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Writer's Block Asks...

Are there any classic holiday movies or TV shows that you look forward to watching year after year? What are your all-time favorites? Are there any you simply can't stand?

The only one I absolutely must see is How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I love it, the music, the message, the animation, Max the Dog.

What I can't stand are the growing number of Something-has-stopped-Santa-Christmas-will-have-to-be-canceled things that are popping up. My girls love Tigger and Pooh, but I'm not going to let them watch the Super Sleuths Christmas movie any more. Santa does a practice run and loses hi magic toy bag that has all the presents in it. Our heroes find it and embark on a journey to the North Pole to bring it back so that Santa can make his deliveries and Christmas can happen. If they don't make it Christmas won't come this year. They arrive just as the elves are pushing the sleigh back into the barn.

I never really thought about it before, but I'm really starting to dislike the whole Santa thing. Santa has become an anonymous, no-strings-attached font of goodies. When I was a kid the only things we got from Santa were our stockings. The held fruit, nuts, candy and a few trinkets. The presents under the tree were all from somebody. A real person who had to be thanked. And when we were old enough, we had to start picking out (or making) presents for them in return.

When I was little my mother pulled out the manger and a box of straw at the beginning of Advent. When we were good, did our chores, or did something thoughtful or hard without complaining we got to put a straw in the manger. When we were bad we had to take a piece out. The aim was to make a nice soft bed for Baby Jesus.
Next year I think the girls will be old enough to start the straw for the manger thing.

And now, Katie is awake and I must go do pick-up-and-put-away so Miss Yolanda can clean.



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
We like the Claymation Christmas Special, which is mostly illustrations for some decent music, with a little broad comedy in between numbers. Apart from that and the Grinch, it gets to be a very thin field very quickly.

I think the way you and I learned Christmas is the right way. Don't forget the oplatki. (Do you still have the envelope from last year? I don't think we ever used it.)
Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Yup, it's in the hutch just waiting.

Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
I adore the musical Scrooge, but that might be a little intense for the kids. Maybe not. :) Same with Edward Scissorhands. I'd definitely say Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I would not say Rankin-Bass's Rudolph, but that's because, going back to it after many years, we realized it's one of the most racist, misogynistic pieces out there. Everyone sees that Rudolph has a red nose, and Santa turns to Rudolph's father Donner and says, "You should be ashamed of yourself!" That said, it's really a hoot to MST3K it.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
Polar Express is one of our favorites. Next year you should try one of the polar express (fox river trolly museum) train rides. We did it this year and had a good time, but alas, Mere is really too old for Santa and as we got off the train she says "Lets not do this again next year". Your girls are getting to the age where it should work out well.

Dec. 22nd, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
For me it's White Christmas...absolutely love that movie, and to me it's not Christmas until I've seen it.

For the rest of the family...Charlie Brown specials, and the Rankin-Bass collective, which I finally grabbed on DVD this year.

We've a tradition where we grab one or two Christmas movies each year, and this year I put them on a hard drive rather than carting the entire collection down to the mother-in-law's. Picked up a device that lets us watch them on her TV directly from the USB drive, which lets us manage the Christmas collection (and hopefully movies for cons) more easily.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
How about Opus? (A Wish For Wings That Work)
Dec. 22nd, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
I like Nightmare Before Christmas, even if it's a SHSSCSHTBC movie. And I must watch Hogfather again. Wait, that's an SHSSCSHTBC too, isn't it? Oh, well...
Dec. 22nd, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
Not sure it qualifies as a classic, but the "Muppet Christmas Carol" is a favorite in our house. It really sticks a lot closer to Dickens than many of the adaptations do. The other Christmas Carol that we have and like is one starring Patrick Stewart. I think it was done for a cable network, but I don't remember which.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
I'm not a big movie fan, so I tend not to watch any of them on a regular basis. I'd prefer to listen to instrumental versions of music.

Stockings *always* had an orange in the toe - which was to keep us from 'starving' while the rest of the gifts were opened. Frequently practical things, such as new barrettes, comb or hair brush plus usually a puzzle of some type. They were not the extra large fancy stockings that are popular now. Depending upon what was available, we were sometimes able to use a parent's sock rather than one of our own.

Santa only brought the one big gift for the year. This ranged, depending upon current circumstances, from a bicycle down to books or clothing. All other gifts had to have a thank you note written before we were allowed to use/play with it. That certainly kept us from procrastinating!

Since funds were usually at a minimum, we were allowed to make our 'wish list', but it was with the definite understanding that just because we wanted it didn't mean it would happen. When possible one item usually became the Santa gift, and the others might show up from relatives that were asking for suggestions.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
We have two MUST WATCH Xmas shows.

First is the musical version of "SCROOGE" with Albert Finney. Just love the music "Thank you very much, Thank you very much, That's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me"

And tradition dictates that we watch the full, uncut version of "A Muppet Family Christmas", just cause its so much fun.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
At our house, Santa was always on a budget. He wasn't Scroogish, but we knew that he had too many gifts to give out and we couldn't get everything on our wish list. The tradition continues to my nieces and nephews. Christmas is definitely a time to get together and the two extroverts in the family love being together and "geeking". (Those of you who know me know that I'm definitely NOT one of the extroverts in the family.)
Dec. 23rd, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
Santa leaves a Clementine orange, chocolates, candy canes, and a wooden toy like a dreidel, top, cup-with-string, spool dolls, or other hand-made "elf" toys.

We do the Grinch, and the Christmas Angel of Beauty and the Beast story, whatever that's called. We also see whatever Christmas Specials make it on TV during kid hours. The kids really liked the Polar Express this year.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)

A Charlie Brown Christmas. Or just Guaraldi's O Christmas Tree on the radio.

Dec. 23rd, 2009 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh, definitely the Grinch! :) Also Charlie Brown and most of the Rankin-Bass grouping as well as White Christmas

When i was younger i also HAD to watch The Man in the Santa Claus Suit. Even though it already felt dated, i waited for it to show up every year :) Just something about it :) Unfortunately i've almost worn my tape out and i don't think this ever made DVD....

In our house Santa only brings 3 gifts (following the tradition of the 3 wise men); usually 2 are small/stocking gifts with one under the tree. Candy and such in the stocking is also from Santa, but not part of the '3'

I really like the straw in the manager idea :)
Dec. 23rd, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
Oh, i should mention one more favorite tradition in our house - Cinnamon Bear
Not a movie/TV - rather it's an old (1937?) radio serial. We listen to it pretty much as intended (one episode a day) between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Definitely written for kids younger than mine are now, but we don't care :) Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without (the search for the) silver star! *grin*
Dec. 23rd, 2009 10:35 am (UTC)
We have no TV or movie things we must watch, but I absolutely have to read the children The Night Before Christmas at Christmas Eve bedtime because otherwise Christmas can't come.

In our house Santa brings one gift and all others come from named people. The Santa gift is usually the biggest thing or might just be the most desired thing. But I tell Alex that even Santa has a budget since he's occasionally tried asking for stupidly expensive things on the grounds that it's from Santa, not the family budget!

I like the concept of insisting that Thank You letters have to be written before a toy can be played with that sourceoftrouble cites - what a great incentive! Maybe I can actually make that work this year?
Dec. 31st, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
I think a thank-you letter to Santa would be perfectly appropriate and maybe help to instill the whole "it came from somewhere" idea.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )