Holiday Heart and Magic Captured on the Screen


What can I say?  I love all the Christmas specials that are on at this time of the year, no matter how ridiculous or vapid or low budget, I love them all.  So far this year, I’ve seen one on the Hallmark channel about this missing little boy, Chris, who turns out to be the imaginary creation of a little girl whose parents are divorcing.  Yet with the help of a fabulous Peter Falk angel Santa guy (and who can dislike Columbo as guardian angel?), not only do the little girl’s parents stay together but the hardened television reporter (played by Patricia Heaton with particularly good hair) finds love in the arms of a young boy (okay, so he may have been all of 25) who promises to love her forever.  Sure, there’s a bah humbug element when I type it up, and it’s there all fanciful and trite in very stark black and white, but when you’re watching it, well, it sucks you in.

A couple of weeks ago I saw Elf for the first time, about a very tall man (whattizface from SNL) who was raised at the Northpole by elves and becomes curious about his biological father, who is cannily played by James Caan, you’d hardly know he’s the same recycled Dickensian Scrooge character we see in all these films.  The Elf is delightfully out of place in the City and therein lies much of the humor, but the heart of it (for it’s the heart of these holiday shows that make them worth watching year after year, after all) is the love story between Elf and his department store counterelf and the saving of Santa (and thus Christmas) by singing carols of good cheer and believing.  Sure it sounds like clapping your hands for Tinkerbell, but nothing surprising there, lots of themes and tropes show up all over the place, but they are fun to watch all the same. 

One of my all-time favorites is still It’s a Wonderful Life, there’s just something reassuring about that film, and it’s done particularly well, too.  The Scrooge there is truly dreadful, and we hate him almost as much as we hate the Grinch who terrorizes Whoville in the dead of night.  I guess what I like best about the Jimmy Stewart film (apart from the romantic love story in it) is the idea of angelic intervention (even if it’s somewhat . . . well, not quite competent intervention).  Just gives me the warm fuzzies, you know?

I remember crying as a child over poor Frosty the Snowman when he melted away because of the evil (yep, another) Scrooge character, but then with the first Christmas snow next year, he’ll be back again . . . Happy Birthday!!  He shouts to the children, and if they are Christian children, it is indeed a happy birthday for them as well as for him.  Another of the cartoons that stands out for me has to be the Charlie Brown Christmas when he goes and gets that sad little tree that’s barely a twig after all the needles fall off and it bends over when he tries to put anything on it, but it all works out right in the end, and something more than Santa Claus and malls and presents and food and drink comes across, something that makes this time of year just a bit more special.  All of these shows, really, speak to the magic of this time of year, of this holiday season, and that feels right to me.


Especially for Amber . . . It’s one of my all time faves . . . the Heat Miser, doing a cheery little song and dance.  Altogether  now . . . I’m Mr. Heat Miser, I’m Mr. Sun; I’m Mr. Green Christmas, I’m Mr. One Hundred and One! . . .I’m toooooo Much! 



17 thoughts on “Holiday Heart and Magic Captured on the Screen

  1. I love christmas movies. I will not mention the movies on the Hallmark station (boohoo).My favorite christmas movie this year is Polar Express. It is a feel good christmas movie.

  2. The one Christmassy film that gets me is an animation, The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs…I don’t know if it’s just a British thing, but it makes me cry every time i watch it.
    I love when they pull out all the msuicals over Christmas…especially The Sound of Music…makes me cry like a baby 😛
    *Grumbles over lack of SPN @ christmas*

  3. “I remember crying as a child over poor Frosty the Snowman when he melted away”… Geee…BBB…why don’t you bring back more sad childhood memories like Bambi’s mother dying or the scarey witch from the Wizard of OZ! Boo Hoo…poor frosty! All the emotion flooding back. Amber sulks away, wiping the tears and blowing her nose..shaking her head with disbelief as all the old memories come flooding back. Poor ole Frosty the snowman!

  4. Bert, I started to watch The Polar Express the other night, but I fell asleep just as the little boy was boarding the train; I’m sure they’ll run it again, though. I hope so, anyway, I really want to see it.

    Haven’t seen that one, Tally, maybe it is a British thing; I’ll check Blockbuster and see if they have it though. Sound of Music is a good one! Don’t see too many musicals for some reason . . . but they ran The Wizard of Oz for Thanksgiving, and it was fab. Also caught the last two hours of Gone with the Wind that week; yep, I love those old movies. I’m used to seeing ET, too, at this time of year, but not as yet.

    Oh, Amb, you are too funny!! I think it’s a crying shame (hehe) that some of the stuff for kids is so sad, but it’s a theme for Christmas shows, even Charlie Brown and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas are sad before they’re happy. But I AM sorry I made you all sad by reminding you of Frosty melting, just remember, though, he comes back every year!! So it’s a good thing.

  5. I need to get back into watching these shows. I tend to fasll asleep at 8 if i dont have tp go to work. that sucks. I wantto know about that guy jus for amber that you have one the end there. He is kinda creepy looking. Is he a symbol from the east coast electric company/power saver guy. he isnt famniliar to me at all

  6. Hmmm, I can’t remember the name of the show (go figure), Lisa, but the Heat Miser is in one of those The Year Without a Santa or Rudolph Saves Christmas or whatevers. He’s in the one where Mrs. Claus has to go and negotiate with Mother Nature to ensure that it snows on Christmas and somehow saves it, so she goes to Mother Nature’s two sons, the Heat Miser and the Cold Miser, and they’d been feuding and were being bratty brothers, and Mrs. Claus makes them bestest buds again AND saves Christmas. But before that happens, they each do a little song and dance about the Heat and Cold; my fave is the Heat Miser. Sigh. Guess you didn’t really need all that, but I couldn’t seem to stop once I got started!! lol

  7. It will be my goal this year to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” — shame on me, I have NEVER seen it!! My favorite is Polar Express. If you have a chance to get to the theater and see it in 3D — it is sooooo worth it!

  8. lol, Wendy, I know how you feel; I’ve never seen Casablanca!! But It’s a Wonderful Life is really incredible–very worth seeing . . . again and again. Nice to hear from you 🙂

  9. Talk about timing…I am not one to watch tv, but last week, I put my treadmill in front of the tv and have been going at. Well, with everything going on in my life, I am trying to stay busy and watch “feel good stuff” and was just thinking this morning about going to buy me some new dvds….but wasn’t sure what to look for. Christmas movies…perfect! If you can think of any more “upbeat” stuff, let me know…I watched Pollyanna with Jennifer Anniston in it this morning. As far as a movie, wasn’t that great, but it was upbeat and a little silly, which I need. Thanks for the Christmas movies idea!

  10. No problem, Pris, just posted you another list of ideas as today’s blog!! Happy to help any way I can, you know that. Huggs to you!

  11. Around here the girls love to watch Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer! Wonder why that’s so appealing to them since they have the world’s bestest Nana and all…*scratching head* And they like, and so do I, The Grinch That Stole Christmas. I think that is my favorite along with The Nightmare Before Christmas..If you haven’t seen either of these they are so very good and worth watching. They both make me feel good because of the way they all turn out in the end. And I just still don’t know about the Grandma getting run over by the reindeer movie. >sigh<

  12. hehe, glad you liked, Amber!! teehee

    Omg, Mavis, that’s one of the funniest songs ever, is it really a television show? And I’m sure the girls don’t think anything bad about you at all; how could they?? You’re the best. OOooh, like Nightmare Before Christmas, too, that’s a good one; that guy is so clever (and I like that dark humor). Yeah, I love the Grinch best of all; I didn’t see Jim Carey’s version, though, I’m sticking to the cartoon I grew up with! Huggs to you, Mavis, and watch out for low flying sleighs!! lol

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