December has to be my favorite month of the year. I love all the preparations and decorations and celebrations for the Christmas season. But two of my favorite things about the Christmas season are the books and movies we savor every year because, for those of us in the Ball household, it just isn’t Christmas without:
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. (“Hey! Unto you a child is born!”)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Debbie Macomber’s Angels series (LOVE Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy!)
Christmas in Connecticut (the Barbara Stanwyck version)
White Christmas (I sing along, of course)
Ernest Saves Christmas (Yes, I’m serious…knowwhaddImean, Vern?)
Die Hard (Hey, it’s a Christmas movie!)
Babes in Toyland (“This is the forest of no retuuuurrrnnnn…”)
A Muppets Christmas Carol (“You may be a bit of undigested beef…”)
How about you? What books or movies to you just have to read or watch when December rolls around?
I love reading Christmas stories, and we enjoy the Hallmark Christmas movies.
Two of my favorite movies are White Christmas and While You Were Sleeping. While You Were Sleeping has sweet, funny, sad, and romantic all rolled into one great movie.
I start with Holiday Inn early in the season, save White Christmas for close to the big day, and tuck It’s a Wonderful Life somewhere in between. Those are just the highlights, of course. My list of Christmas movies is long.
I justify the time as “a study in dialogue and character development.”
I love Holiday Inn too! I need to put it on. 🙂
Kathy, phew, I’m glad I’m not the only one who justifies t.v as ‘research’ 😉
This is a recent exchange when my husband saw me curled on the couch watching PBS’s Sherlock Holmes with captions on or I would have no idea what their saying:
H: “What are you doing?”
Me: “shhhhh, I’m studying.”
H: He looked at the t.v and then back to me and nodded slowly. “You said you had tons of editing to do.”
Me: I motioned him to move away from the screen, “Obviously, and I need to focus.”
H: “On what?”
Me: I sigh. “The dialogue, the setting, the way the characters interact, the pacing of the plot, transitions. I have a busy night ahead so seriously…” I shifted to try and see around him.
H: “Don’t work too hard,” he says with a wink.
Me: I smiled and lifted part of my blanket to welcome him to sit beside me 🙂
I have young boys and we watch a montage of old school Disney cartoon Christmas clips that includes Mickey’s Christmas Carol. The Santa Clause and Home Alone 1 & 2 are also an annual must!
Books: The Night before Christmas in like every year it was every written. The pictures are drastically different and it’s neat to see how the art has shifted. The Twelve Days of Christmas, which we still don’t have memorized, and then tons of other pictures books that range from silly elves to lazy reindeers to Jesus’ birth. Colors are so bright and vivid in Christmas picture books!
That is perfect, Jenelle!
Christmas is the only season where I prefer movies to books. The must see movies are:
It’s a Wonderful Life
The Santa Clause
Muppet’s Christmas Carol
The Bishop’s Wife
Sleepless in Seattle. Starts at Christmas. Ends on Valentine’s Day.
We watch: A Christmas Carol (Alistair Sim version) and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Books: The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier, The Nativity by Laurie Knowlton, and Wintersong: Christmas Readings by Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw.
I’m with Jackie–While You Were Sleeping is the first movie I pull out and watch. That and the Muppets Christmas Carol! Of course, we love the more traditional ones like White Christmas. My daughters love Elf, too.
I love the Hallmark Christmas movies but one of my favorite Christmas movies is Eloise at the Plaza. This wide-eyed precocious little girl brings back a child’s view of life and love. I watch it and smile.
Well, you can tell I go waaaay back when my favorite Christmas movies are:
Meet Me in St. Louis
Miracle on 34th St. with Natalie Wood
Christmas in Connecticut
Of course It’s a Wonderful Life has to be on the list.
I love Christmas and from November 30 to Jan. 2, we celebrate 5 birthdays and 3 anniversaries as well as Christmas, so it really is my favorite time of the year.
One of my favorite activities is singing in the choir four our Christmas pageant at church and sharing the miracle of Jesus’ birth with our city.
It’s a Wonderful Life is our staple. Still saving it to watch in a week or so. We just saw “Elf” for the first time and I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it. Being a novice writer, I took note of the timing of the plot points and couldn’t help but notice the huge character arc of the father. We always loved the George C Scott version of The Christmas Carol, but the Muppet version is definitely a keeper.
This isn’t a Christmas movie, but I hope to see “Unbroken” soon after its release on Christmas Day. I will no doubt be disappointed because movies never live up to the books, but we are nevertheless looking forward to it.
My favorite Christmas movies are The Christmas Shoes, (makes me cry every year.) And Silent Night. Those two stories are epic.
Until this year, I haven’t read a lot of Christmas books, I guess because I don’t really have time to sit down and read during the holiday season. But this year I am determined to read 3 Christmas books. I’m working on When Treetops Glisten right now.
I love Christmas movies and books. For movies:
It’s a Wonderful Life,
Going My Way,
Muppets Christmas Carol–watched with our boys annually
The Nativity Story and
The Christmas Child–an adoption story that makes me cry every year
I LOVE kids Christmas stories! Especially,
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Herschel’s Hanukah Goblins (shares about Hanukah in a fun way)
The Shoe Box by Francine Rivers
Janet Ann Collins
When I was a kid every Christmas Eve our mother read us The Night Before Christmas and the KJV gospel Christmas story from the book, Christmas Carols, illustrated by Fern Bisel Peat. We’d sing the songs between the verses. I still read those books every year.
Nancy J Farrier
Last year we were riding in the car and I asked my two daughters what they would choose as a Christmas movie. Without hesitation, one said Die Hard, and the other said Hogfather (based on a Terry Pratchett book). I have to agree those aren’t traditional, but I love them both since I’m not a traditional sort of person. I had to laugh, Karen, when I saw Die Hard on your list of movies. 🙂
Way too many good movies (and corny ones you just can’t help but love). Got to have the classics– White Christmas, Miracle of 34th Street, It Happened on 5th Ave, A Wonderful Life, Bells of St. Mary’s, Meet Me in St. Louis…
Then there are the great rom/coms– Sleepless in Seattle, Serendipity, You’ve Got Mail, The Family Stone, 4 Christmases, The Holiday, While You Were Sleeping…
The Children’s movies we can’t live without– The Santa Clause, Muppets Christmas Carol, Frosty the Snowman…
The 2 that are banned from my house though are Elf and The Christmas Story. I know they’re some people’s favorites, but I just don’t like them.
Elizabeth Van Tassel
I agree with all the above mentioned movies and books. Super. Please warm up the hot cocoa!
Another great movie that helps explain the true meaning behind Christmas in a fun way for kids is from the makers of VeggieTales. It’s called “Why Do We Call It Christmas?” In my blog “10 Tips For A Resilient Christmas” today I highlight these movies since it’s so helpful in getting in the spirit of things.
I love sharing traditions with our kids, whether it’s a fun holiday or challenging one.
Nothing gets me in the spirit like reading a good holiday story. Some of my favorites are: A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, How Far to Bethlehem by Norah Lofts, The Christmas Mouse and Village Christmas by Miss Read, and A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg. Has anyone else read any of these?
For books: Henry Van Dyke’s original “The Story of the Other Wise Man,” which my family read in a condensed version every Christmas Eve. Van Dyke’s writing is stellar; don’t settle for a “retelling.”
For movies: Love “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Holiday Inn,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I also happen to love “Love Actually.” But my favorite these days is Danny Boyle’s “Millions.” If you haven’t seen it, look for it. It’s a wonderful meditation on love and the meaning of money–plus it’s just wonderful.
White Christmas for sure is top of the list for movies. Gift of the Magi for all time favorite Christmas literature. And I confess, my fourteen- year-old daughter and I are pretty much suckers for almost any Hallmark Christmas movie.
So, no other takers for Ernest Saves Christmas, huh? Man, you guys just don’t appreciate quality film making.
I’m reading Skipping Christmas by John Grisham for the 12th year. I have made it my ‘A Christmas Carol’
Okay I’m a sucker for Christmas stories.
I always reread the Biblical account of the Christmas story, contemplate and relish the love of God, the obedience of Mary, the trust and faith of Joseph, the wonder of the Christ Child. The miracle of God with us.
Movies – I have a list. Miracle of 34th Street, all versions. It’s a Wonderful Life. Little Women. A Christmas Carol. The Santa Clause.
And I realize I haven’t watched a single one. I’ve been too busy. But the day is coming when my book will be completed and my shopping done and then it will be time to revisit my stack of favorites.
Christmas blessings to you, Karen.
Gary Neal Hansen
Movies: “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas”.
Reading: Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” (wish I could go to Patrick Stewart’s one man show of it every year. Seeing it on Broadway was one of the best theatrical performances of my life.) Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” (plus the Canadian parody “A Child’s Christmas in Scarborough”!).
And the early chapters of Luke, Matthew, and John. And all of Isaiah for Advent.
I love The Nativity. God is so good to speak to us through story, first and foremost, his story–the greatest story which swallows all of our little stories.