My Favorite Christmas Movies
One of the great Christmas traditions in my house is the stack of Christmas DVD’s that get watched every year. I find that watching these movies is a great way of reflecting on the past year, the choices that we’ve made, and the things that we’ve done. Sitting down with some of these favorites somehow seems to bring the world back into a little bit of focus for me, which is usually just what is needed at this time of year. The basic list includes (in no particular order):
Mickey’s Christmas Carol – I grew up with this being aired on Sunday nights on the Wonderful World of Disney on television. It is basically a cartoon version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol – however, I’ve never found a live action version of Dickens’s book that can beat the childhood memories I have of sitting on the couch with the family and watching Scrooge McDuck realize the errors of his ways.
It’s a Wonderful Life – I’ve got to say that this is probably the most loved Christmas movie of all time. Our brave star can’t take the disappointment of his life and is given a chance to see how the world would look if he hadn’t been a part of it. As with many things Christmas, much of the magic is in the tradition of this movie. It was released in 1946, and as far as I know it has been popular ever since.
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – no Jim Carrey please. The original version of this Christmas classic is just 26 minutes long, originally created from Dr. Seuss’ book for television in 1966. I think every child in North America has seen this show.
The Family Man – Nicholas Cage and Tea Leone star in this movie in which Nick’s character (Jack Campbell) gives up the love of his life for his career. Much like in It’s A Wonderful Life, he is given a ‘glimpse’ to see what his life could have been like. I love this movie because, although the premise is similar to It’s a Wonderful Life, the take is thoroughly modern.
Elf – Will Farrell. James Caan. Bob Newhart. The premise is completely wacky; a human is raised as an elf at the North Pole until he’s 30, then sent to New York City to find his real father (who just happens to be on the naughty list). In the end, he may just be called upon to save Christmas. Movies like this really showcase Will Farrell’s comedic genius, and if you have kids, or just like to laugh, it should be a staple in your house.
National Lampoons Christmas Vacation – the Griswold’s do Christmas. It’s hilarious, poking fun at many of the traditions of the Christmas season with the classic National Lampoons irreverence. I also love the grinchy neighbors.
A Christmas Story – You certainly won’t shoot your eye out with this DVD, but Ralphie’s parents think he might with the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun that he want’s sooo badly under the Christmas tree. I didn’t grow up with this movie; in fact I only became a convert last year on someone else’s recommendation. When I finally sat down and watched the whole thing I knew instantly that it would make this list. This movie is absolutely funny, and well worth your time.
There are dozens of Christmas movies that I haven’t mentioned, and then of course there are the myriad of television specials like Charlie Brown or the new Shrek Christmas show. The point of course, isn’t to spend the entire holiday season stuck in front of the television, but to take time to spend with the family and to take the time to reflect on the way we live. Are you being consistent with whatever values you have, or are you being pulled astray? Part of being a man is living consistently with your values whatever they are. Christmas is a great time to reflect on the past year and decide how we want to be next year. These movies seem to strike a certain harmony with me, and I hope you enjoy them too.