It’s Thanksgiving! Let the holiday music and movie magic begin! From Thanksgiving to New Years our cups runneth over with charity drives and events, special church services, hometown displays, house-decorating contests, Santa at the Mall, bell ringers outside the grocery store, melodic carolers, bright and shiny television shows, church and school plays, fabulous concerts each with its own take on holiday standards, and the coup de gras — the holiday movie.
One movie after another beams from the television 24 hours a day like a warm fluffy blanket. Some are brilliant and a family tradition like the Griswolds in Christmas Vacation with Uncle Eddie and his black dickey shining under his too thin too tight white sweater irritating the put-upon affable Clark to distraction; Ralphie’s obsessive desire for that BB gun that will somehow raise him from obscurity to idolized hero; Jimmy Stewart infusing his every-man touch in It’s A Wonderful Life; Jim Carrey with his unique green brilliance in The Grinch and his animated brilliance in The Christmas Carole; the Peanuts gang rallying around Charlie Brown’s anemic tree; Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye paying respectful homage to their former retired General in White Christmas; Tom Hanks making nonbelievers into believers in Polar Express; Tim Allen and his textured comedic portrayal of Old Saint Nick in The Santa Clause trilogy; Will Ferrell as the sweet, innocent,childlike, hilariously out-of-place Elf; Dudley Moore as the incompetent misinformed Patch in The Christmas Movie; Natalie Wood as the smart-as-whip, know-it-all child who helps prove Santa is indeed real and working at Macy’s; Bill Murray fumbling his way to redemption in Scrooged; Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis proving you just can’t skip Christmas and have any semblance of respectability in suburbia in Christmas With the Kranks. There’s Emmet Otter’s Christmas, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, the Burgermeister in A Year Without Santa Clause, et al. This just highlights some of our favorites.
Then there’s the supplemental fillers infused with the saccharin sweet stories of children finding a family, divorced parents finding each other again, a too-busy bachelor finding a mate, a too-busy bachelorette finding a mate, people finding happiness by realizing they need to change their lives in one way or another. Finding something or someone must be the key to being a whole person at peace on Christmas.
Holidays in our home consist of donating food to the local mission, throwing change in the red kettle, putting up the twinkling lit wreath on the house, placing the tree and decorating with the same sentimental decorations we’ve used for decades, placing jingle bells over the doorways, constructing a gingerbread house, treading out in the cold and snow to purchase presents, collecting stocking stuffers, wrapping presents, baking Santa Clause sugar cookies, some Chex Mix, cookies and milk set out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, Midnight Mass, the kids and grandkids who can come out appear, we open presents, catch up, talk sports, eat dinner balancing plates on our laps sitting around the living room while the noise succumbs to silence during the eating portion of the day. Then after wrapping paper is spirited into garbage bags, the table is cleared, the dishwasher is running, and we grab a piece of pie with whipped cream piled high, some hot chocolate or soda, squeeze onto one of the couches, then Papa says, “Wanna watch a movie?” “Sure,” bounds back at him from the peanut gallery. “Which one?” everybody has their own favorite so the consensus is, “Just pick something.” Okay.” With the confidence that there is no wrong answer here, a DVD slides into the machine, and an old family favorite starts to play. “Oh, I just love this movie,” can be heard around the room. “I know,” says Papa smiling knowingly. “Me too. Me too.” Happy holidays everyone for whatever that means to you and yours… Sandy