He’s just an overgrown elf liberating already chewed bubble gum. There’s something distinctly not right about that and right about it, all at the same time. Even though, according to a "Rotten Tomatoes 50 Best Christmas Movies of All Time” list, “Elf” only ranks a measly #25, it’s still one of my Top 5 Christmas movies.
How about you? What’s your favorite holiday movie?
For some reason, holiday movies play a big role in our Christmas seasonal celebration. Ordinarily, I’m not a “re-watcher” of films but Christmas movies seem to be the exception. Every year since it came out, we’ve watched “Elf.” There are a host of other movies that make our playlist every year too – “White Christmas,” all the “Santa Clause” movies, “Scrooged,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,“Arthur Christmas,” just to name a few. Then, on Christmas Eve we really dial up the emotion and watch “The Nativity Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Why do we do this? That’s a question I ponder every year and yet, we wile away hours every year watching these movies and I must admit... I enjoy it. They are a subtle check-in for me each year. They connect me to a time of holidays passed. In short, they provide comfort and joy (that’s part of a Christmas carol isn’t it?). The season can sometimes feel immensely hectic but watching these films calms everything down, focuses one for 90 minutes or so, and, in most cases, delivers a delightful message about the selves we want to be during this season. The selves that are giving and loving, kind and sentimental.
Considering the success of the Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, and ABC Family in producing and airing new holiday movies, I think this holiday movie tradition is safe and sound. We tried one of these “new” movies last weekend. It was not very good from an acting or production standpoint but it had that familiar storyline – hardworking businessperson ignores Christmas for work – gets thrust into a situation to help Santa – comes around and embraces the magic of the season and falls in love. Sounds familiar right? It was. That familiarity is sort of what we’re seeking this time of year. We love our holiday traditions and we love the family and friends that are often a part of those traditions. It's an especially delicious kind of familiar.
Now some might say…”Gee, helping out in a soup kitchen would be a much better use of time.” Absolutely there is a place for that this holiday season. But don’t dismiss watching Christmas movies. These stories can reignite our holiday spirit and perhaps that is something that makes us a little better as people. Perhaps we’re more willing to pay for someone else’s drink in line, allow the other car to merge ahead of us, dig out spare change for the red kettle, or hold open a door for a stranger. Any of these actions make the world a slightly better place and spread the holiday cheer from our living rooms to the world around us. As Buddy the Elf would say..."Smiling's my favorite!" so if watching a holiday movie makes you smile, take that smile out into the world and brighten someone else's day with your actions.
What’s your favorite holiday movie? What makes this movie your favorite?