way and deemed unusual and an object of ridicule for the other donkeys. Sound familiar? Think Dumbo. The heart wrenching part was when the Roman soldier demanded young donkeys, he took Nester and the other little donkeys, but seeing Nester’s very long ears, accused the stable owner of cheating him and took the rest of the donkeys for free. The stable owner kicked him out; his loving mother went out in the cold with him. There was a bad snow storm... (in the Middle East?) and consequently died trying to make him warm. Later, a greedy salesman sells/gives him to Mary and Joseph. Nester guides the holy couple through a wind storm to a stable. It is heartwarming, really. It is the kind of silly stop motion animation in the same vein as Frosty the Snowman and all reindeer movies.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Love the kids dancing. Always makes me smile. Very cute. Love the message of over commercialized Christmas. Who ever thought that aluminum Christmas trees were pretty? Then, when Linus recites the real Christmas story....chokes me up every time.
Miracle on 34th Street
Big Cooperate America tries to make belief in Santa a certifiable mental illness. Makes you believe in generosity, kindness, and even believe in Santa. It may also encourage you to shop at Macy’s. Early product placement. ;)
This is a Bill Murray classic. Bill Murray is a TV producer who is quite Scrooge like. Unlike many warmed over “modernization” of A Christmas Carol, its funny, edgy, and sarcastic with still having a heart. Cratchet, who is played by is an overworked African-American single mom whose youngest son became mute after watching his father get shot. She is long suffering, with still trying to keep her boss in his place...tries, anyway. It is also nostalgic because it has many references to classic television like Father Knows Best and Little House on the Prairie.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
This movie should be played to people on hold on a suicide hotline. Although a bit hokey, it really does show that everyone really does matter and we have impact on more people and the world than we would ever know. It is easy to get depressed at the holidays, I know, but this movie does help to keep it in perspective. And when the little Mary tells her haggard father that “every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings" is priceless. Beautiful. The Muppets have a retelling of the same story with the same, furry heart. And the song “Everybody Matters” is great.
Christmas Movies can be hokey. Basically, if it’s on the Hallmark Channel, be forewarned.
There are a lot of great Christmas movies that reinforces the importance of family, self-worth, charity, the wonder of childhood, even belief in Santa and all he represents. Watch some of these movies when you’re feeling kind of Bah-Humbug, and have a Merry Christmas.