Christmas Movie Nostalgia

Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

This is a season steeped in tradition for our family (as it is, I’m sure, for many of yours). From the foods we eat, to the treats we bake, to the ornaments and decorations that grace our tree and home. There’s music and gatherings, gift exchanges and Christmas light tours, and of course, all the movies.

One of my favorite things to do is set aside a chunk of a December Saturday to stage a Christmas movie marathon. A stay-in-pajamas, wrap-up-in-blankets, veg-on-the-couch-with-popcorn-and-warm-drinks kind of day. Unfortunately, for varying reasons over the last many years, finding an available stretch of free time for such things has been difficult, so our marathon movie tradition has morphed into more of a piecemeal sprint—taking in those we enjoy most whenever our schedule allows.

Although movies, in general, are powerful in their inherent ability to transport us into different times and worlds and experiences, for me it is Christmas movies, with their nostalgia-inducing effectiveness, that can magically return me to certain points in my life.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original cartoon classic) reminds me of Christmases past, when I would look for the listing in the TV Guide so I wouldn’t miss its limited run. And then the year I received the VHS tape as a gift, which meant I could witness the Grinch’s miraculous Christmas transformation any time of year.

A Christmas Story takes me back to a video store in the mall (the name of which escapes me at the moment) where I bought the movie for a friend because it was her favorite. At the time, I hadn’t even known of the existence of Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun shenanigans.

Home Alone evokes an inner wistfulness that I can neither name nor pinpoint, but I imagine the reason lies Somewhere in My Memory as the John Williams’ arrangement of this song, played throughout the movie, only deepens those feelings.

Other movies that, for reasons similar to those above, tug at my sentimental heart as much as they entertain, and are therefore also on my must-see list, include:

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Elf
  • The Year Without a Santa Claus
  • Deck the Halls
  • Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle

What are the movies and/or TV show episodes that top your annual holiday watch list?

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