Well, that most wonderful time of the year (and also the most hectic) is almost upon us and while there will certainly be no shortage of offerings on television, why not watch movies according to your schedule, and commercial free?
A quick keyword search of- dvd christmas - yields over 140 titles, with new selections arriving almost daily. We have all the perennial favorites like White Christmas, It's A Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn and Miracle on 34th Street (both the 1947and 1994version). Almost all the children's favorite characters appear in their own Christmas shows --Diego, Max & Ruby, Hannah Montana, Baby Einstein, Garfield, Alvin, Arthur, Dragon, and Franklin, to name a few. As well over the years many series such as Little House, Avonlea, Vicar of Dibley and Doctor Quinn aired their own specials. There's even a Hercule Poirot's Christmas.
And how could the season be complete without Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? There have been many incarnations of this beloved tale, with everyone from Bill Murray to Patrick Stewart donning the black chapeau and the sour face.
My two favorite renditions are the 1951 black and white version with Alastair Sim,and from 1993, A Muppet Christmas Carol. I've always been a huge Muppet fan, and this one with Michael Caine as Scrooge is great fun. Caine strikes just the right chord and of course, all those wonderfully insane Muppets add great value.
A new favorite of mine is Elfstarring Will Ferrell. Ferrell has done some pretty off the wall stuff, and I was prepared not to like this but it was really enjoyable. He plays an oversized elf that leaves the North Pole to travel to New York City in search of his birth father. Parents can watch this without being bored and the kids, and even teens, will find this light hearted and fun.
We have both versions of How the Grinch stole Christmas- the wonderfully animated 1966,as well as the Jim Carrey version from 2001. I am used to my Grinch being the slippery, sly, and sneaky character that I grew up with, so at times I found Jim Carrey's manic portrayal--well, a little manic.
But Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the Grinch.
Along the same vein is The Original Television Christmas Classics with 4 well-loved favorites--Rudolph, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman and Little Drummer Boy. Also worth a look is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and a Child's Christmas in Wales.
One of my fellow bloggers introduced me to A Christmas Story from 1983-- it had managed to escape my attention all these years and I am glad I now know about it--lots of laughs. Another good bet for your money is any of the The Santa Clause (with Tim Allen).
If another cartoon, Scrooge, or sentimental story isn't your cup of hot chocolate, try out some of these titles: for the armchair traveler, Rick Steve's European Christmas; for those who are looking for baking/cooking ideas,Jacques Pepin's Christmas Celebration, or Two Fat Ladies;and for you opera lovers, try Christmas with Kiri Te Kanawa.