Merry Christmas, lovelies! I hope you’re all snuggled up with those you love, enjoying a cup of good cheer (aka some well-spiked nog). I’m keeping it short and sweet today, in keeping with the holiday spirit: I should be celebrating and relaxing (truth be told, this is being written weeks in advance at my desk, because as you read this I am happily ensconced in the internet-less land of New Hampshire with my family), and so should you.
Christmas is a bit like the Kentucky Derby — weeks and weeks of build-up, and then it seems the actual shebang is over in a matter of minutes. The stockings are emptied, the presents unwrapped, and then you’re left with a whole day to loll about. As a kid, these hours were spent happily playing with my loot, whichever toys Santa had brought my way that year (the year I got a Playmobile dollhouse was hands-down the best), but now that my Christmas booty entails more sweaters and cookbooks than American Girl dolls, I’m left with a void in activities once breakfast has been eaten and the coffee is all drunk.
In true interfaith fashion, my family and I often turn to my mother’s side of the family for inspiration and indulge in some good old-fashioned Christmas movies. This sometimes entails an actual trip to the cinema (we do however forgo the traditional Chinese food), but if you’re feeling a strong desire not to get out of your holiday pjs and want some home viewing instead, these are some of my favorites.
White Christmas (Netflix, free): This is my family’s number one, go-to, must-watch-every-year Christmas film. Bing Crosby’s crooning, Danny Kaye’s antics, Rosemary Clooney’s wardrobe, Vera-Ellen’s dance moves, Irving Berlin’s music, what’s not to love!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Amazon, $4.99): By which I mean the original 1966 animated version. No offense to Jim Carrey, when it comes to tales of Whoville and Christmas cheer, I’m a Boris Karloff gal all the way.
Love Actually (Netflix, free): My roommate and I hold an annual viewing of this rom-com-to-beat-all-rom-coms, complete with a requisite drinking game. My favorite plotline changes every year, but Hugh Grant’s dance moves always make my heart sing.
The Holiday (Amazon, $5.99): Another charming and unexpectedly original rom com for the holiday season, sweet but not cloying and realistic yet hopeful. I have three words for you: Mister Napkin Head.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Daily Motion, free): One of the greatest regrets of my current cable-cutting existence is that I am unable to watch this on TV with the rest of the country (the other is my difficulty watching awards shows, which I adore to an inexplicable level, but that’s a story for another day). This year, I took the plunge and bought the DVD so no holiday would be without Linus’s words of wisdom and Snoopy’s tricked out doghouse.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (YouTube, free if slightly illegal): I’m fond of all of the Burl Ives claymation classics, but this one is my favorite. Another film I’ve recently purchased on DVD when the internet failed to pull through on easy viewing options.
Elf (Amazon, $2.99): I was a late convert to this paragon of Christmas cheer but love it no less for the delay. Will Ferrell is at his most infectiously enthusiastic (can he come decorate my apartment please?), and Zooey Deschanel rocks both blonde hair and the shower solo.
Disney’s Sing Along Songs, Very Merry Christmas (YouTube, free if slightly illegal): We in the Zelda house were huge sing-along kids when we were growing up. We had all the Disney classics — Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, You Can Fly, Be Our Guest, Friend Like Me — and this holiday-themed VHS was particularly great. Mickey, Minnie, the Fantasia fairies, and more take you through all the classic carols. And to sing along, you just have to follow the bouncing ball (or rather, the bouncing wreath-bedecked Mickey head).
Bridget Jones’s Diary (Amazon, $2.99): I think of this more as a New Year’s movie, even though Mark Darcy’s reindeer sweater does feature prominently in the meet-cute. We should all be so lucky as to find a Colin Firth type who likes us just as we are.
When Harry Met Sally (Amazon Prime, free): And to round things off and really get you in the New Year’s Eve spirit, I present the best of all New Year’s movies, the Rob Reiner classic (and classic of New York cinema) starring hunky Bill Crystal and OH-MY-GOD-SO-YOUNG Meg Ryan. If you want to truly emulate Scout and myself, you can make it a whole Meg Ryan, New York rom-com marathon. Just add champagne, lots of food, and a bestie, and you’re all set to take on 2016.