Thursday, 11 December 2008

Advent and other festive things

For the first time in my life I've not got an advent calendar. When I was young, I had the traditional picture one, and then I moved onto chocolate (which my parents weren't unduly happy about, and in later years made me feel slightly guilty).

So this year I've decided to do something different - I decided to read a book.
'The Christmas Mystery' by Jostein Gaarder is perfect as a pseudo advent calendar, because it's split up into twenty four chapters, and tells the story of Christmas, albeit from a slightly different angle. I've read it before, but this time, only reading a chapter a night, I've found it more magical and more real. It's definitely a good Christmas read.

Another thing that spells Christmas to me (and I'm wondering how many times I can get that word in this post) is the festive film. There are many different sorts of Christmas film, but to me the best ones are either in black and white, or have a lot of singing in them.

'White Christmas' - the epitome of class and joy. What more could one want than Bing Crosby crooning with Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen Dancing with Danny Kaye?

'It's a Wonderful Life' - Man oh man - this film! What good acting can do to change the way we look at things. James Stewart is a wonder!

'In the Good Old Summertime' - er, yes, I know the title seems a little odd, but in actual fact the final part of this is all winter wonderland, and has Judy Garland singing.

'Meet me in St Louis' - Oh Judy, Judy, Judy - singer of the most perfect Christmas ballad ever. You just have to play the first few chords for me to start bawling my eyes out.

'The Lion in Winter' - the PERFECT family movie for the festive period. You think your family has problems at this time of year? Watch this, and be staggered - Henry II had much bigger arguments than anyone else could ever imagine!

'The Muppet Christmas Carol' - 'Oh, there goes Mr Humbug, there goes Mr Grim, if they gave a prize for being mean, the winner would be him' - Muppets, Dickens and Christmas, how fantastic!

There's so many more: 'Little Women', 'Desk Set', 'Home Alone', 'Love Actually', 'Miracle of 34th Street', I could go on and on, but I won't bore you all.

Does anyone else have an absolute must see film for this season? Also, who else has a cold? I'm coughing and sneezing like my life depends on it!


J.Danger said...

You know, I keep hearing about this Love, Actually. I have never seen it. Is it really a christmas movie? How did I miss this?

Teresa said...

White Christmas is my favorite Christmas movie. Another good one not on your list is The Bishop's Wife. And, of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas, but I guess that's not exactly a movie.

No cold at the moment, just my annual December sore throat from all the dry air from the heater.

Peta said...

You mentioned some great films - for me just add in Nightmare Before Christmas (not for viewing on Christmas Day itself) and... Elf. Which is a very guilty pleasure. My husband always insists on Christmas Vacation too but I don't find that quite as amusing as he does!

oxford-reader said...

Love, Actually is a film by Richard Curtis (he of Notting Hill, 4 weddings and a funeral and Bridget Jones fame). It's very definately a christmas film, but it's also unbelieveably sacharine. Has a fantastic cast though, so worth watching!

I'm gonna have to find A Charlie Brown Christmas on youtube, because it sounds fantastic! And I never really got into 'Nightmare' - I just don't like Tim Burton films very much (although I love Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd)

Anonymous said...

In addition to most of the films you mentioned, Christmas wouldn't be right without a viewing of Alastair Sim's rendition of A Christmas Carol. And I've always loved the wacky Scrooged version with Bill Murray. I remember about ten years ago It's A Wonderful Life was on 29 times between Dec. 1 and Christmas day. That was when no one held the copyright on it, so everybody showed it. Now I think Mr. Turner owns the copyright and it's only shown once or twice during Advent.
I, too, have a book specifically for daily chapter reading during Advent...Everyman's Pocket Classics Christmas Stories. I absolutely loved Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory. It made me weep. What a wonderful writer.
I hope this finds you recovering from your cold. I have just gotten over a 4 week long bout...yuck! In these trying times, I have kept the cough drop industry afloat. Be well. Stacey

Jenny said...

My own favorite is Miracle on 34th St, which is the polar opposite of saccharine. But I disagree with you about Love, Actually. You can look at Emma Thompson and tell me that movie is sweety-sweet? Ha.

I also watch the Muppet Christmas Carol every year. :)

oxford-reader said...

Ah yes - I think Emma Thompson is the one thing that redeems that film from sacharine hell (and I'm being harsh, because, actually, I love the film to bits!)

I'm going to have to do my Christmas ritual tomorrow and go and buy the radio times and sit down with a highlighter!

StuckInABook said...

Yes, I have a cold :-(
I also read The Christmas Mystery, chapter a day, through Advent a coule of years ago. A really great way to read it.