After sleeping in this morning, (I think I deserved it), I woke to read a blog by someone I follow who writes posts on education. He wrote about the movie,”It’s a Wonderful Life,” and the connection it shows to schools and their role in the community. I enjoyed the post, and you can read it here, if you like.
The famous holiday movie with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed is my husband’s favorite. It does hold a lot of life lessons, told through the context of the story, some of which are explored in the recommended blog above and some which are not. In the end, as you all probably know, hard work pays off for George Bailey (played by Stewart) and he finds that no man is poor who has friends…..and George has a lot of friends who come to his rescue when he most needs it. They are repaying him for a life of good deeds and community building (both literally and figuratively). Each year this movie makes my husband and I cry a little and feel good at the same time. It would not be Christmas if we did not watch, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
My favorite Christmas movie is probably “White Christmas,” with music by Irving Berlin. The story is that which is made of fantasy and luck, but warms one’s heart when you see old friendships begin anew as “Wallace and Davis” work their charm to save the old General’s Vermont Inn. The music is probably my favorite part to this movie with Bing Crosby’s sultry baritone and Rosemary Clooney’s lovely voice balancing the harmonies. I am also always mesmerized by the dancing of Vera-Ellen. She could really move! The song and dance routines by these three with the easy moves of Danny Kaye are really something to enjoy and get your toe tapping! Just like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas” plays on your emotions but it all works out in the end and you can end both movies with a big smile on your face and songs in your heart.
Then, there’s Elf! Truth be told, I wasn’t sure about this movie when it first came out. Although, the fact that it had Ed Asner and Bob Newhart in it was a plus for me. It brought back memories of the Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, both of which I enjoyed in my youth and were a little goofy, just like this movie. But, Will Ferrell won me over! It is a whimsical, sometimes touching, and sometimes hysterical movie that we watch year after year. Until last week I was tearing the house apart trying to find my copy of the soundtrack from this movie….it is my favorite secular Christmas CD! And, for the record, I love the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” as it is sung on this CD. Just enjoy it, don’t read things into music that are really not there. Music always reflects the culture of the moment when it was written – not 50 or 60 years later. Anyway, I finally found the CD tucked away in a place I thought for sure, it would be safe! To say this has become a Christmas Classic is probably a little bit of a push, but in our house it definitely has!
Then, there’s Miracle on 34th Street. If you’ve never seen this movie, you should watch it at least once. It stars Maureen O’Hara as a single mom and Natalie Wood (yes, that Natalie Wood) as her little girl. I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but the movie imparts a wonderful sense of Christmas magic that can only be imparted by St. Nick, himself! We don’t watch this movie every year, but when we do watch it (we own a copy), I always enjoy it.
There are so many likable holiday movies, it’s hard to name just a few. We are well past the years of Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and Frosty but if we catch those when they are on the television, it is always a treat! I’m sure we will enjoy watching those with grandchildren, when those days arrive.
But, I cannot end this post without a mention of Scrooge, or A Christmas Carol. This story, in its many versions, has always been a favorite of mine. It has a message and for that reason I like it. The message is that we can all change for the better if we let the spirits of Christmas fill our hearts. Let’s all take some time to do that this Christmas season. It will be our gift to each other, to honor the season, and the future of humanity.
Merry Christmas to All and to All a Goodnight!