This is the time of year when I want to be positive and hopeful about humanity in general. Needless to say, last year was a tough one in that department. This year has also been challenging--already, but so far, it hasn't been quite as bad. I'm over the shock for a start.
For the record, I'm a fan of "Happy Holidays!" People who insist on "keeping Christ in Christmas" are merrily attempting to erase every other belief system that exists. No one group has a monopoly on holy days in December, y'all. So, learn to share. That used to be a core Christian belief. Whatever happened to it?
Anyway, we bought our tree early this year, and Dane and I decorated it together. (I prefer live trees. I love the smell.) I also enjoy watching the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, and this year I even got to see Santa arrive. Usually, I'm too busy in the kitchen and miss that part. For me, the holidays aren't The Holidays without seeing Santa at the end of that parade. I blame Miracle on 34th Street. (Doris Walker, Susan's mother, works for Macy's and manages the parade.) I prefer the 1947 version for the record. The reason why is because there are little details that don't hold the same punch when you don't have the freshly dead specter of WWII hanging overhead. For example the following scene has a lot of power when you understand that that kid is a war orphan. This film premiered in 1947--just two years after the end of the war.
As I'm sure you can tell, films are a major part of what sets the tone for the Holidays. My must-sees are Miracle on 34th Street, How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Santa Clause, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol (1984), and my two special favorites are It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Hogfather.
Now, this film has some problems, I admit. (I don't think I can name a perfect film when it comes to representation, Feminism, and so on.) But I love it anyway. And largely the reason why is because the film has heart. It looks at the life of an ordinary man and demonstrates that his really isn't all that ordinary after all. [spoiler] George Bailey never gets to become that famous architect. He stays the owner of a savings and loan. However... and here's the point that endears this film to me forever... it portrays his life--including his failures--in a way that demonstrates the effect he's had on everyone around him. As it turns out, it's not the big, flashy things that were important. It wasn't being The One™ (his brother is a The One in that he's a war hero) that was such a big factor--it was the little things he did that saved so many lives around him. The story demonstrates how each of us is interconnected, and we're often totally unaware of our influence on others' lives. It reminds me that kindness is so, so much more important than anything else. I reminds me that human beings can be wonderful, marvelous creatures. That they can be beautiful (in a spiritual sense) even. Ultimately, it's a renewal of sorts. And that's what the Yule season is to me--a reminder that kindness and generosity are vital. And I can't think of anyone who doesn't need to be reminded of that on an annual basis. Yes, the film is sappy. And yes, it's manipulative. But I don't give a rat's ass. ;)
Then there's Terry Pratchett's Hogfather which is, hands down, my favorite holiday film ever. Never mind that Susan (Death's granddaughter) is a badass who thinks her way through problems and even eventually wields a sword. (She's also cynical but not in a mean-spirited way.) This novel (and definitely read the novel--it's absolutely brilliant) cuts to the very core of...well...everything. The following scene nails it. It shows exactly how civilization exists.
The production is perfect as far as interpretation of a great novel goes, and the cast is spot-on. (When Charles Dance dies, the Patrician dies with him.) It's the best film made based on Pratchett's work. (Although, Going Postal is a close second.) It's long, and if you're not familiar with the novel, the pacing in the first half is a slow build. Other than that, I adore it.
What are your favorite holiday films?
 The funniest part of all that is...I watch it with the sound muted a lot of the time. The pop music is just so bad most of the time. I think the main reason I watch it is because I was in school marching band for seven years, and yes, we did march in parades.
 Because until I saw George C. Scott snarl out, "HUMBUG!" I never understood how frightening Scrooge was. Every other actor that place I get why Bob Cratchett trembled when Scrooge enters the room. He's imposing. And he damned well would be. That version of the film not only demonstrates the awfulness of misers and greed (take notice GOP) but it also illustrates the power and threat behind it. Scrooge isn't a wrinkly, weakened, humpbacked, old man. He's an older man at the height of his power. That's the point.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.