As Andy Williams says (or sings, rather), “It’s the Most Wonder-ful Time of the Year!” Yes, others have sang that song, but in my book, Andy Williams sings it the best. It really is “the hap- happiest season of all.” The music, the movies, the lights…..I just can’t get enough. As believers, we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, our savior. All of the other festivities and frivolities are just a bonus. My early Christmas gift to you is to help you get into the Christmas spirit! Here are a list of my favorite Christmas songs and movies and that will surely deliver.
My Dad always said I was born in the wrong era because I love old music and movies (not to mention the glamorous clothes!). My favorite Christmas music is the music that my parents grew up with. It’s not Christmas without Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. They’re a must! Nat King Cole is a favorite as well. Listening to Nat sing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” definitely puts you in the Christmas mood, as does Frank Sinatra’s “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Perry Como’s “There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays,” is one of the first Christmas songs I listen to during the holidays. Burl Ives (Sam the snowman from Rudolph) reminds me of my childhood Christmases. Last year Megan bought a Percy Faith CD and it was amazing, so our Mom and I bought one. The song “We Three Kings” is our favorite…..it will give you chills. Our Mom used to listen to Kenny and Dolly’s Christmas album, which makes me nostalgic too. I could go on and on about my favorite Christmas songs, but I think you get the picture. On my phone I have the app for iheart radio and I listen to the Christmas Classics station. That way I can listen to Christmas music at the barn or anywhere.
As far as movies, let me just say that I love them and Christmas movies are the best. Most of us watched Christmas specials on TV as children. We looked forward to them every year and got so excited that we didn’t think we could make it to Christmas. As a kid, I remember hearing adults say that “time flies by.” I thought they were lying. The month of December dragged by! Watching those specials transports me back to those magical Christmases of my youth. At 43, I watch them every year and love them! I love any holiday special by Rankin Bass: “Rudolph” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” for example. “The Cricket on the Hearth” is great too. One of my favorites as a kid was “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which always followed “The Grinch” on TV. But who could forget “A Charlie Brown Christmas?” Another great cartoon is “A Flintstones Christmas Carol.” Now that I’ve totally admitted how juvenile I really am, let me suggest a few more: “Little House on the Prairie: A Merry Ingalls Christmas,” and the first Brady Bunch episode entitled “The Voice of Christmas,’ which first aired on December 19, 1969. Manon and I have to watch that every year!
There are several classic Christmas movies that make my “season bright.” The original “Miracle on 34th Street” and “White Christmas” are so heartwarming. I also love the 1951 version of “A Christmas Carol” starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge. My favorite Christmas movie of all is “It’s a Wonderful Life .” It’s so entertaining and has many good lessons in it. I love the part where Clarence (the angel) tells George, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” But my favorite part of the movie is at the end when Harry says, “A toast….to my big brother. The richest man in town!” That makes me cry every time. Harry wasn’t speaking monetarily of course, but rich with the love of family and friends.
If you’re stressed and need some comic relief, watch “Christmas With the Kranks” and “Christmas Vacation.” “Christmas Vacation” is full of quotes that our sister Kendal and I like to interject into conversations. I think we’re the only ones who think it’s clever and funny. For more adult humor, watch “Love Actually” and “Four Christmases.” I just watched “A Madea Christmas” for the first time and I laughed my head off. Ah…..so many movies, so little time.
Christmas is such a magical, special time and it passes too quickly. Despite the stresses that the holiday brings (decorating, cooking, shopping, wrapping, entertaining, cleaning….), it is the perfect time to reflect upon our blessings. Being a Christmas-crazy person, I’m always a little sad on December 26th. But the true gift of Christmas, Jesus, is forever. He isn’t limited to one day or season. He will be with us forever, if only we let Him into our hearts. Whatever your traditions, how ever you celebrate, may you and yours have a blessed Christmas season.
“Hark! the herald angels sing/ Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth and mercy mild/ God and sinners reconciled!”