09 December 2007

'tis the season: favorite holiday movies

Things are getting awfully Christmasy around here. I think I mentioned already that we have our Christmas tree. We have been watching all of our favorite Christmas movies, reading our favorite Christmas books, and listening to our favorite Christmas music. Yesterday we even braved the germ-ridden masses at the mall to go Christmas shopping (seriously, I hate the mall under normal circumstances, but in the middle of winter with all the season's illnesses beginning, and no parking for miles, and the terrible Christmas Muzak everyone plays... I actually feel really proud that we managed to buy three things on our list. You know, out of the twenty or so things we needed to buy). So far I've refrained from making Christmas cookies, but I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out -- I'm feeling so festive this year! This is the first year that both of our kids have been old enough to get into it, so it's really been a lot of fun.

I thought I'd do some posts on some of our favorite ways to get into the Christmas spirit. Today, movies. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've never actually seen any grown-up Christmas movies all the way through. No It's a Wonderful Life, no Miracle on 34th Street... but I'm a pro on the kiddie flicks. Sure, everyone knows the Grinch and A Christmas Story and Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas, all of which we love and watch every year, too, but my favorite kids' Christmas movies don't get that kind of attention. I can't decide if this list will illustrate to you my awesome taste, my '80s nostalgia, or my elitist preference for Jim Henson originals, or all three.

My favorite Christmas movie of all time is pictured on the right: A Muppet Family Christmas. Not to be confused with The Muppet Christmas Carol, this is a fabulous Henson muppet-fest from the '80s featuring a ton of holiday songs, and just about every muppet known to man, from the original Muppets to the Sesame Street characters to the Fraggles. I have an old VHS tape of this which is starting to wear out from watching it so many times. If there were a soundtrack from this movie, I think it would be the only Christmas music I'd listen to. I don't think it would be possible to overemphasise my love for this movie. If I were only allowed to watch one holiday movie for the rest of my life, it would be this one.

Jim Henson did a couple of other Christmas movies too, one of them being Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas. The only official Muppet who makes an appearance in this one is Kermit, as the narrator. The story is about cute little Emmet Otter and his mother each trying to give the other a special Christmas in spite of the fact that they are poor and fatherless. The music is a bit countrified (there really is a Muppet jugband) but it is a sweet story, one I try to watch every year.

The third Henson Christmas movie I love is The Christmas Toy. Another tale narrated by Kermit, this one bears some similarities to Toy Story in the idea of toys coming to life when their owners leave the room, and also the idea of a toy's fear of being replaced as the favorite toy, though this one doesn't play out exactly the same as Toy Story (i.e., Toy Story did not rip off the plot of The Christmas Toy, only some key elements of the story). This stars a lovable (but kind of dumb) tiger named Rugby, who is a toy I would totally love to own one day.

I'll finish off my movies post with a clip from A Muppet Family Christmas. This is a scene that was in the original but didn't make it onto the DVD release for reasons of music copywriting. Enjoy! And feel free to share your own favorites in comments!


Jessica said...

I have never seen any adult Christmas movies, either. I love Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, though! I also love the retro Rudolf with claymation (I assume).

Speaking of Claymation, have you seen Davey and Goliath's Christmas Lost and Found? There is also a new one I haven't seen, Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas -- digital, not claymation.

Julie said...

ahh that's so cute! I actually never watched any of those! My favorite tape was the Chipmunks Christmas. I should try to find it! It was so fun! Did you guys have that back in the day?

Emily said...

Let's see.....top 3 favorite Christmas movies:

1)National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

2)Home Alone

3)Scrooged (the one with Bill Murray)

kim said...

This fits in with your Muppet theme - John Denver did a Christmas special with the Muppets in the late 70s that, unfortunately, is not available on DVD. The CD of the tv special's music, however, is just awesome (to be honest, I find the selections to be far, far better than the songs on the Muppet Family Christmas) and has become part of our family's Christmas traditions. At the request of one member of our family (guess who) we have listened to the Muppet version of The Twelve Days of Christmas dozens of times already this year.

I do love It's a Wonderful Life and my other favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard.

John S said...

Thanks for sharing those. =) I haven't seen those muppet christmas shows, but I'd love to. Maybe you can bring a few with you...? I'm quite fond of the Muppet shows and movies, but the Muppet Christmas Carol still sticks in my craw, as it was the first one after Jim Henson died, and Kermit's voice is all wrong.

Heidi said...

Jessica: I've never watched any Davey and Goliath -- I know of them, but have never watche dthe show or any movies.

Julie: I have vague memories of the Chipmunks Christmas, but my clearest Chipmunk-related memory is of Matt Pendrak and Mr. Mcavaney singing the Chipmunk Christmas song -- hilarious!

Emily: Ooh, I love Home Alone too! But I haven't seen the others. I think I really need to see Scrooged, because I love Bill Murray.

Kim: Were you there the Christmas we rented Die Hard and Gremlins as our Christmas movies? (I remember doing that, but not who was with us when we did.)

John: I doubt I'll be able to bring any movies, Greg is pretty strict about packing the bare necessities and nothing extra, so the suitcases don't weigh a thousand pounds. I'll see if I can't convince him. Oh, and I feel the same way about the Muppet Christmas Carol! I wouldn't have minded if the Muppets had died along with Jim Henson.

kim said...

Yeah, I think that was the Christmas we all came out to Rochester when you were pregnant with James. Needless to say, Gremlins didn't quite make my list of top Christmas movies.