I’m a stickler for guarding holiday traditions, and for me they’re one of the few stable things in a topsy-turvy world we inhabit, particularly the hustle and bustle we all face from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
I guess I got that from my family, particularly from my mother, who refused to put Christmas decorations up too early and would only allow Christmas tree lights to be lit only for a short while each night.
During the 1950s and most of the 1960s, lights burned hot, and mom feared the Christmas tree catching fire.
As I grew older, there were certain movies with Christmas themes I grew accustomed to watching each holiday season, some going back to the 1950s and some as late as the 1990s.
Notice I didn’t mention anything beyond 2000, and I guess I’m kind of boring in that regard.
My memory begins to fail me, but here are a few of my favorite Christmas movies, not necessarily in order, including comedies and drama.
• “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” just to watch Chevy Chase’s pratfalls and his misadventures at work and home as the family frantically prepares for the holidays.
Also catch future Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, aka Elaine Benes, as Clark Griswold’s obnoxious yuppie neighbor.
• “A Christmas Carol,” whether you prefer one of the black and white versions, especially Alistair Sims, the 1984 version with George C. Scott (my favorite), or the cartoon version featuring Mr. Magoo, featuring the voice of Jim Backus, Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island.
• “A Christmas Story” with Darren McGavin as the overly excitable dad who obsesses over a rather odd table lamp, and who provides Ralphie with his best favorite Christmas gift ever, a Red Ryder BB gun.
• “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” for sentimental reasons if nothing else and to hear once again the classic musical intro famous in all Charlie Brown films.
• “Home Alone,” again for the pratfalls of the “burglars,” including Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, who think they can outwit the character played by Macaulay Culkin.
• “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” an all-time animated, stop motion classic featuring the voice of the late, great Burl Ives.
These are just a few of the movies and holiday specials that immediately come to mind, and I’m sure all of us have our favorites.
Maybe I’ll think of more in days, weeks and years to come, but with my fading memory, it might be a surprise.