Although radio stations have been playing Christmas music for nearly a month now, for me, this is when the Christmas season truly begins-right after Thanksgiving. My own personal tradition is to watch as many Christmas movies as I can between Thanksgiving and December 25th, and there are some films I watch over and over again. While this list is by no means complete, it does contain some of my very favorite Christmas movies of all time.
The Nativity Story: This film is a beautiful depiction of the birth of the Savior, presenting Mary and Joseph in a way I'd never envisioned before. The acting, the directing, and the casting were all superb.
The Forgotten Carols: Michael McLean has been presenting this story as a stage play for a decade and a half, and now it's available on DVD. I watched it at my sister's house on Thanksgiving Day and I have every intention of buying it and adding it to my yearly ritual. Truly a masterpiece.
Elf: Buddy is an orphan who accidentally crawled into Santa's bag and was taken back to the North Pole. The elves decide to raise him as one of their own, but it's obvious he's not one of them, and it's not just his towering height of over six feet. When Buddy learns the truth, he decides to search out his real father. With his innocent, childlike perception of the world around him, Buddy helps his crusty old father realize that family is the most important thing there is.
White Christmas: Christmas just isn't complete for me unless I've seen the classic movie, "White Christmas." Bing Crosby's crooning, Danny Kaye's sense of fun, Vera-Ellen's magical toes-it's simply a must-see every year as New York stage actors meet budding starlets and get swept away to Vermont, where a lack of snow is killing the ski season for a small hotel. It all becomes personal when the owner of the hotel is revealed to be the old commanding officer of the two performers, and they decide to put on a show to bring business into the hotel.
The Santa Clause series: What if Santa fell off your roof, you put on his suit, and became Santa yourself? What if you hated it, but eventually the spirit of the calling rested on you, and you became the best Santa there ever was? Scott Calvin knows what this feels like. After fighting the inevitable and learning to accept it in the first movie, he then has to fight to keep the right to be Santa in the second film, and finishs up in the third movie by helping the world remember that Christmas is based on love. These are movies you can (and should) watch with your whole family.
Mr. Krueger's Christmas: Willie Krueger is a widowed janitor who spends his days serving others and his nights alone in his tiny apartment with no one for company but his cat, George. This solitude doesn't stop him from enjoying the Christmas spirit, and he decorates his apartment with anticipation of the holiday to come. When a little girl reaches out to him and includes him in her celebration, he is deeply touched at the thought of having a friend. The highlight of this film shows Mr. Krueger (artfully played by Jimmy Stewart) imagining he is at the manger, visiting the Christ-child and thanking Him for everything.
I could go on indefinitely. Many wonderful films have been created to celebrate this most special time of year. I encourage you to seek them out and spend a little extra time bringing the spirit of the holiday into your home. Crank up the radio a little louder and sing along with the carols. Smile to the other shoppers at the store. Give a gift to someone who might be a little down on their luck. And may you have a wonderful month filled with memories that will last you the whole year through.
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