The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s Christmas. No getting around it. No more putting off the decorating or shopping. Get out that reindeer sweater and your jingle-bell earrings. Find Grandma’s divinity recipe and build that gingerbread house. It’s time for merriment. Parties, plays, choir concerts and cookie swaps are everywhere you turn.

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Listening to the radio these days can be tough, though. I enjoy Christmas music. I sing I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, Santa Baby, and Jingle Bell Rock at the drop of a hat. I love the quiet and almost hallow notes of Silent Night and Away in a Manger. I like that Elvis, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Eartha Kitt, Chris Isaak, and Michael Jackson all have Christmas tunes that weave seamlessly with the Carpenters and Bing Crosby. My only problem is all those tear-jerker songs.

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You know what songs I’m talking about. The Christmas Shoes, One Last Christmas, It Won’t Be the Same This Year, and The Little Boy Santa Claus Forgot all just bring tears to my eyes. I sure can’t drive while listening to them.

So all this music has got me thinking… Christmas is a time of emotions. We celebrate the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We get together with friends and family, near and far. We miss those who are no longer with us. We see great acts of sacrifice. We witness ridiculous acts of selfishness. We reminisce about past holidays and look forward to the coming year with hope.

Maybe this is why so many books and movies that really have nothing to do with the holidays have their stories nestled into the backdrop of Christmas. Consider all the “seasonal” films that really are about relationships or personal victories (or tragedies) and you’ll usually see that Christmas is just a setting. Most are not about Christmas at all.

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The Bishop’s Wife is about a troubled marriage. Penny Serenade is about a couple struggling with grief. Little Women is about sisters coming of age. While You Were Sleeping is a romantic comedy about loneliness. Even A Christmas Carol is a story about regret. They all just have Christmas time as another character in the tale. It is the binding that links the emotions of the characters with the audience. It’s good story-telling.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.