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It’s time to dust off those Christmas movies — or flip to a cable channel playing them 24/7 — and get into the holiday spirit.
Everyone tends to have a favorite this time of year. Here are a few of my suggestions.
For the kids you can’t beat the classics.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964), “Frosty the Snowman” (1969) and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (1970) can be caught on television this time of year.
“The Little Drummer Boy” (1968) also is a Christmas classic but not as widely seen. I remember watching it as a student at Lynnvale Elementary School back in the day. Students would go to the gym to watch a film on a screen, which was basically a white sheet hung on a wall. And did I mention it was shown on a reel-to-reel projector?
My personal favorites include “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966), “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) and the lesser-known “Emmet Otter’s Jug-band Christmas” (1977).
Part of the appeal of these is a theme that does not focus on the materialist aspects of Christmas, but instead shows real heart.
“Charlie Brown” shows that even a pitiful little tree can become amazing at Christmas with just a little love, and “Emmet Otter” is a twist on the “Gift of the Magi” tale that focuses on giving rather than receiving.
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” tops my list. Not only is it based on a beautifully written tale by Dr. Seuss, it also shows that Christmas can come “without packages, boxes or bags.”
Also, my two favorite renditions of a Dickens classic come from the children’s versions. There are several grownup versions of “A Christmas Carol,” but I’ve never quite been satisfied with any of them. Although loosely based, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992) and “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983) stand out as fun holiday picks.
Of the classic Christmas tales “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) and “White Christmas” (1954) are musts.
But I’ll also include the Cary Grant classic, “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947), later remade with Whitney Houston as “The Preacher’s Wife” (1996). Grant’s suave style can make any Christmas merry.
“The Nativity Story” (2006) is a more recent depiction of the nativity story and worth a mention.
But I do have a few “must see” movies each Christmas to get me in the holiday mood.
“Christmas Vacation” (1989) is one I’ll watch every year, but parents be warned: the DVD has some questionable material that you may not remember if you are used to watching it on television.
And yes, the Christmas day marathon would not be complete without “A Christmas Story” (1983). Many a household will be quoting “You’ll shoot your eye out!” this season.
But my all-time favorite — which I watch more than once each year — is “Elf” (2003). The combination of old-time Claymation visuals coming to life and a 6-foot-3-inch tall elf roaming the streets of New York always puts me in the holiday spirit.
Many may argue for other films, but these top my Christmas list.
Some may try to sneak “Gremlins” (1984), “Die Hard” (1988), “Lethal Weapon” (1987) and “Home Alone” (1990) into that list, but a movie taking place at Christmas doesn’t count as a Christmas movie to me. If it did, I would include “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) and its predecessor, “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940).
But since that doesn’t count, I’ll stick with the giant elf and a grouchy green creature as my top two.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.
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