The winter holiday season is upon us, and once today’s apocalypse is defeated (thanks, Buffy!), everyone is going to tuck in and start preparing for their winter holiday celebrations. (I say winter holiday because I have been taken hostage in the war on Christmas and have been forbidden to say the Christ-word. Send help! Pray for Mojo!)
Anyway, there are certain – *glances around nervously* – winter holiday movies and specials that I enjoy watching every year during this special season. This is my winter holiday watchlist.
The Muppet Christmas Carol – My family and I watch this film every Christmas Eve. Michael Caine may have an all-too liberal choice in film roles, but he’s still a great actor, and he’s excellent as Scrooge. “One More Sleep Til Christmas” warms my heart every time I hear it. Also, there’s Fozziwig, and Statler and Waldorf are the Marleys – what more can we ask for?
It’s a Wonderful Life - Anyone who thinks this movie is too sappy has only watched the last five minutes and have never sat through the whole thing. This movie can get seriously dark, yo, and it earns that joyous ending with all of the pain that comes before it. Also, that scene with George Bailey and Mary on the phone while they’re talking to Sam Wainwright, but trying not to look at each other, is one of the most erotic things I’ve seen on film. No exaggeration.
Little Women (1994) - Shut up, this totally counts as a Christmas movie. There are two major Christmas scenes and a lot of the story takes place during the winter seasons. Winona Ryder is an excellent Jo, Kirsten Dunst is the only actress who has ever made me like Amy March, and the whole film is beautiful and makes me cry.
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street – Poor Big Bird, afraid that Santa Claus won’t be able to deliver presents to the kids. Look at Bert and Ernie being all cute and doing their own version of The Gift of the Magi. Laugh as Cookie Monster tries to write a letter to Santa but eats his paper and pen, and then eats his typewriter, and then eats his phone when he tries to call Santa.
The Simpsons, “The Grift of the Magi” - The Simpsons has a lot of great Christmas episodes, but my favorite is this eleventh-season gem where the toymakers introduce Funzo. “I have a flower for ouuu!” And Gary Coleman being Tiny Tim! “Watchoo talkin bout, everyone.” And Krusty’s wish for a “Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Kwaazy Kwanzaa, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn and dignified Ramada.” The most recent episode from last year, “Holidays of Future Passed,” is also excellent and might make its way into my regular rotation.
Community, “Comparative Religion,” “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” “Regional Holiday Music” – I love all three of this show’s Christmas episodes. The first one is a nice showcase for Shirley and the Jeff-Shirley friendship, and talks about inclusiveness of all holidays and faiths without getting preachy. The second is painful and beautiful and makes me want to hug all of them. The third is just inspired silliness.
How I Met Your Mother, “How Lily Stole Christmas” – Remember when this show used to be good? Now, despite my aversion to the word I believed Ted used in place of “grinch,” and despite my acknowledgment that the word is misogynistic and gross, I’m still more on his side than Lily’s, but I enjoy the whole thing, especially NPH being sick. And I love “Ted Vivian Mosby!” “That’s not my middle name!” followed up later with “Ted Evelyn Mosby!” HA!
Pride and Prejudice, BBC version - This isn’t a Christmas or winter holiday series at all, but my mom and I watch it every Christmas break regardless. Because it’s amazing.
South Park, “Woodland Critter Christmas” – Because I’m gross and so is this episode.
How about you? What are part of your, ahem, winter holiday traditions? Leave them in the comments!
Have a safe and happy holiday season and I’ll see you all again on January 7th.