Contributed by December Blogger of the Month, Rebekah Loper
In recent years, I’ve started to enjoy how early retailers put out their Christmas items.
Don’t get me wrong – June or July is, perhaps, a bit early, but I used to make a big to-do about Christmas stuff showing up before Thanksgiving. Now? Bring it on!
Part of that is because much (ha, all, because who am I kidding here) of my November is monopolized by National Novel Writing Month. (I actually started writing all these posts in late September to get them at least partway done before NaNo.) I joke every year that I’m going to put up the Christmas tree on Halloween, but it hasn’t actually happened. Yet.
If there’s one thing that doesn’t start early enough for me, though, it’s the Christmas music and movies.
I start listening to Christmas music in early November, though I don’t subject my husband to it that early. Last year, I posted about my top 25 favorite Christmas songs on my blog, but that was just barely scratching the surface! If you’d like to raid my Christmas music library, you can find it here on Spotify.
There’s more than just Christmas music, though, even if I prefer it above anything else. I’m fairly easy to please, so I have a few regular favorites otherwise.
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to combine books and movies into one list, especially since many of them overlap.
#1 – A Christmas Carol
This is, unequivocally, my favorite Christmas story besides the Christmas story. I love the era, the theme, and the fantastical elements.
Favorite versions: The book, the Patrick Stewart version, and the live play at Silver Dollar City.
I recently re-watched this, and what I love about this movie is how far a couple of guys are willing to go to give their old Army general a renewed sense of hope. And that’s what Christmas is – hope.
Favorite versions: the original movie, of course, but the live musical is excellent as well.
#3 – Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
Yes, this is a children’s book. But if you haven’t read it, even as a child, you should definitely pick it up. It’s a sweet little story where everyone ends up with a Christmas tree that’s just right for them.
I remember watching the original animation of this when I was a child. It is probably one of the earliest Christmas memories I have. I loved to watch the transformation of the Grinch. Later, when I was in my teens, the new Grinch movie came out, but it would be a few years before I finally saw it. While it was good, and I loved some aspects of it, it’s still the original animation that has captured my heart. (And, by that regards, the original Dr. Suess book, since the animation is it almost word for word.) It speaks of the transformative power of Christmas that is the promise I look forward to every year, and even when I’ve had really bad years, the hope of Christmas will see me through.
Favorite versions: 1966 animation, 2000 movie (if only for the song Where Are You Christmas)
Mr. Loper has long proclaimed this to be his favorite Christmas movie – though, in all honesty, it’s the ONLY Christmas movie he watches besides Patrick Stewart’s A Christmas Carol. I didn’t actually see Nightmare Before Christmas until maybe five years ago, and what I absolutely loved about it was how it was a wonderful example of the childlike wonder of Christmas that I remember feeling so long ago, and still search for every Christmas. Inevitably, there are always moments where I find it again.
In particular, I love Jack’s discovery of Christmastown. The utter joy in his voice as he sings What’s This? always makes my heart skip a beat.
Did you know this was a book? I discovered that it was when I checked to see if my library had a dvd version of the animated version that I remembered from my childhood. It varies from the Disney animated ‘movie’ (really, it’s not even half an hour long, so can it be called a movie?) a bit, and I honestly think that I like the animated version better. It’s just a little softer, but it still brings me to tears every time I watch it. Even as an adult.
Usually I don’t like ‘sequels’ to older, beloved animated movies, but I felt this one was well done, and I always loved the song the entire castle ends up singing together as they decorate for Christmas – while they are yet unsure if Beast will even let them celebrate it that year.
The plot is cheesy, and the animation is bizarre at times (especially the antagonist), but it’s still a light-hearted movie overall, with a visit back to a beloved set of characters.
This is another movie that I didn’t see until well into my adult years, and I remember the first time I came across it on TV. It was so cheesy, but Claymation is such an interesting media, especially for movies, and this is just a fun, light-hearted Christmas movie that doesn’t have to be taken seriously. And sometimes, that’s all you need – something to cheer you up!
Are any of these your Christmas favorites? What didn’t make it on my list that is one of your favorites?
Rebekah Loper began creating fictional worlds as a child. Now, she is married, has a garden, keeps chickens, cats, and a dog, and is a NaNoWriMo ML. Read more about her on her blog Fantasia Hearth.