Tis the Season Day 2: Untraditional Christmas Movies

Welcome to Day 2 of Tis the Season!

Today we’ll be talking movies.  There are countless fantastic Christmas movies, from It’s a Wonderful Life to White Christmas to A Christmas Story to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, etc. etc.  We make a point of watching all of these movies every year, but my all time favorite tradition is a bit unconventional.

Every year in the week leading up to Christmas, my mom and I watch the 1957 film An Affair to Remember back to back with the 1993 “Sleepless in Seattle”.  I don’t know how the tradition began, or why THESE particular movies, but it’s something I always look forward to.

Made in 1957, An Affair to Remember stars Carey Grant and Deborah Kerr.  Grant’s character, a playboy who dabbles in the arts, meets Kerr’s on a cruise liner from Europe to New York City.  Although involved with other people, the two fall in love.  When they get to New York, they promise to break of their relationships and meet on the top of the Empire State Building to run away and get married.  But not everything goes as planned.  On the way to the meeting, something happens to Kerr that prevents her from attending.  I don’t want to say too much to spoil the ending, which is the best part.  I will say that the movie ends on Christmas Day.

Sleepless in Seattle is from 1993, the year after I was born.  The trailer below pretty much sums it all up, but it stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The movie opens on Christmas Eve with Hanks’ character’s son, still grieving from the death of his mother, calls a late-night radio talk show asking for help.  Hanks ends up spilling his heart out to the show’s hostess, resulting in his nickname “Sleepless in Seattle”.  All the way across the country in Baltimore lives Ryan’s character, who hears the broadcast and is captivated by the story.  She then sends a letter to Hanks that gets picked up by the son, sparking a series of events that leads to a meeting atop the Empire State Building.

An Affair to Remember is a love story that ends on Christmas.  Sleepless in Seattle is a love story that begins on Christmas.  Both couples have or fail to meet at the top of the Empire State Building.  One takes place in the 1950’s, the other in the 1990’s, but somehow, they work so well together.

Because I’m recovering from getting my wisdom teeth removed, I’ve been a bit under the weather.  I’ve been spending most of yesterday and today laying on the couch in my pajamas.  Since I’m not allowed out of the house, Mom and I are planning on watching these movies back-to-back tonight!  I’m looking forward to it.

What Christmas movies do you watch every year?  What are your favorites?

It’s too early for Christmas

As the song says, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.  There’s something magical about looking out at the world covered in snow and drinking warm cups of cocoa before the fire as Nat King Cole croons from the stereo.  When family comes from near and far to share feasts and exchange gifts, my heart just soars.  It’s the best time of the year.

For me, Christmastime is sacred.  Like a little kid waiting and longing so much to open the presents under the Christmas tree, I wait and long for it to come.  It’s the waiting, for me, that makes the season so special.  Delaying my gratification only makes it that much better when it’s finally here.

When I went to the store mere days after Halloween to buy milk to see a full-fledged Christmas section in all its red and green splendor, I was appalled.  When I see Facebook statuses from eager friends listening to Christmas music, I cringe.  When, in the first week of November, I turn on the t.v., flip through the channels, and see Christmas movies playing on Hallmark, I want to scream.

The commercialization of Christmas absolutely disgusts me.  It takes all the splendor and joy out of the season and crushes it with greed.  The money-grubbing stores that are opening Thanksgiving afternoon make me sick.  Apparently waiting ’till Black Friday just isn’t enough.  Let’s gloss over the holiday themed around being grateful for the things we have and go straight for buying all the things we don’t.

Dear society, where is your self-control?

If we celebrate Christmas all the time, it decreases in value.  It’s a time that you need to wait for.  Waiting, hoping, and longing make it that much sweeter.

I know there’s nothing I can do to make people stop destroying the magic of Christmas by starting celebrations too early.  My words can’t stop stores from selling as much as they can, nor will they be able to stop the hoards of raging Christmas fans from over-indulging before Thanksgiving is even around the corner.  But whoever you are reading this, do you really want the most wonderful time of the year tarnished and spoiled because of capitalism and lack of self-control?

I certainly don’t.

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