So, I meant to have this done and out to you much closer to the beginning of December. (I actually just saw a little message that said it was created on November 22….so, there you go.) I used to go all out for Christmas cards each year. Then I would be disappointed when I didn’t get some back. Then I realized, people were getting away from it. Especially with the cost of stamps. So I cut back and only sent them out to who sent me one the year before. Then! Ha…I started to notice that I was getting cards after I sent them to certain people and I felt bad, thinking ‘Maybe they’re only sending that because I sent one to them and they feel obligated.’ And then I thought it’s kind of a waste of money unless I put something IN the cards (ie. pictures or letter) So this year I decided to get creative and send a Christmas Blog! My original thought was it would be simpler. LOL. After 4 days of working on it and researching movies and getting pictures collected. I think writing out the damned cards and fighting with the mailman would have been easier. ~insert eyeroll here~
As most of you know, my favourite time of year is Christmas! It always has been. Some of my best memories from growing up were from the Holiday Season. I remember my Mom cooking the turkey on Christmas Eve. We didn’t eat it until Christmas Day, but she always cooked it the night before. The smells drifting through the house would make your mouth water. We always got to open one gift that night. And it was always something to play with or new pyjamas to snuggle up in.
I’m back! When I spelled pyjamas, there was a squiggly red line underneath. Upon investigation, I was running this under US English and that just won’t do. So I installed Canadian English and now we’re up and running. So where was I? Oh yes…Christmas Eve.
It has always been such a magical time for me. Ever since my children were born, we always counted down to Christmas Eve, not Day. People would say there are 134 more days till Christmas, why does your sign say 133? Now you know.
Loved ones coming in brushing snow off their coats & hats, arms filled with presents. The fresh crisp smell of the snow being kicked off the boots. Mom takes their coats as Dad passes the rum & eggnog. And we all sit around the lighted tree while my Dad plays the guitar and sings. What’s not to love about that kind of Christmas?
I’ve tried to do my best, re-creating those same magical memories with my own kids. When they were little they got to open one present. And there were a few years that were pretty tight, where I thought ‘If they open one gift, that doesn’t leave much for the next morning’. But the kids never seemed to notice things like that.
The Christmases I spent as a single Mom, had to be creative. We had ‘Let’s make our gifts instead of buying this year’ themes. And ‘How about only one gift per person this year?’ I was mortified of course, thinking I wasn’t providing my precious children with the ‘perfect Christmas’. But a couple months after Christmas when my youngest son brought me the fuzzy brown teddy bear I had made him.
‘Mommy, he doesn’t smell like you anymore…,’ it made my heart smile.
Before I had wrapped him up, I sprayed him with my perfume. I’m not sure what made me do that. And I wasn’t even sure if he noticed. But he said it helped him sleep better at night because it felt like I was with him. Even when he was sleeping at his Father’s house.
Now as adults, my children tell me those years we didn’t have the extra money were their favourite Christmases. And that makes my heart smile.
When I was young, I remember my Dad trying to get me to watch his favourite Christmas movie. It was old. It was black & white. It was booorrringg. What could I do to possibly get out of it? It was torture, to be sure. Sure, it is long…moves quite slow. And they’ve redone it so it’s been colourized. But now I prefer the old black & white. Why? Because that’s the way my Dad watched it. And now it is one of my Family’s favourite movies to watch every year. Can you guess what it is?
‘Look Daddy, every time a bell rings….’ still brings a tear to my eye.
So I decided to do something different this year. I am amazed at how many people have not seen some of the best Christmas movies ever made. I am going to make a list of my most favourite, and also, in my opinion….ones to be avoided at all cost. By the way, you can click on the movie titles or the image to see a trailer. Am I great, or what?
My Favourites to Watch (in no particular order)
- Christmas Vacation( 1989)
I can’t remember a time where I hadn’t watched Christmas Vacation. I don’t normally like the Vacation movies. I find them a bit silly and somewhat perverse. But this one is different, by far. Clark staples himself to the roof while hooking up Christmas lights, their Christmas tree goes up in flames and he slowly loses his mind…all in trying to give his Family the perfect Christmas. I can be in the kitchen cooking supper and if the kids are watching this movie, I hear the music change or a new scene opens up…nothing has even happened yet and I’m laughing out loud.
‘Mom! He hasn’t even said anything yet!’
‘I know! But he’s going to!’
- Elf (2003)
We all love Will Ferrell in this house so it was a no-brainer to give this new classic a try. I can’t imagine anyone better suited to the innocent demeanour of Buddy the Elf. My Husband Goose’s favourite part (which we have to back up every time because he laughs so hard we miss it!) is when Buddy decides to put the star on the very top of the Christmas tree. This movie will make everyone of all ages remember the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is to sing loud for all to hear!
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
This was my Mother’s favorite movie. It came out the year she was born. Again. Black & white. Boring as hell. Why would she do this to me? But now, of course I love it! We have so many favourites there’s no way we can watch them all every year. But this is one that we watch again and again. Santa comes down to the busy-ness of New York City to help one little girl believe. There was a re-make that came out a few years ago that is amazing as well. But the original black & white was my Mother’s favourite when she was growing up. And that is the one that makes me feel like she’s sitting there beside me. 3 thumbs up! (one is for my Mom)
This is the one that started it all. A man unhappy and frustrated with his life, wants to throw it all away. Feeling there is nothing left for him in this world and that everyone around him would be better off without him. The events that roll out once he meets Clarence will touch your heart. It’s Christmas at the beginning of the movie and at the end…there’s a lot of not Christmas in the middle that helps us to learn all we need to know about George Bailey and how he lassos the moon. It makes me laugh & cry all at the same time. This movie is what made me first question choices I’ve made in my life and the what if’s. I love it and I hope you do too!
From as far back as I can remember, I watched the original cartoon by Dr. Seuss ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ that showed the evil Grinch that took all of the Who’s Christmas stuff. No one ever knew why…until Ron Howard and Jim Carrey paired up to tell the story of why the Grinch is so Grinch-y. It breaks my heart to see how he came into the world and how he was treated for being different. But guess what? It made me laugh and cry. When the Grinch realizes he’s rhyming words together like the Seuss-y Who’s, it makes his stomach turn. It reminds us all to bring Christmas into our hearts and give everyone a chance….and to not eat something just because someone calls it ‘pudding’. The story, the acting, the music and the graphics are all fantastic in this one.
This story is cute, funny and heart-warming. But ya gotta wonder…why couldn’t anyone just say, ‘He’s 8 years old and we left him home by mistake! We’re on the other side of the feckin’ world. PLEASE HELP HIM!’ I think my favourite parts are when Kevin is realizing what it means that he’s on his own. And of course when he finally comes face to face with the dreaded Shovel Slayer. Macaulay Culkin was never cuter than in this movie. (as long as we’re not including Uncle Buck)
When my kids were little I would fast forward through one part where someone got shot with a machine gun. (how there is a place for that in a child’s Christmas movie, I’ll never know) But I thought it was inappropriate, nonetheless.
This movie is dark with a very somber Sam Elliott as a widower/farmer/Father of 2. Not alot of action or adventure in this one. But it does make me laugh…and for sure, cry. And it keeps bringing me back. There does seem to be a theme of quite a few Christmas movies where the Mom has died. Not sure why. But it does have the magic of Christmas in it. And it will make you believe…and that’s really all that counts.
I love Tim Allen, and I love Christmas. There was no chance I would not fall in love with this movie. Santa falls off his roof on Christmas Eve and he becomes the new Santa by default. Default being, reading Santa’s Business card and putting on the suit. And why wouldn’t you put on a suit of someone that just disappeared in front of your eyes. After all, it’s only a dream….isn’t it? Tim ‘Taylor’s tips on the importance of having a fire extinguisher on hand, will for sure bring back happy memories if you loved Home Improvement as much as I did.
9. Charlie Brown’s Christmas (1965)
This is one is short, colourful, has catchy music and an adorable dog. As usual Charlie Brown is put down and verbally abused by his ‘friends’. At the end his faithful friend Snoopy saves the day, and magically all is well. There really isn’t much story to this one. Or even an explanation as to why all of a sudden the tree makes them love Charlie Brown. I guess it leaves each viewer to come to their own decision about what the true meaning of Christmas is. But I think it’s purely memories of the voices and the music from my own childhood that keeps bringing me back. But really…someone needs to punch that Lucy right in the face.
This one has Fonzie in it as lovable Christmas-loving Uncle trying to matchmake his niece with a new friend. It did not make it into theatres. And yes it was made for TV. And I don’t care. It’s a Harlequin romance equivalent to movies. And it quickly became a watch-again classic in our house. Give it a try!
This movie, we just watched for the first time this year. From the opening song, to the end credits I absolutely loved it! It’s completely different from EVERY Christmas movie we have ever seen. It is NOT something to watch with the KIDS!! There are references, hell…they outright show sex, people taking drugs and lots of swearing. Maybe it’s because I’m older, and my kids are grown…I don’t have to worry about any little eyes wandering into the livingroom. But my God…it’s funny. I absolutely LOVE Jason Bateman. I feel like he’s someone I grew up with. It really does have a good overall message and makes you feel good. I’m not totally impressed with the roles Jennifer Aniston has been playing since Friends (other than in ‘Bounty Hunter’ but she is ‘okay’ in this movie. I guess. I am not basing any of my praise of this movie according to anything she has her hands on, just to be clear.
Ever hear of the Dalai Lama’s brother? Mother Theresa’s little sister? Imagine growing up in the shadow of the ‘perfect’ sibling. This is the story of Fred Claus, Santa’s big brother and how being the sibling of a Saint affected his entire life. Another heartwarming story which of course made me laugh AND cry. Enya’s version of Silent Night can choke me up even without the movie now. I love Vince Vaughn and this movie made me even love Paul Giamatti. I’m so sure this will be a favourite, I gave it in a gift this year to a family I hadn’t even met.
13. A Christmas Carol
I couldn’t have a list that didn’t include Scrooge and his miraculous transformation overnight. But there are so many different versions and stories from Patrick Stuart to Kermit the Frog…there’s no way to choose which would be my favourite. So you can try it out. Let me know what your best pick is.
Movies to Steer Clear of
- Bad Santa – no one wants to see Santa having sex, I’m sorry.
- Christmas with the Kranks – this turns really stupid, really fast. And then it gets bad, really bad.
- Deck the Halls – we continued to watch this simply because we thought it HAD to get better….we were so wrong.
- Bad Mom’s Christmas – I only got to the point where the daughter called her Mom the ‘C’ word…that was enough for me.
- Home Alone 2 & 3 – the 2nd movie is very poor re-construction of the first, same lines, same plots, just a different city. Very lame. And the 3rd…don’t even get me started.
- Jack Frost – there is nothing warm, fuzzy or jolly about your Dad getting killed on Christmas Eve and coming back as a snowman who melts when it gets warm. Nothing.
Well I am going to sign off now. We are heading to the train station in a snowstorm to pick up my Husband’s Dad. This will be the 1st Christmas they will be spending together since my Husband was 15. It is huge. I am so excited for him! I will have 2 out of 3 kids (plus a new BF) coming to spend Christmas with us. And of course we have Mollie, to keep us in line.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I have not wrapped one single present. I have not made my fudge. I should be stressed out and rushing to get things done. But I always remind myself. Christmas is not about what you buy or what you have. It’s about who you have around you. Surround yourself with those who cherish you and love you even if you didn’t get your Christmas cards out. Send an email or a text. Pick up the phone. Share a smile. Tell someone you love them. Give someone a hug.
It might seem awkward…but what if they don’t have anyone else to give that hug this Christmas?