Friday, November 27, 2009

5 "Must See" Christmas Entertainments

And just like that it’s Christmastime again. Okay it took a year since the last time…but it doesn’t seem that long, does it? The season is a celebration…of the Christ child’s birth…of the wondrous bonds of love and friendship that inform our lives…of gifts given freely and accepted gratefully…of food and drink…of music (the subject of an upcoming entry)…and, in those rare down moments, of enjoying some of the classic entertainment of the season.

Now personally I don’t need to see yet another adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (if you’re so inclined pick one of the dozens of movies, plays, or “very special episodes” of TV shows and have at it.) I don’t need to sit through It’s a Wonderful Life again either (it’s a fine movie…probably a wee bit darker than you remember if you haven’t seen it in a while…but I’ve had that particular experience enough for the time being.)

There are Christmas entertainments that I can…and do…watch happily every year.

The five "must see" Xmas entertainments:

1) A Charlie Brown Christmas: still the gold standard of animated Christmas specials even after 40+ years.

2) Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: not that over-stuffed movie from 2000 but the magical animated special with the voice of Boris Karloff and the unforgettable singing of Thurl Ravencroft (see the classic "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" below.)

3) A Christmas Story: the endearing and delightful trip down nostalgia lane with Ralphie and his quest for the best Xmas present in the whole wide world (a Red Ryder bb gun, natcherly :-)

4) Miracle on 34th Street: the 1947 version with Edmund Gwenn and young Natalie Wood (the 1994 version is okay but it’s overlaid with a bit too much seriousness and cynicism when compared to the ’47 winner.) Avoid the colorized version this movie looks grand in black and white.

5) A Wish for Wings That Work: a personal favorite that wasn’t an especially big hit featuring Opus (the penguin from the great Bloom County comic strip) and his quest to be able to fly (with “help” from the ever-addled Bill the Cat.)

Those are 5 great ways to make you smile after a hard day of Christmas shopping (or while sitting around after that last slice of pumpkin pie has made walking not something you have much interest in…)