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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Favorite Christmas Movies! What's Yours?

When I think of Christmas movies the first one that pops into my head is It's a Wonderful Life. Our kids loved it so much growing up that watching it over Christmas vacation (usually on Christmas eve) became an annual tradition. I love George Bailey, but my favorite character is George's guardian angel, Clarence, although Mr. Martini is a close second. I love his tender concern for George after he gets clobbered in Martini's bar by the husband of Zuzu's teacher. Most of the minor characters in the film are wonderful. George's parents, his brother Harry, Bert and Ernie, Violet, Uncle Billy. One of the funniest scenes takes place after George rescues Clarence from the river and the man who runs the railway house listens to Clarence telling George he's an angel. It's hilarious! What a cameo!

But there are lots of other memorable Christmas movies. Some are set at Christmas, like A Christmas Carol. Others have Christmas scenes like Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Bells of St. Mary's. One of my favorite Christmas films is Miracle on 34th Street -- not the remake, but the 1947 version with Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, and the absolutely endearing Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. That movie is truly magical!

If I had to guess my husband's favorite Christmas movie it would have to be A Christmas Story with Darren McGavin. It's all about Ralphie who wants a BB gun for Christmas, but seems destined for disappointment. Just mention the movie and Larry starts quoting lines from it. "You'll shoot your eye out!" Whenever I think of it I see the lamp that has a lady's leg for the base with the fringed shade and Ralphie's poor friend with his tongue frozen to the metal pole. Believe it or not you can actually visit Ralphie's house in Cleveland and even buy a lady's leg lamp, just about the tackiest gift item in history. 

Then there are all the cartoon specials for kids, but the only one I really like is Charlie Brown's Christmas. It's one of the few films that expresses what Christmas is all about. Linus' rendition of St. Luke's gospel is lovely as he describes the true meaning of Christmas. And who doesn't love the kids all cooperating to transform Charlie Brown's pathetic little Christmas tree. It's Christmas magic! I love watching that with my grandchildren.

The number of made-for-TV Christmas movies is legion and every year it seems more materialize like ornaments on an over-decorated tree. But the one that sticks in my mind is the pilot for The Walton's TV series: The Homecoming, A Christmas Story. It takes place in our own neck of the woods, the Blue Ridge Mountains. And what a lovely film it is. You can feel the warmth of family. How I loved that wonderful series!

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

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