Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ho, ho, ho....

Hopefully we've gotten you into the holiday spirit with recipes, gift ideas and most important - book buying recommendations.
What keeps you in the holiday mood? For me, it's holiday movies ...and baking.

Two years ago, I was too lazy to move all the furniture in my living room and decided to put my Christmas tree in my kitchen. It was a brilliant move.

I should probably explain that my house has an open floor plan so I can still see the tree from the living area, but it's changed everything (and I can get a taller tree.) I've also started collecting ornaments that are cooking or baking related - got three charming tea cup ornaments last year and a set of snowmen chefs.

Anyway..while I'm in the kitchen admiring my tree and baking I require even more visual stimulation. Rolling dough can be zenlike, but it can also be a tad boring. That's where the movies come in.
So this year's must-watch holiday films, which are very much like last year's are -
The Snowman - adore this book, this film AND the music.

A Christmas Carol (Alastair Sim version) - the quintessential Scrooge

Scrooged (Bill Murray) - "can't we staple the antlers to the mouse's head?"

Scrooge (Albert Finney) -esp., the rousing "Thank You Very Much" number

The Bishop's Wife - it's Cary Grant, what's not to like?
Falling in Love - I was so pleased to see Sandra Brown - on the S&S website - say this was one of her favorite holiday movies. Me too. And I love the Dave Grusin music. And last but not least

..Love Actually. Can you ever see that movie too many times??? Not me. I may actually be wearing out my dvd.
So, on the outside chance that I haven't already named them, what are your favorite holiday movies?
JAN: Miracle on 34th Street, with the young Natalie Wood, is the only holiday movie I can watch over and over again. I like Its a Wonderful Life, but I've maxed out on it.
RO: It's a Wonderful Life used to be a must-see for me. I started a public domain video line in the 80's and that was far and away our biggest seller. I've seen it dozens of times so I've taken a break too. "Sentimental hogwash!" but we love it. It will eventually work its way back into the rotation.

Re MOTFS - I was in Macy's this week on a wooden escalator so old I kept thinking I was going to see Maureen O'Hara or Edmund Gwenn somewhere.

HALLIE: I'll happily spend another hour and a half with Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" (surely Malcolm in the Middle was smoking this)
Ralphie: I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!
Mrs. Parker: No, you'll shoot your eye out
And if we're talking radio, I love listening to David Sedaris's "Santa's Little Helper" (diary of an elf at Macy's department store)

RO: How could I forget A Christmas Story??? Frrra-geeee-laaaayyy!

HANK: Love, Actually. NO question. I burst into tears thinking about it. I play the CD all year. I think about it every time I'm at the airport. It's just so--personal.

RO: I'm with Hank. If you are too, come back on Saturday for a Love Actually treat!


  1. My daughter made me watch a YouTube video of the SNL "lost ending" for It's a Wonderful Life. The townspeople get together and beat mean Mr. Potter to death--peculiarly satisfying!

    Which doesn't mean we don't get together and watch the original once a year (and The Rocky Horror Picture Show for New Year's).

  2. I'm a Love, Actually junkie, too. This year it's going to be particularly bittersweet watching Liam Neeson mourn.

    And for listening, David Rakoff's marvelous "Christmas Freud" -- about playing Freud in the peculiarly-themed holiday windows at Barney's, aired on This American Life (which is my most favorite addiction):

  3. Susannah,
    I know....I've already seen snippets of it twice this season (and one full screening) and it was heartbreaking to see Liam Neeson at his wife's funeral.

    Must check out SNL ending. After dissing it's a Wonderful Life, I watched a few minutes of it last night while I was cleaning my office (anyone else do that...pop a movie in while you're cleaning?)

    Anyway, the beginning is so charming I may have to break down and watch the whole thing.

    If we're moving on to music I love The Little Drummer Boy despite its rather dark crime connection. And I Believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake with that little Prokofiev riff at the end.

  4. Well, I even confess to liking Mannheim Steamroller. (Eeesh! Only JRW could get me to confess to that.)

    (Susannah. I didn't think of that. Ah.)

    And It's A Wonderful Life--oh, it's irresistible. "You want the moon? I'll get you the moon..."

  5. Having sung in multiple choruses over the years, I confess most Christmas music gives me a toothache. But I do adore Handel's Messiah...just don't sit next to me because I sing along.

  6. OH, Hallie, I do, too.

    And HE shall REIGN for EVER and eh eh ver!

  7. And of course, there's this silent monk rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus:

  8. I don't think anyone mentioned Sleepless in Seattle. It's not really a Christmas movie per se, but it definitely starts out on Christmas Eve. I haven't seen Falling in Love--how did I miss a Meryl streep movie??

    I'll sing along with Messiah too--going tomorrow night...

  9. I find I've finally grown tired of It's a Wonderful Life, but i can tolerate White Christmas.
    My current favorite Polar Express. The little bell at the end brings tears to my eyes.
    (but I do like Love, Actually. i watched it twice on the flight to and from Australia.
    And I love the Albert Finney Scrooge. Has anyone seen the new animated version with Jim Carey?

  10. Do I lose my Man Card if I admit that Love, Actually is one of my favorite movies of all time, too? My wife and I even danced to the Norah Jones song at our wedding.

    I'd wax sentimental some more, but I need to go off and start making US$2,000 per day with Aim Trust...

  11. Brad, you do NOT lose your Man Card, in fact you get extra points and maybe even a Get Out of Jail Free card for that admission.