Featuring movies I both have and haven’t seen.
Let’s say you’re the kind of person who prefers their Christmas light on the Christ. And also light on the mas(s). Thankfully some parts of the world have accepted Christmas as part of the non-denominational holiday season- a time when we celebrate not the mis-dated birth of our Lord Jesus, but rather our love for one another. Our family, our friends, cozy nights, festive lights, and a rapacious culture of consumerism.
One of my favorite traditions for holiday togetherness is the Christmas movie, whether it’s on in the evening while I’m curled up on the couch or its just on in the background while I decorate the tree (just kidding, you have to play the Nutcracker Suite while you decorate the tree. It is written).
While I’m usually all ready for a trite and sentimental holiday story, sometimes you just need something a little more subversive. If that’s you, here’s your list.
Films I’ve Seen:
- In Bruges: I honestly love In Bruges, a black comedy-crime featuring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (my real Santa Claus) spewing a never-ending stream of swears and spirit.
- Edward Scissorhands: This just treads the line with being actually Christmas-y, with the heartfelt themes of family, community, belonging, and the harm of isolation. But Johnny Depp has scissors for hands and Winona’s awesome.
- The Life of Brian: Biggus Dickus. ‘Nuff said.
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: There are a lot of families for which LOTR is a real Christmas tradition, given that the films were released around the holidays. For me it’s because I found the box set under the tree as a child after Dad and I read the series together. An Ent is the only real Christmas tree I need.
- The Harry Potter Series: Actually tender and fuzzy feelings with delightful magic and Christmas scenes. But because evangelicals like to burn the books, the series gets a spot on this list. *Christmassiness declines as the series progresses.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Multiple songs with references to murdering Santa.
Films I’ve Yet To See:
- Eyes Wide Shut: Tom Cruise on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery. Kay.
- Gremlins: My plan is to get this one watched this year.
- Die Hard: I didn’t finish this movie. I just don’t find it very interesting, mostly because of Bruce Willis. But if you can hang in there for Alan Rickman, do it.
- The French Connection: There are a few more Christmas-adjacent gang/crime films (Blast of Silence is another), but I’ll put this one on as the representative. But watch In Bruges first. I vouch for it.
I’m a big fan of Christmas/holiday music and my favorite category has to be more traditional choral stuff. You know, where you take little boys and make them sing together and then chuck them out when their voices start cracking so that they can begin bootcamp for King’s College Choir.
So actually very traditional and staid, rather than good old family tunes like Santa Claus is Coming to Town or whatever Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole you want to wedge in here. Not that those aren’t good. I love those too. But maybe a little less? Anyway, a brief rundown (because we’re still in finals period!) of my favorite somewhat antediluvian Christmas songs. Continue reading “Christmas Music: Traditional”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Well, depending on how you feel about it, maybe, maybe not. For me, it will be once I’m done with this semester and headed home. And then I can double down on the advent calendar, gift wrapping, holiday preparation whole nine yards.
Because college has seriously cramped my festive style. (I miss the 25 days of Christmas on ABC (Is it ABC?)). All they do here at university is get drunk at holiday parties. And the guys next door (not the ones we share a bathroom with, the other ones) blast Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You while I try to do my thesis. Bah Humbug.
Finals aren’t even over until the 21st.
I’ve done a bit better this year. I cornered a children’s choir and made them sing Go Tell it on the Mountain, which is one of my favorite carols. Okay, actually I ran into them and they were going to sing anyway. But it was such an unexpected coup and I feel so deviously satisfied.
I also got to watch a single Christmas movie one of the days after Thanksgiving. Still far behind my young self, but doing better than some recent years.
And a horse-drawn carriage giving free rides stopped in front of me today so I hopped on and they took me around the block, which was lovely. The horses were named Ben and Luke, a Clydesdale and Percheron x Thoroughbred. And I’m very satisfied because I guessed their breeds correctly. My horse knowledge hasn’t all wasted away.
And I think the performance of the Messiah will be happening soon at the chapel. That’s always excellent. Last year I went and worked on my fifty page lab report. Woo!
So here’s a list of the cheesy Christmas specials that I’m missing (for now). They’re kind of in the order of what I love most, which mostly reflects what I liked as a child rather than what is ‘good’. And I’m omitting movies I haven’t seen (and movies I couldn’t make it through- like Arthur Christmas). Continue reading “Christmas Specials”