Grit Blogs > Straight from the Heart

Holiday Movies Add to Christmas Cheer

By Brenda Kipp


Tags: Christmas, seasons, holidays, movies,

Ever since I was a child, I have loved everything about Christmas – decorating, gift-giving, get-togethers with family and friends, candlelight services, parties, baking and cooking, music and movies. This year I was especially looking forward to seeing my favorite Christmas movies. Like most people, I watch classics like White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life every year. I also like to see Scrooge (the musical version of A Christmas Carol with Albert Finney as Scrooge, 1970), but it’s on VHS and my tapes are packed away, so I’m less likely to watch it. Besides, it’s rather long and I don’t always have the block of time I need to watch it.

it's a wonderful life

Both Lifetime and Hallmark channels have a lot of holiday movies that I enjoy seeing every year. Some of my favorites include A Christmas Card (Alice Evans, John Newton and Ed Asner, 2006), Silver Bells (Anne Heche, Tate Donovan, 2005), A Boyfriend for Christmas (Kelli Williams, Patrick Muldoon, Charles Durning, 2004), Comfort & Joy (Nancy McKeon, Steve Eckholdt, 2003), Holiday Affair (Cynthia Gibb, David James Elliott, 1996), An Accidental Christmas (Cynthia Gibb, David Millbern, 2007) and A Christmas Wedding (Sarah Paulson, Eric Mabius, 2006).

the christmas shoes

Years ago, CBS had several Christmas movies that I now count among my favorites. I sometimes can catch Borrowed Hearts (Roma Downey, Eric McCormack, 1997), The Christmas Gift (John Denver, Jane Kaczmarek, 1986) and The Christmas Shoes (Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, 2002) on other channels. However, Christmas in My Hometown (renamed A Holiday Romance on DVD) with Melissa Gilbert, Tim Matheson (1996), I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Ann Jillian, Robert Hayes, Jack Palance, 1997) and A Christmas Romance (Olivia Newton-John, Gregory Harrison, 1994) are only available on DVD.

rudolph

Growing up, I loved watching the stop-motion animation programs The Little Drummer Boy (1968) and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). Sadly, The Little Drummer Boy is no longer shown on TV, but CBS continues to air Rudolph every year. I confess I still like to watch it and the song, “There’s Always Tomorrow” still makes me cry. More recent favorites include Elf (Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, 2003) and The Holiday (Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, 2006), which I can watch anytime of the year.

I’m more inclined to watch Christmas movies that emphasize faith and/or romance. I’m not big on the Santa Claus thing. I believe in the spirit of Santa Claus, but he’s not the reason we celebrate Christmas. I recently bought The Nativity Story (2006) on DVD. I saw it in the theater when it was first released and thought it was better than most Nativity movies I’ve seen. I plan to watch it on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

There’s always a new crop of made-for-TV Christmas movies every year, but I haven’t been able to catch very many new ones yet this year. I’m sure I’ll be able catch the ones I’ve missed next year as the same Christmas movies seem to come back around time and time again.

What Christmas movies are on your must-see list?

 

ddssbb
12/16/2014 8:52:21 AM

I also have my favorite Christmas movies. I have to say there is something about a black and white Christmas film. Also the older ones have acting not quite right but wonderful to me. I love the time period of the older films anyway. It can be animated and still can bring tears to my eyes sometimes. I am in my fifties, not ancient but no spring chicken, Although with my health issues it is had to say. Anyway there is no movie better loved and enjoyed as a Christmas movie. I sometimes watch them in the summer for a pick me up. To say you don't have time to watch a movie is rather sad. Check your priorities life is short.


brenda kipp_1
12/23/2009 4:39:16 PM

Funny how that happens. :)


cindy murphy
12/18/2009 8:31:54 PM

Yes, yes! Tom Hanks in Polar Express! In my mind's eye I was seeing Tom Hanks as the conductor, and my mind's ear was hearing Tom Hanks, but my fingers had a mind of their own, and typed Robin Williams.


brenda kipp_1
12/18/2009 11:49:32 AM

Cindy, I can't believe you've never seen "White Christmas" or "It's a Wonderful Life"! They're both on every year. I have the DVDs, if you want to borrow them. :) Yes, Judy Garland's version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is the highlight of that movie. However, the original version of that song was written as, "as the Lord allows" and it was changed to "as the fates allow" for the movie. Very disappointing. Tom Hanks does the voice of the conductor and two or three other characters in "The Polar Express." Didn't you notice the conductor looks like Tom Hanks? I wish I'd seen that on the big screen. The animation was quite impressive! I forgot to mention that I also like ABC Family's TV movie, "Holiday in Handcuffs." It stars Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez. It's a cute, light-hearted romantic comedy...and those dimples of Mario's! *Sigh* I saw a DVD version of "A Christmas Carol" starring Tommy Steele (one of my favorite song and dance men from the 1960s) online. I would love to see him in that role, but in my mind, no one will ever beat Albert Finney as Scrooge (or Sir Alec Guiness as Jacob Marley for that matter). Thanks for sharing your favorites. Merry Christmas!


cindy murphy
12/18/2009 7:21:23 AM

Hi, Brenda. I definitely have favorite Christmas movies that I try to watch every year, (though can you believe I've never seen "White Christmas" or "It's a Wonderful Life" all the way through - not either of them; not even once). I don't really watch many comedies as a whole, but the classic "Christmas in Connecticutt" is a favorite oldie, and "The Christmas Story" for it's bizarre characters and events seen through the eyes of a child, but described by an adult narrator as me in stitches every time. And though it's not specifically a Christmas movie, "Meet Me In St. Louis" is a favorite this time of year, just for the pure magic of watching Judy Garland sing "Have Youself a Merry Little Christmas". It's neat that Christmas shows that I loved as a kid are still shown, and have become some of my daughters' favorites too. As far as children's movies though, my favorite is a newer release: "The Polar Express" with Robin Williams as the voice of the train conductor, (and I believe Santa Claus and possibly other characters also). All time favorite though is Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"; I love that story! Versions of this story I try to catch are Mickey's "A Christmas Carol" (the animated Walt Disney one), the 1938 version with Reginald Owens, Scrooged played by Alistair Sim in 1951, the muscial you mentioned, and the 1984 version with George C. Scott. Sim and Scott are my favorite Scrooges. Their transformation from bad to good is so total! Merry Christmas!