Christmas is now less than a week away and I’m happily in the full spirit of Christmas. Like many, many (many!) people, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.
My house is decorated, the weather has taken on a nice nip of cold air, and I just finished the last of my holiday shopping.
I’ve deposited toys, cash, and canned goods in the appropriate donation bins and red kettles around town.
My Christmas tree is glowing with ornaments and lights, my gifts to others are wrapped and arranged under said tree, and my crèche is lovingly positioned in a place of honor in the living room.
Everything’s in order for Christmas day. There’s just one more task left . . . and it’s one of my family’s favorite traditions.
In the last days before Christmas, we gather every evening to make popcorn, arrange bowls of chips and dips, brew tea, and pour hot cocoa, all in preparation for watching our favorite Christmas movies together as a family.
And not just any Christmas movies. In my house, it’s all about tradition, and there’s an order to it all.
So here’s the countdown of Christmas movies my family and I will be watching for the next few nights:
December 20: Die Hard
Oh, yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie, a gift for the guys in your family. It has plenty of alpha-male shoot-em-up action, a healthy dose of humor, and a few ho-ho-ho’s.
An added bonus: it puts my guys in the right mood to handle the sentimentality of the remaining movies we’ll be watching.
December 21: Meet Me in St. Louis
Now we’re heading down the more traditional Christmas movie track. Meet Me in St. Louis stars Judy Garland as a young woman growing up at the turn of the 20th Century. It’s a beautiful movie, from sets to costumes to characters, and the singing . . . well, I did use the magic words, “Judy Garland.” I tear up every year watching her sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to her little sister, played by Margaret O’Brien.
December 22: Little Women
I’ve read this beloved book many times since I first read it as a child. From the opening line—“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents”—the story chronicles the lives and loves of the four March sisters, and their devotion to each other through hardship and joy.
This year we’re watching the 1949 version starring June Allyson as Jo March, which is one of my favorites. The other version I love is the 1994 movie starring Winona Ryder in the same role. We’ll watch that version next year (we alternate each year between the two) and I’ll have a big box of Kleenex by my side.
December 23: Holiday Inn
This 1942 holiday classic used to run on television every year on Christmas Eve. My entire family sat down to watch it because it was just so much fun. It was my first introduction at a young age to the magic of a Fred Astaire’s dancing . The firecracker scene is one of his best and most entertaining dance sequences ever.
December 24: Miracle on 34th Street
Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about some fancy-shmancy color version. I’m talking about the classic, black-and-white version of Miracle on 34th Street that originally hit theaters in 1947. This movie doesn’t need to be updated or colorized; it’s perfect just as it is.
My recommendation: don’t watch this movie on television with commercial breaks; they cut too much of the movie out to fit the broadcast time slot. Find a digitized, black-and-white version on DVD, pop it in your player, sit back with a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy this story about believing in the magic of Christmas and the hopefulness of the human spirit.
December 25: White Christmas
For me White Christmas is the best of the best Christmas movies, so it’s no wonder our family gives it the place of honor: a viewing on Christmas night. Since its release in 1954, four generations of my family have viewed and enjoyed this fun, inspiring, and charming movie. After a busy day of attending church services, opening presents, and visiting friends and family, it’s nice to gather in the evening, wearing the new jammies Santa brought, and cuddling under the comfy new throws we received as gifts, to watch White Christmas. Every year we look forward to seeing the “Sisters” routine—we know it by heart, of course, but we laugh each year as if we were seeing it for the first time. I’m sure this year will be no exception.
So there you have it. Now you know how my family and I will be spending the remaining evenings leading up to Christmas.
What about you? Do you have Christmas traditions you and your family enjoy in the days leading up to Christmas? Leave a comment below to share!