Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Top Ten Christmas Movies

As the holidays approach, I feel compelled to share a list of the best Christmas movies of all time. By whose standards, you ask? Well, mine of course. I haven't done any research into which movies have gotten the best reviews or were the most widely broadcast or sold the most copies. All I can tell you is that I have watched every one of these movies oodles of times, and they are part of a great tapestry of traditions that will always make Christmas special for me. Some are popular, some are not. Some you probably didn't even know existed. All are worth watching at least once in your life. Maybe even twice.

Here they are, in no particular order:

The Christmas Gift

The Christmas Gift is a made-for-tv movie that was released during my childhood. My mom has always tried to catch as many of those tv Christmas movies as possible, and this one always stuck with me. The story revolves around a man (John Denver) and his daughter - his wife had recently died. He uproots what is left of the family and relocates them to the cutest little town. Man, how I longed to move to that town. Everyone knows everyone, there are sleigh rides down Main St., the whole town participates in the Christmas pageant. So quaint! I remember thinking that little girl (who happened to me my age) was soooo cool. I wanted to be just like her. :) You may also recognize the woman in the photo above. That's Jane Kazcmarek in one of her earliest roles. She plays Susan, the postmaster. Such a sweet movie.... and still getting aired on Lifetime as recently as last Christmas! I have easily watched this movie at least 200 times (no, that is not a typo - I had it recorded. Play, rewind, play, rewind, play rewind. Well, you get the picture. Check it out!

The Christmas Wish

Despite the fact that it has been around since 1998 or so, I just found The Christmas Wish last year. What drew me to it? Two words: Debbie Reynolds. She plays Neil Patrick Harris' grandma in a little story about finding out what's important in life. I've seen this one twice - both on tv last season. I'll definitely be looking for it again this year. You know, because it has some catching up to do with some of these other flicks.

Meet Me In St. Louis

Alright. I really don't consider this a true Christmas movie. BUT... there is snow. And there is a Christmas tree. And there is quite possibly one of the most idyllic Christmas songs of all time. You cannot watch Esther sing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas to Tootie without getting a little nostolgic. It's just not possible. And for that, it makes my short list.

White Christmas

Folks, remember how I said that these were listed in no particular order? Well, it's true. Because if they were, this would be at the top of the list. White Christmas is my favorite Christmas movie. Perhaps even my favorite movie period. I have literally watched this hundreds of times. We could possibly be in the thousands by now. I have the entire script memorized, and I'm not even making that up. I spent hours upon hours watching this as a child. Play, rewind. Play, rewind. Play, rewind. Alllll weekend long. Every weekend. All year long. Until one day I rewound it and went to hit play and my grandpa, God love him, said, "If you put that G.D. movie in ONE MORE TIME I'm going to rip it out with my bare hands and destroy it!!!"

I cried.

Grandma laughed so hard she nearly peed.

As always, Grandpa won, and White Christmas went on hiatus for awhile, which in hindsight was ok because it gave me a chance to put some of these other ones on heavy repeat.

This photo cracks me up, because that little ballerina you see hides at the base of the Christmas tree while they sing their song, and then she stands up and starts dancing. For the longest time, I had no idea where she came from. I thought they dubbed her in. I had to rewind it and play it in slow motion to see that she was there at the bottom of the tree all along. D'oh.

Best Line: "When what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting whatever it is you've got left!"

I actually pulled this one out today and popped it in. Jack (who, for the record is named after my aforementioned grandfather) started saying, "No! NO! NO!" as soon as it started.


Rest in peace, Grandpa. I took it out.

For now.

When I was a child, the only thing my mother watched more than Christmas movies was All My Children. I probably saw wayyy too much far before I should have, but that's kind of how it was back then. I don't think parents worried as much about what may or may not impact their child. Whatev. I turned out ok.... and have a strong appreciation for Susan Lucci. Love her! I remember the year she finally won her daytime emmy. I was in tears and woke my mother up who came running in to watch the acceptance speech. Ahh, the memories. Anyhow, as you can imagine, we grabbed any chance to see our diva on tv, and back then there really weren't many. Ebbie entered our lives and fast became a favorite. If you haven't seen it, it's really worth checking out. Kind of a modern day version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Cute, cute, cute.
Holiday Inn
If White Christmas is number one, Holiday Inn would be number two. They would be tied for first if this wasn't a black and white movie. I'm not a fan of black and white. Give me technicolor. Give me sparkles. But, hundreds of shades of gray aside, this one is a keeper. When Grandpa made me take out White Christmas, Holiday Inn promptly took its place. Play, rewind. Play, rewind. I knew it by heart. I wanted to be this Linda Carter character you see in this picture. I wanted to meet Bing Crosby. Until I found out he was mean to his kids in real life, but that's a very different, distinctly non-Christmasy post. I love the songs. I love the love triangle. I love the crazy guy in the hallway with the accent and the attitude: "How can I tell you which way is Connect-i-cut?!" I love the dress Linda wears for the Valentine's Day number. And as un-PC as it is, I love the black face number, too. So good!
Christmas Snow
Christmas Snow came out while Who's The Boss was popular. I'd lay money on the fact that I watched it simply because Mona (Kathryn Helmond) was in it. I don't have a recording of this, and havent' seen it in the December tv listings for some time, though I search for it every year. I love it though... and love it even more now that I just realized that little girl is Melissa Joan Hart. Who knew?! She (her character) was afraid of Amelia Bedelia. Hee hee. I don't remember much about the plot, but I can tell you that if you find it you won't be disappointed!

A Smoky Mountain Christmas

Oh, Dolly... How I love thee. I could seriously listen to her talk for hours. Weeks. YEARS. And Lee Majors? Hello. As Phoebe Buffet would say, "Lee Majors is hot." You know, in that scruffy old guy kind of way. Not unlike Tom Selleck, but I digress.
Anyhow, yeah.

Shake it off, Sarah.
Super sweet movie with orphans and cabins and spells and a mean witchy women on a horse. What more could you ask for?

Santa Claus: The Movie

I wonder who decided to cast the shortest actor on the planet as an elf? Genius!!
Poor Patch... he tries so hard to do what's right, but he gets caught up with a bad bunch of misers and it all turns south. Isn't that always the way though?
I credit this movie with putting the color peuce on the map. What is peuce? Watch the movie and find out!
And last, but certainly not least....
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

First of all, let me say that this is the best scene in the entire movie. Squirrel in the Christmas tree? Classic. Because that could really happen. Seriously! Probably wouldn't be quite as funny in my living room, but still...
And who doesn't love the Griswold's? Or, for that matter, Chevy Chase? I seriously wracked my brain to try to figure out if there was enough Christmas-y material in his movie Funny Farm to warrant adding it to my list (sadly, no, but still an excellent movie.... lamb fries?! Hello!).

There you have it, friends. Your holiday television/dvd to do list.
And no, A Christmas Story did not make my list. Maybe because it is the worst Christmas movie ever created. Because it really, really is. I know people love it, but I just don't get it. It's ok though - I'm sure some of you are looking at this list wondering what I've been smoking, too. And I'm ok with that, because I love my movies and my traditions, and wouldn't trade them for the world.... or a floor lamp wearing fishnet stockings.

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Lorie said...

I was so happy to see Meet Me In St. Louis on your list! Surprised that Miracle on 34th Street wasn't. I haven't seen some of these so I'll have to put them on my Netflix list. :)

Noelle Bolstad said...

This is shocking to me. I've only seen ONE of your movies! WTH?? I have some work to do this month :-)

i {heart} papers said...

Lamb fries! Thanks for reminding me about that!!

I'm batting 70% on your list - not too shabby! I can't believe A Christmas Story isn't on here. Or Elf... or A Little House Christmas or or many more.

JenN said...

Well we agree on Meet Me in St. Louis(of course) and the last two, however I am a die-hard Christmas Story fan. And I don't disagree with any of your others, I just haven't seen them. I may have to put one of these up on my own blog. Well done.

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