Posted by: Daniel Cisek, Deputy Press Attaché
Americans like to watch their favorite Christmas movies year after year. My own memories of Christmas include television shows and movies that really put me in the holiday mood. Some are classics, others are more recent arrivals, but all of them create that special Christmas feeling.
As a child, I remember watching classic Christmas tv shows. One of the best was A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). This beloved program still runs every year on American tv, and tells the story of a young boy’s attempt to rediscover the true spirit of Christmas, despite being laughed at by his friends and classmates, who only care about the gifts they’ll be getting. The show’s music, composed by jazz musician Vince Guaraldi, is also an enduring classic. I was listening to the soundtrack with my own family just this weekend as we hosted a holiday party.
Other great Christmas tv shows include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), a stop-action film created with clay figures; Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), which I greatly prefer to the recent re-make; and Frosty the Snowman (1969), the tale of a snowy fellow who comes to life one day, to the great joy of the children who made him.
My favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), about a talented small-town boy who dreams of seeing the world, but is forced to stay in his hometown because of his sense of duty to his family and community. In the end, after jealously watching his friend make a fortune in New York City, and after facing a severe personal crisis, he realizes he’s “the richest man in town” when everyone comes together to help him when he needs it the most. The final scene where his family and friends sing the traditional New Year’s song “Auld Lang Syne” is one of the great moments in American film.
My other favorite Christmas movies include A Christmas Carol (1951), the best film version of the classic Charles Dickens story; Miracle on 34th Street (1947), about a young girl’s belief that she’s found the real Santa Claus; and more recent films, like the quirky and fun A Christmas Story (1983), about a young boy and his quest for a genuine Red Ryder BB gun; Home Alone (1990), a slapstick comedy about a young boy whose parents mistakenly leave him at home during Christmas, where he must do battle with two inept burglars; and last but certainly not least, Elf (2003), a sweet and funny story about a man who thinks he’s one of Santa’s little helpers.
I’d love to hear what you think about the movies on my list, and to know what your favorite Christmas or holiday movies are – please leave a comment!