“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer. Benefits of a classical education.” Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard
I’ve realized this year that not only do I have a list of movies that I must watch every Christmas season, I also have traditions for when I need to watch some of them.
Every year, after we put up the Christmas tree, I have to watch White Christmas. It doesn’t matter if we put the tree up before Thanksgiving or after, but there’s something special about watching that movie while basking in the lights of the Christmas tree for the first time of the season. It really puts me in a great Christmas mood!
On Thanksgiving Day night, I almost always watch Holiday Inn. I almost missed it this year, because I was so tired from all of the work that it is Thanksgiving dinner, but I managed to stay awake until the end (more or less). This seems like the perfect movie to kick off the holidays, because not only does it have a lot of Christmas scenes/music, it also has a really good Thanksgiving scene.
When I’m wrapping Christmas presents, I always watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. Actually, I usually end up watching it twice by the time I’m done with all the gifts. I have no idea why that particular tradition started, but it wouldn’t seem like present night if I didn’t have it playing in the background. I especially like all of the songs!
On baking night, the movie of choice is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I usually need a little humor by the time I’m done baking dozens of cookies, and dipping various treats in chocolate. So, no matter how worn out I am by the task, I know that I’ll be laughing the whole time, even while realizing that I have more in common with Clark Griswold than any other character in the movie!
On Christmas Eve, after church, after we’ve had Jesus’s birthday cake, after the children are in bed and the presents are under the tree, Ryan and I always watch the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker while playing some version of Ticket to Ride (usually “Nordic Countries”). He’s really very nice to put up with watching it yet again, since I’ll have watched it many, many times by Christmas Eve, but it just needs to be seen at least one more time on that night.
One last Christmas movie tradition is the yearly viewing of Die Hard. This movie doesn’t need to be watched on a certain day–instead, the tradition is the annual discussion Ryan and I have about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. He insists that it is; I say that explosions aren’t very Christmasy. But even that has become something I look forward to every year, so whether or not it’s a Christmas movie isn’t even important, it’s still one of our unique family traditions!