As I've been contemplating Christmas, there are lists of favorites that come to my mind: favorite foods, movies, gifts, decorations, traditions, and the like. I recently came across this in a friend's blog, and thought I would attempt to compile a list of some of my favorite Christmas movies. There are SO MANY Christmas movies that I LOVE (ask my husband - I can do Christmas movie marathons for weeks, and sometimes in the summer), so I won't even try to list them all. The list is too long, and I like different movies for different reasons. Plus I'm not sure I could name my very favorite. So I'm going to focus on the Christmas movies I loved as a child.
I loved watching the Christmas specials on TV as a child. When I was a kid, when a show came on, you had to watch it THEN or else you didn't get to see it. I remember those special times we got to eat dinner on TV trays and watch special programming as a family - what a treat that was! We eventually got a VCR, and my dad would tape shows for repeat viewing. A few years back I came across a tape with Christmas shows on it, and was flooded with nostalgia. Here are a few that I remember watching with great fondness (and these are in no particular order):
The Year Without a Santa Claus:
This continues to be one of my all-time favorites. I love Jangle the Elf, Snow Miser, and Mickey Rooney as Santa Claus. There's not really a Rankin/Bass video that I haven't liked, but this one is at the top.
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear:
Another Mickey Rooney classic. Kind of has the feel of It's a Wonderful Life, but with (what was then, back in 1984) a modern twist.
Jim Henson's Muppets: The Christmas Toy:
If I didn't know better (and really, I don't), I would say that Disney's Toy Story idea came directly from this 1986 Muppet special. It's super cute and clever, and done in true Muppet style. Plus I like watching it now (from my dad's old tape) because the old commercials really crack me up.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!:
Good ol' Dr. Seuss. His whimsical, rhyming storytelling genius really shines in this animated classic. Heartwarming and clever, it is on my must-see list every year.
Mickey's Christmas Carol:
I love the story from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. And I love Mickey Mouse. So it stands to reason that I would love this version of the classic Christmas tale. And I do.
The Night They Saved Christmas:
I thought the storyline of this movie was different enough to make it interesting. It stars Scott Grimes, who was the cute boy from Who's the Boss (Sam's boyfriend), who was also in It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, and who incidentally ended up as an adult actor (he's now on E.R.). But that was enough to keep my attention, back then. I should watch it again and see if I still like it.
Frosty the Snowman:
When I watch this video with my kids now, I admit I get a little annoyed at obvious plot flaws and hoakie-ness. But I loved it as a child, and my boys love it now. So I will continue to watch it and just gloss over the fact that Frosty is smart enough to speak full sentences upon first wake but for some reason says "Happy Birthday."
A Christmas Story:
Ok, so I said I couldn't name my favorite, but this could be it. It's for sure in the top 3, at least. I love so much about this movie: the fact that they use Peter and the Wolf music, and that it's set in Indiana of all places (where I grew up! and live now!). And here's a little fact that some of you may not know: the main character (Ralphie) shows up in another great Christmas movie as an adult - the movie Elf starring Will Ferrell (he's a head elf).
Santa Claus is Coming to Town:
Another great Rankin/Bass production. This one is great because you get to see the story of how Santa Clause becomes Santa Clause (I'm a sucker for backstory). And again, Mickey Rooney is definitely the best Rankin/Bass Santa Claus in my book. Plus he can sing!
Santa Claus - The Movie:
I love Dudley Moore in this film. He is an endearing elf who just wants to share goodness with the world and find favor with Santa Claus. Plus John Lithgow is great as the villain. I like the backstory in this one too, and I really really wanted one of those puce lollipops.
I know there are several more that are worth mentioning, but I'll leave it at ten. I do have other Christmas-y things to do, you know. I hope you get to see some Christmas specials this year that bring back warm memories for you, as these do for me.