You guys, this year? I am right in the Christmas spirit! I have my decorations up, I have my Christmas cards ordered, and we've started a Christmas list of the gifts we'd like to buy. We've talked about budgeting, and are trying to save some money by keeping presents realistic and reasonable for our budget. And it's just so darn pretty here, it's hard not to be in the Christmas spirit! All the big houses have lights up, and ridiculous decorations, making a walk around the neighborhood just lovely. And here, forthwith, are my favorite Christmas movies of all time. These are the movies I watch every year (sometimes several times!) without fail. Movies always manage to get my in the Christmas spirit, and they almost always cheer me up after a bad day.
5) The Bishop's Wife. This is actually one of my Mom's favorite movies, and it's become one of mine. The basic plot follows a preacher who asks God for money to build a big fancy church. An angel is sent down (Cary Grant!) to help with the prayer, but ends up showing the preacher that there is much more to being a preacher than just having a fancy cathedral. The angel ends up reminding people of the real meanings of Christmas, and it ends up being a lovely, wonderful story. I think what I like most about this movie is that it's old. People act differently, treat each other different. It's a window into another time that I will never experience. Plus, my family has always been a fan of old movies! If you see this one come around on TV, set up the DVR to record it. I think you might like it!
4) Love Actually. OK, you guys know by now that I'm a sappy romantic, so I had to have Love Actually on this list. This is a great ensemble cast movie, and one that I think they try to repeat (think New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day), but they never quite reach the loveliness of the original. The movie follows several relationships, some old, some new, some budding, and all the things that happen leading up to Christmas. The thing that I love about this movie is the characters. They are all so lovable. And it's always weird to see Professor Snape as a regular old married guy :) Of course, there are numerous scenarios that are completely implausible, but that just makes me love it more. Hugh Grant dancing around 10 Downing Street is also quite the treat. And a couple lovely appearances by Mr. Bean himself caps it all off. This is just a great movie to plop down in front of and have a good laugh!
3) Elf! Of course this movie is on my list! The movie follows Buddy, a boy adopted by an elf in Santa's North Pole. He grows up thinking he's an elf, but then one day sets off to find his real family. He ends up in New York City, living with James Caan and his family. This movie has it all: the city looking it's best at the holidays, a "out of towner" doing all those things you wish you could do but just can't (going through those swinging doors over and over again! YES!), and a family that's falling apart because the Dad is just totally absent. This movie is funny to the core, and I love to watch it over and over again. "Bye Buddy! Hope you find your Dad! Thanks, Mr. Narwhal!" And Zooey is just a delight! Love it over and over again.
2) Miracle on 34th Street. My Grandma loved parades. Every holiday that had a parade, we were watching it. And we always looked forward to the "Big One", Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We got to see NYC, all the balloons, and I was always on the lookout for some of my favorite stars and celebrities! This story follows Mrs. Walker, who is in charge of putting together the parade. When her Santa gets too drunk to be in the parade, she stumbles upon Kris Kringle, an old man who thinks he's Santa Claus. In the meantime, her neighbor, Mr Galley, is trying to woo Mrs Walker. There are some charming scenes with a tiny Natalie Wood and Kris, who tries to blow a bubble with some bubble gum - with that beard! Whoops! Of course, Santa ends up turning doubters into believers, and the movie ends sweetly.
1) Meet me in St. Louis: This is one of my all-time favorite movies. My Grandma loved Judy Garland, and she passed that love on to me. When I was a kid, I loved anything Judy Garland, and we had a great time renting old movies and watching them. This is one of the movies we rented and it means so much to me for so many reasons. Firstly, it takes place in St. Louis in 1904, which is the year my other Grandma was born. Although it's Hollywood, I always use it as a window into what life might have been like back when she was born. The movie follows the Smith family of St. Louis for one year. The World's Fair is about to begin in a few months, and the father of the household gets a job offer in New York City and decides to move the family. Everyone is very upset over the move, as many of the kids are developing relationships, especially Esther (played by Judy Garland), who has begun to date their neighbor, John Truitt. This movie is a musical, so it features a number of great songs, and it was directed by Vincent Minelli (yes, Liza's father - this is how Judy and he met!). His camera direction is some of the most beautiful I've seen, you can just tell how in love with her he is when he shoots her. Judy is also a comedic and acting genius, and she pulls off some wonderful stunts, all the while looking beautiful and nonplussed. Figures. And this movie isn't exactly a Christmas movie, per se, but it includes my absolute favorite Christmas song, "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas", sung by Garland herself. This version is so lovely, so amazing. It always makes my both smile and cry at the same time. This movie does not disappoint, and really showcases how much life has changed in just 100+ years. I love, love, love this movie and I hope you will to!