With a week until Christmas, it seems fitting that I should take some time to discuss my core Christmas movie collection. Just like the artificial tree and the trimmings, there’s a box of tapes and DVDs that are only brought out during Christmas. Over the years, movies and specials have been added to the family set while others sit on my shelf as part of my collection. In no particular order:
The Muppet Christmas Carol. I grew up with this as a kid (still have the tape). Over the years, the appreciation has changed from “Muppets for Muppets’ sake” to enjoying the humor in the dialogue. It seems to get better every single year. I didn’t realize that “When Love is Gone” was cut from other versions of the film, meaning that I had the most intact version the whole time.
Muppet Family Christmas. Again, childhood classic that is essentially a giant Muppet crossover from three (four if you count Muppet Babies) shows. It gained a somber tone this year since Gerry Parkes, the guy who played Doc on Fraggle Rock, died. This is a hard one to find on tape due to music rights and such. In fact, the full-length version can only be bought via bootleg. Lovely.
The Snowman. I’ve talked about this gem in a separate review but I still love this classic. I’ve always grown up with the original UK opening of the guy walking into the woods, not the American intro with David Bowie. I recently saw the sequel that was released a few years ago. Stick with the original.
The Bear. Another one based on Raymond Brigg’s work, this is harder to find on home media. It only had a VHS release, so I make sure that my copy doesn’t get destroyed. Wonderful soundtrack and great animation, it’s a great companion for The Snowman. As a child, I always associated the star bear with the one from the Nelvana logo (relatively the same concept) seen at the end of TV shows from the day. Plus, there’s something majestic and magical about that bear. I still get chills when I hear the soundtrack.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I guess it was my introduction to Chuck Jones before I even knew who he was a kid. Had to sing all of the verse for “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” back in sixth grade for the annual Christmas program; I was given the longest verse at the last minute. I haven’t seen the live-action version yet, though I do know a guy who has an authentic Who outfit from the film with some of the original snow on the costume.
Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too. While I wasn’t around for the original broadcast, I do have one version of it on VHS. I forgot about it until someone in school brought it up. My ears perked up, knowing that I wasn’t the only one who knew what this was. That was nice.
A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’d be a sacrilege to not include it on the list. Out of all the Peanuts Christmas specials out there (and there are a lot), this is the best of the lot.
It’s a Wonderful Life. Even though the third act is the only part related to Christmas, it’s still a great film even if it does get syrupy and sentimental at times. Besides, I’m a fan of Jimmy Stewart.
Homeless for the Holidays. Odds are you haven’t heard of this film. Well, this was filmed in my hometown a few years ago during the recession and has a long story attached to it. What it boils down to is that I do have some screen time (all of less than ten seconds of the back of my head) and my name is listed in the credits. While it’s not a perfect Christmas movie by any means, it’s in my collection for personal reasons.
Eyes Wide Shut. It takes place around Christmas and saw it for the first time around Christmas two years ago. That counts, right? Like I mentioned in my review, I watch it every six months or so and I plan on re-watching it in a few days.
I know that some other classics are missing from the list, like Die Hard, A Christmas Story, and all the Rankin/Bass specials. Well, I never grew up with the first two (I’m still not sure how Die Hard became part of the Christmas canon for everyone else) and I never really liked the Rankin/Bass specials. I don’t personally own Elf but I did see it when it first came out and I do like it.
What’s in your Christmas collection?