Last Christmas, Brandie and Carrie each talked about some of their favorite Christmas movies so since this is my first year as an official contributor, I decided to do the same.
Here’s a list of some of my favorites:
- Favorite Classic (as in pre-1970) Christmas Film – It’s A Wonderful Life (though I’m growing fond of White Christmas)
- Favorite Christmas Scenes in a Classic non-Christmas movie – Desk Set, An Affair to Remember, Auntie Mame
- Favorite Recent Christmas Film – How the Grinch Stole Christmas (yup I like both versions)
- Favorite animated version of A Christmas Carol – Stingiest Man in Town
- Favorite Live Action version of A Christmas Carol – Tie between Muppets and George C. Scott
- Favorite claymation animated special – Nestor the Long Eared Christmas Donkey, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
- Favorite animated specials – How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, Raggedy Ann and Andy’s Christmas Caper
As you can imagine just from that short list, if I tried to talk about of all my favorites, we would be here until next Christmas before I got even close so I’m just going to pick three of my favorites from childhood to talk about: Prancer, Santa Claus: The Movie, and One Magic Christmas.
Prancer is the story of Jessica Riggs and her faith and determination to help a reindeer she believes is Santa’s reindeer Prancer get back to Santa on Christmas Eve. Featuring Sam Elliot as Jessica’s dad John who is trying to keep his family together after his wife has died (though sometimes he’s not sure what to do with his daughter) and Cloris Leachman as their grouchy neighbor Mrs. McFarland who Jessica brings a little Christmas cheer, this one has lots of heart. Jessica is at that age where most of her friends have stopped believing in Santa. Jessica still does because to her believing in Santa is like believing in God. When her best friend Carol says well maybe there isn’t a God, Jessica gets very angry because if there is no God then there is no heaven so what happened to her mom. One of the funniest parts is where Prancer (who Jessica hid in the barn after finding) gets into the house while the kids are at school and John is sitting at the breakfast table and can’t tell what is going on. If you’re looking for a story of childlike faith and putting that faith into practice, this is the one to watch.
Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
This one tells the story of how Santa and Mrs. Claus came to be at the North Pole and how Santa was fairing in the 80s. This film has a great cast including David Huddleston as Santa, Dudley Moore as the creative if not always thorough elf Patch, and John Lithgow as unethical toy manufacturer B.Z. One of my favorite parts is when Dooley the head elf is reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” not long after it is written. He gets to the part describing Santa and Santa takes great offense to the comment about his belly being like a bowl full of jelly. Everyone is trying very hard not to laugh and all his wife can say is that it’s the cookies implying that he could go on a diet. The special effects are exactly what you expect from the 80s but I think that just gives it some charm especially the twinkle effect they use for Santa going up and down chimneys and the reindeer flying. This is a fun one if you haven’t seen it in a while or for the first time.
One Magic Christmas (1985)
Starring Mary Steenburgen, Harry Dean Stanton, and Jan Rubes as Santa Claus, this film tells the story of a very stressed mom that has lost her Christmas spirit. Ginny (played Steenburgen) is struggling to hold it together after her husband Jack loses his job (and thereby their factory owned house) right at Christmas time. Jack is determined to make Christmas as best he can for their kids but Ginny cannot see any point in the waste when they should be focused on packing and him finding a new job. Harry Dean Stanton is the Christmas angel Gideon that appears to the couple’s daughter Abbie asking for her help to help give Ginny her Christmas spirit back.
In almost a It’s a Wonderful Life-esque manner, Gideon is able to remind Ginny that Christmas is about the people in your life not the presents and lights. I actually came to this movie a little bit later in life as we couldn’t find it on tape until sometime around 1998. This is one of my stepdad’s favorites and has replaced It’s a Wonderful Life as our Christmas Eve Christmas movie. So if you are tired of IaWL but want something similar, give this one a try.
What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?