December is here and with it an outpouring of Christmas fare on television. I watched my first one of the season on Sunday night.
At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, I’ve got to say, “they don’t make ’em like they used to.” In my opinion, modern Christmas movies on television rely on sentimentality and perfect teeth instead of real meaning.
Here are my picks for great Christmas movies.
Miracle on 34th Street — a story about truth. Is it only revealed in the five senses or can it be found in love and kindness and generosity? A story with universal implications.
It’s a Wonderful Life — Here the struggle is about the value of one man’s life. High stakes indeed
Joyeux Noel — Despite the title there’s not much joyous in this film but if you’re in the mood to stir your soul, this story of the humanity of ordinary soldiers and the inhumanity of the war machine, even at Christmas, is a stunner
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — The comedy depends to a large part on slapstick, but at the heart of the story is a man who deeply loves his family and longs to give them one perfect moment at Christmas
Home Alone — Again we depend on gags for humour and excitement but who can’t sympathize with a little boy who wonders if his family has abandoned him? The story is about more than family Christmas. It’s about belonging.
A Christmas Carol — There are many versions of Dickens’ classic tale, but I like the 1951 version with Alistair Sims as Scrooge. It is a story about the struggle for a man’s soul. No wonder it still rings true 175 years since it was first told.
These movies are deeply satisfying. They resonate with universal truths. They go deep into the human heart. They remind us that the season is about much more than mincemeat and tinsel. They remind us of the good in mankind and encourage us to find that goodness within ourselves and others. They reflect the true meaning of Christmas — love, sacrifice, angels singing with joy, sages bowing in homage to the Prince of Peace.
I’m off now to write my annual Christmas story for my newsletter subscribers. I’ll try not to be sappy. Maybe the heroine will have crooked teeth.
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