Last night I was sitting at home and writing (as one does) and Elf came on. I haven’t seen it in a while so I watched it again. It still made me happy. That was pleasing, because sometimes I re-watch something and I think, “hmm. I must have been ovulating when I watched that the first time because WHAT THE HELL, ME.”
I’m not one of those “I HATE CHRISTMAS GRUMP GRUMP!” people, but I’m not a huge fan of most Christmas movies. Christmas movies are usually way too sappy and make me want to strangle kittens and throw cookies at the screen. WHAT A WASTE OF COOKIES. They’re always about things like finding the true meaning of Christmas and there is always an adorable child and someone always saves the day and everything’s always so damn PERFECT. I don’t like perfection. I like messy. My life’s messy, why do I want to watch something that’s all perfect and everyone’s coming home for Christmas and everyone’s all happy-happy joy-joy? NO THANK YOU.
I do have a handful of Christmas movies I actually really like and watch every year. Well, movies and cartoons. I lump them all together into one. They’re CHRISTMAS-STUFF. Every year, I watch these things during the Christmas season; every year, they make me happy. Or at least less grumpy. Less filled with holiday malaise, I guess.
This year Christmas is going to be weird; I haven’t put up the decorations yet (because the maintenance men have been in and out of here so much and my silly tree would be all in the way so I’ve waited until they were done; I think they’re done now, though, so I suppose I can start decorating. It just seems like such a waste of TIME, though. I have to take it all DOWN at the end of the MONTH, you know? SIGH SIGH) and I’m not going home for Christmas and although that’s fine, and this year it’s what needs to happen, it’s only the second time I’ve had to do that, and the first time was pretty melancholy, so I can only assume this time will be, too. Although it will be nice to have a whole day off just for me where I can be slothful. I will miss seeing The Nephew at Christmas, though. Kiddos at Christmas are magical, all big eyes and excitement. Especially the ones in your family. I mean, maybe other people’s children are adorable, too, but I only care about MINE. And the ones belonging to the people I love, of course. Sorry, all others, my heart only stretches so far.
However, I have PLANS, and SCHEMES, about how I’m going to spend the day. I cannot say what they are because they relate to people who are most likely READING THIS RIGHT NOW so shush, me. See, Christmas has to be postponed for me, gift-shopping-wise, this year, because I don’t get my first paycheck from the new job until RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS ZOMG? But it’s going to be a GOOD one. So I’m going to spend my Christmas day working on my epic “Christmas in January” plans for my loved ones. Exciting, right? Also, I have some people who are getting internetty things for Christmas so I will be working on THOSE that day, too. So the day will be CHOCK FULL OF FUN.
ANYWAY, here’s a list of my Christmas must-sees. We talked about some of these a little last year, but when better to talk about them AGAIN. (And as much as I loved Elf, and Will Ferrell will always make me giggle, I don’t know if it made THE LIST. Will Ferrell was great, but the jury’s still out as to whether or not it’s a repeated classic or not. Although Will Ferrell telling the false Santa he smells like beef and cheese and that he sits on a throne of lies is undeniably awesome. And also when he says he loves smiling and smiling’s his favorite. That makes me giggle every time. And nod, because smiling is also MY favorite! ALSO PETER DINKLAGE AND AMY SEDARIS ARE IN IT. So that’s the best. We’ll see what happens next year, now won’t we? So Elf’s NOT on the list, but it’s not being OFFICIALLY left off. Consider Elf being in the imaginary footnotes or something.)
It’s a Wonderful Life – sorry, I’m a huge old sap and I love this movie like crazy. I have to watch it twice a year. Once while wrapping gifts and once on Christmas Eve. I’m not 100% sure what would happen if I didn’t do this. Maybe the world would stop spinning, I’m not sure. But I’m sure as hell not risking it. I love George Bailey and I love how effing NOBLE he is and every time he almost gets to get out of Bedford Falls but things fall through, I cry. EVERY DAMN TIME. And I love the scene where he and Mary kiss for the first time and I love how grumpy he is at the beginning of it with his “I see it still smells like PINE NEEDLES around here.” And I love the end. Oh, do I love the end. The end makes me just weep. When his brother comes in, and George realizes his brother’s not dead after all? When everyone comes through with the money? When he’s the richest man in town? Shut up, I’m all weepy just WRITING this. It’s my best Christmas movie. BEST BEST BEST. If any of you ever watch this with me, you’re going to see me weeping. Fair warning, and I’m not even apologizing for it.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – now, just so we’re CLEAR, there is only ONE version of this. I refuse to even ACKNOWLEDGE that terrible Jim Carrey nonsense. He looked like he was wearing a green BEAR suit. A CREEPY green bear suit. No, the only version that matters is the one with cartoons and Boris Karloff’s creepy wonderful narration. With the Grinch slithering around stealing the gifts and whipping poor reindeer-Max to make him run faster and his HEART breaking the MEASURING DEVICE and his Grinch-feet getting cold in the snow and little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two. THAT’s the only Grinch. I own it. I also watch this one at least twice a season. It makes me weepy, too. “Maybe Christmas, he thought, meant a little bit more.” “And he, he the Grinch himself, carved the roast beast.” I can’t hear the first lines – who knows them? Quick, no Googling? TOO SLOW! “Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot. But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, DID NOT” – without getting chills. Sorry to give you false impressions, but sometimes the things you grow up with are still the best. And every Christmas, I need to watch a pissy green monster learn the true meaning of Christmas from a bunch of overly-loud pious gibberish-spouting alien-people.
A Wish for Wings That Work – I mentioned this last year and I’m going to be very surprised if any of you have seen this. It’s virtually impossible to find now, and as far as I know never made it to DVD. (HOLY HELL IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! It IS on DVD! I know what I’m buying with one of my hoarded Amazon gift cards this year!) My copy was illegally recorded from a videotape when I worked at the video store in grad school and the quality isn’t stellar. I still watch it every Christmas. I still weep over it every Christmas. (Are you sensing a theme? The top four movies/cartoons make me cry. The bottom two don’t, I just like them. Promise.) This is a cartoon by Berkeley Breathed about Opus the Penguin and Bill the Cat and how the only only ONLY thing that Opus wants for Christmas is to be able to fly. And it’s HEARTBREAKING. And also hopeful. And very very funny. (I still quote this cartoon sometimes. It has some very good lines. Luckily, no one else has seen it so they think I’m just being witty and intelligent.) Also, you GUYS! It’s about a PENGUIN! Who has wings that only SPUTTER (not flutter!) If you can find it somewhere, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Love, Actually – oh, shush, I know, it’s SAPPY and it’s ROMANTIC and it’s probably making you all disgusted in me but I love it so much. Even my coal-black heart cannot help but be moved by Andrew Lincoln holding up the signs for Kiera Knightley and then WALKING AWAY FROM HER. Because it was for the BEST. Come on already. SO MANY TEARS. Or Liam Neeson’s sad dead wife! Or the awesomeness of Bill Nighy! Or the PRIME MINISTER OF ENGLAND going DOOR TO DOOR looking for his lost love! Or my beautiful Colin Firth and his inability to talk to the woman he loves! Come on. This is a heartbreaking movie. I even love the weird porn plot because it has my Martin Freeman in it and he’s so adorably awkward. I know it’s only remotely Christmas-related but it’s one of my Christmas movies. It gives me hope. SHUSH I SAID.
A Miracle on 34th Street – only the original here, please. The remake was fine, but give me the original with the luminous Natalie Wood every damn time. This movie doesn’t make me cry (well, ok, maybe a LITTLE, at the END, with the HOUSE that SANTA got for her, come on, just a FEW tears, with her running around with her adorable wide eyes and she finally believed and it’s kind of magical) but I love it. I love the courtroom scene and I love Santa and I love that it’s set in New York City and I love when Santa sings to the little Dutch girl in her own language and I love when he hits the douchebag psychiatrist over the head with his cane and I love when he gets gum in his beard and I love when he teaches little serious Natalie Wood how to pretend and I love when she says, in this totally adult dead-soul voice, “I believe, I believe, it’s silly but I believe” and her mother realizes she’s done an injustice by not allowing her daughter to have any dreams. And listen, I’m so not a fan of old movies. Not at all. But this one’s special. I don’t watch this one EVERY year, but if I happen to catch it on TV, I watch the whole thing. Every time. Can’t help myself.
A Christmas Story – it’s just not Christmas if I don’t watch this on the TBS marathon at least once. I need to see Ralphie beating up Scut Farkus (who, by the way, turned out PRETTY, yo, I do so love my ginger boys)…
…and cussing and cussing; I need to see Randy wearing so many layers that he can’t get up HE CAN’T GET UP!; I need to see Ralphie going blind from SOAP POISONING!; I need to see Ralphie shoot his eye out. I’ve seen it so many times I probably know most of the lines by heart. Don’t care. It’s comforting and it makes me happy. It’s been part of my Christmas for years.
This has gotten very long. ANYWAY. On my Christmas of sloth and laziness (which, let’s be honest, I always SAY my days off will be filled with such but I haven’t just SAT and done NOTHING for YEARS, I’m sure things will be as busy as always, but with more ho-ho-ho-ing and the ability to tweet since I’m not at work) (NOT THAT KIND OF HO HO HO-ING THAT IS NOT WHAT CHRISTMAS IS FOR) (well, maybe it’s what YOUR Christmas is for, I don’t know your life) I’m sure I’ll be watching at least one of these. If not more.
Nineteen more days! I think I need some Grinch soon, though. It’s getting to be around that time. His brain is full of SPIDERS! He has garlic in his SOUL!