*I use the label "Christmas movie" quite loosely.
It was brought to my attention last year that my definition of "Christmas movie" may be slightly off. While I, like every sane person everywhere, enjoy A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, these are not the movies I want to watch on a loop during the holiday season. For my money, I want something happy and sweet and sentimental. I do not want to shoot my eye out.
First and foremost, my Christmas Eve must-have: It's a Wonderful Life
This one is an obvious pick. But it's so wonderful. George Bailey, I really will love you until the day I die.
Next: Love Actually
Since this movie is set at Christmas, a lot of people put it on their short list of favorite Christmas movies. Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, and Alan Rickman? Merry Christmas to me. Plus, isn't it nice to be reminded that love really is all around?
Here is where I go off the rails a touch: The Wizard of Oz
This I blame on TBS. I couple of years ago, they started playing The Wizard of Oz with limited commercial interruptions at least 4 times during the holiday season. Now, Christmas isn't complete until the wind begins to switch, the house to pitch, and of course, the hinges start to unhitch. I have loved this movie my whole life and have thankful passed my love of it on to Beckett.
Tin Woodsman: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I - I think that it - it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em - and it's that - if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?
Plus, who wouldn't want to live in a world where you get up at 12 and go to work at 1, take and hour for lunch and then at 2 you're done? Jolly good fun!
Fourth, there's this: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Growing up, anything Roald Dahl became an immediate favorite of mine. The 1971 version (not the remake, although I can appreciate it in it's own right. Lord knows I love Johnny Depp) with Gene Wilder is not just a movie I must watch at Christmas, it's one of my favorites in general. It is also one of 2 movies that I will drop everything to watch when I catch it on television (Steel Magnolias being the other).
This makes the list for one simple reason: there is no place I know like the world of pure imagination. There are a million things to think about at Christmas, but I think I like this movie for purely selfish reasons. At Christmas, there is almost enough joy and happy and giddy anticipation to make anyone think they, too, can be the boy (or girl) who got everything they ever wanted and live happily ever after. Plus, Gene Wilder is just eerie and eccentric enough to be thoroghly thrilling in the most intriguing of ways.
And lastly, the most traditional Christmas tradition of them all: The Nutcracker Ballet
Trying to choose one image for The Nutcracker Ballet is truly impossible. I'll go with this one:
Ovation has been presenting the Battle of the Nutcrackers this week. I'll consider this an early Christmas present to me.
I'll get sucked into watching a million Christmas movies this season, but those are the ones that I have to watch. No Christmas would be complete without watching each of these movies at least once. What are your favorite Christmas movies? And if you say Elf, we probably won't be friends anymore.