Saturday, December 10, 2011

watch this! christmas movies, part one

Growing up, one of my absolute favorite parts of the season was hauling up all our decorations from the basement at the start of December. Forget presents under the tree -- when that plethora of red and green bins came up the stairs, Christmas had arrived. (OK, so no, don't really forget presents ;) )

One of the boxes I most looked forward to each year was the one labeled "Christmas Movies" (or, more precisely, "Christmas Videos  Movies," because we recycle). Even now, all grown up and sitting in my living room here in Abu Dhabi, I'm dreaming about that box. I can't wait to dust it off for 2011's go 'round of on-screen holiday cheer. Here, five of the classics -- both old and new -- that should be waiting inside.

My mom "saves" this one for cookie baking. She'll choose a day to bake away, and that's when this movie (her all-time favorite) is finally allowed to be screened. (I actually love this quirk of hers -- it adds to the specialness and reminds me of how similar we really are!)

A little lesser-known, Holiday was the black sheep of its day. But I am absolutely crazy about Katharine Hepburn's offbeat, slightly subversive character in the film and the chemistry she has with the lovable-as-ever Cary Grant. Not to mention the pleasure I derive from drooling over all the gorgeous clothes.

The most current classic on my list, full of joy and wonderfully memorable quotes:

"I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite!"
"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup."
"Well, there are some things you should know. First off, you see gum on the street, leave it there. It isn't free candy."

And of course: "You have such a pretty face, you should be on a Christmas card!"

These are the kinds of lines that become widespread, communal inside jokes. I love it. Elf is a guaranteed mood boost, every time. (PS - If you live the in the Chicago area, go see it on the big screen today!)

My entire family watches this Griswold extravaganza together every single Christmas Eve. Picture it: My mom's siblings (she's one of seven), their spouses and children, their children's spouses and children . . . There must be at least 50 of us all packed into the living room, warm and giddy and possibly wearing Santa hats, laughing at the same scenes we've laughed at hundreds of times before. My uncles will also insist on rewinding their favorite parts at least three to four times, just to make sure everyone sees. I don't know what this says about my family, but it's one of my favorite traditions.

(For the diehards in your life, here's a fun gift idea. My mom gave these to her brothers last year, and I'm sure they'll remain a gift that keeps on giving for many years to come ;) )

Pretty much the be-all end-all of holiday movies in my life. I think Home Alone has become even more endeared to me in recent years because it's the quintessential Christmas movie of my childhood, the one that most "belongs" to my cohort. It was also filmed about an hour away from my hometown. (In fact, the McAllister house was listed for sale up until a few weeks ago.) One of the first things I plan to do when we land in Chicago next week is hole up and wrap presents with Kevin for company. Though, in the spirit of childhood, I'm hoping Ethan will join me, too.

Next up: the Oddball Edition -- weirdo Christmas movies near and dear to my heart.

Velvet and glitter accents courtesy of Katrina at Pugly Pixel.