Thanksgiving is over, and the departure of the turkey and its dreaded leftovers ushered in “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Even before Andy Williams started singing these iconic lyrics in 1963, most American kids looked forward to Christmas all year. Between the long school break, the thoughts of new toys and trinkets, the ubiquitous Nativity play in local churches, and even the minute possibility of falling snow, Christmas holidays have always had a special place in the hearts of children, young and old.
Over the years, a new tradition was born when families began watching their favorite Christmas movie together during the holidays, clad in comfy pajamas, snuggled up on the couch, munching cookies, and sipping cocoa.
Certain Christmas films became yearly family favorites for that movie night tradition. For example, I would imagine that every Mississippian under the age of 30 can readily attribute each of these quotes to its appropriate Christmas movie:
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear” (Elf, 2003, starring Will Ferrell).
“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid” (A Christmas Story, 1983, starring Peter Billingsley).
“Keep the change, ya filthy animal.” (Home Alone, 1990, starring Macaulay Culkin).
Those aren’t the only memorable lines from these three iconic films. Thankfully, there are a host of other Christmas movie viewing options for those who have grown a little weary of hearing their children say, “Don’t be a cotton-headed ninny muggins!”
This December, why not take it even farther back than Ralphie and Randy and that Official Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun? Why not go old-school with a film like It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) or Miracle on 34th Street (1947)?
Everyone can learn valuable life lessons from these older gems – lessons about cherishing those around us and the impact one person can have on another. These two films abound with sweet, sappy, real-life lessons on love. So, take the time to share them with loved ones.
I get it! Maybe the original black-and-white versions of these spectacular Christmas classics would be too much (or too little) for today’s technologically advanced kids.
If that’s the case, watch the colorized versions of these beauties, or check out the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Whatever it takes, broaden the family’s perspective by adding a few new titles to this year’s traditional movie night.
Now, for those unsure which older movies might be best for family viewing, the Internet abounds with helpful reviews, such as on IMDb.
But remember! There have always been good movies and ones that weren’t so great. That’s the great thing about the handy-dandy remote; it has a quick, one-click remedy for bad films.
At the very least, the kids will have fun making new memories while learning old (timeless) lessons. They might also acquire new movie lines to repeat this Christmas, such as: “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”
And that line will make a great segue to a more modern movie made right here in Mississippi, Every Time a Bell Rings (2021).
Because new or old, Christmas is still the most wonderful time of the year for making family memories. So, put on those pjs, grab some hot chocolate, and snuggle up together for a fun night of family movies.