Monday, December 3, 2012

Movies That Make Christmas

Christmas means something a little different to everyone. There are traditions and norms that people anticipate every year. Setting up the Christmas tree, baking Christmas cookies, selecting the perfect photo for the annual Christmas card...

I've always been kind of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas trees. Don't get me wrong - they're beautiful; I just have all kinds of anxiety with setting it up. I freak out if the ornaments aren't appropriately spaced. It's a pain in the ass to get out all of the supplies. And frankly, packing it up at the end of the season sucks.

I love Christmas baking. Sadly, I have never been able to perfect my Grandma's cut out cookies. I'm secretly let down every year.

Don't even get me started on Christmas cards... It's not the actual card or the idea of sending them... I just have a very difficult time actually getting them in the mail. (This problem isn't exclusive to Christmas cards. There is a reason my husband and I decided he would be responsible for getting the bills in the mail.)

Movies, however, are a big tradition in our home. The kids and I have always been able to bond over movies. There are a 5 movies that we watch every December, together. As they've gotten older, we appreciate this time and these movies... And I appreciate that they "get it" better every year.

So what are these magical movies that strengthen our family bond?

In no particular order -

A Christmas Story - 1983
Who doesn't love this 40's tale of a little boy who wants a Red Rider BB gun? Not to mention, it's a perfect depiction of the pure dysfunction that has always plagued the American family... Like every American classic, this film is riddled with with quotes that have permeated American culture. My favorite is one that has been tossed around by my brother and me since childhood... "Fra-gee-lay... It must be Italian."

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - 1989
This is another favorite from childhood. I get great joy from hearing my kids laugh hysterically over something that my brother and I would be in stitches over when we were kids. Clark Griswold is probably the most iconic dad in American film and television history. (Yeah, I said it. Bill Cosby's got nuthin' on Clark!) To this day, I almost pee my pants when Clark says to Eddie, "Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?" I mean really, who hasn't felt that way about a family member at Christmas?

Elf - 2003
This is one that I hope my kids share with their kids when they're my age. Buddy the Elf. Ridiculous. Foolish. Juvenile. Every year, this movie revives my Christmas cheer. (Obviously because they sing out loud for all to hear.) And, secretly, it has made me suspect my daughter is an elf. "We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup."

The Polar Express - 2004
I was skeptical of this one, but in elementary school, my kids would have a Polar Express day right before winter break. I had to know what was so great... I found it mesmerizing and enchanting, and it made me remember what it was like to believe. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from this movie, "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things are things we can't see."

Love Actually - 2003
This is my very favorite movie of all time, not just Christmas. The love stories are sweet. The relationships are real. And it helped me believe in love again during a very dark time in life. It taught me, "Life is full of interruptions and complications." a lesson I learned over and over again over the last decade. 

What are your traditions? Your norms? What makes Christmas Christmas for you?

**click the image to buy the movie from**


Mrs. Match said...

Love those movies. I also love watching The Holiday and The Family Stone each year.

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