Favorite Christmas Stories

This post first appeared on my former blog December 15, 2010.

With Thanksgiving behind us, I’m getting into the holiday spirit. So what better time to discuss our favorite Christmas stories? I have a lengthy and diverse list (instead of a gift wish list!).  Watching these movies or television specials is an important part of the holiday tradition at our house.

First off, I love the Christmas specials from my childhood:  A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy, Frosty the Snowman.

Then, I’m a sucker for old movies, so TCM is my buddy this month.  Christmas In Connecticut (Barbara Stanwyck is a stitch—and I covet that farmhouse in Connecticut,especially the fireplace!), Miracle on 34th Street (Edmund Gwenn is the best Santa Macy’s ever had!), The Bishop’s Wife (Cary Grant as an angel, David Niven as a bishop, Loretta Young as the wife who inspires both—and when Cary trims the tree?  Brilliant!), The Shop Around the Corner (because what’s Christmas without Jimmy Stewart?), Holiday Inn (Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as country mouse/city mouse), and White Christmas (beautiful singing by Bing and Rosemary Clooney, divine dancing by Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye at his possibly most charming).

My dh turned me onto It’s A Wonderful Life.  Can’t believe my mom never had me sit down and watch that as a kid.

Some newer films have grabbed my attention.  Will Ferrell is so wonderful in Elf.  And Love Actually celebrates Christmas—and love—in such a beautiful, poignant way.  Plus it’s got a killer soundtrack.  And dare I admit that I loved Bad Santa?  Go ahead, put coal in my stocking, but I laughed so hard at Billy Bob Thornton in that film.

My dad loves A Christmas Story. A little secret about that film—my cousin Mia appears in the opening sequence when all the kids and adults are looking in the shop windows. The scene was filmed in downtown Cleveland, and Mia showed up in a WAC uniform and they popped her into the crowd scene!

And then there’s the completely non-Christmas film that has become a bit of a holiday tradition in our house.  We watched it one year on Christmas Eve, and decided it was a great way to celebrate.  The film?  The Great Race, Blake Edwards’ romp about an around-the-world auto race starring Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk.

The season isn’t all about movies and television.  I also try to reread some of my favorite holiday stories.  From The Night Before Christmas (yes, I read it to my cats at bedtime on Christmas Eve) to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Have I left your favorite off my list?  Please share it!  And feel free to include which holiday stories are part of your family’s tradition.

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