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My Top 10 Favorite Classic Holiday Movies

 

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Love Actually with Hugh Grant

I was recently reading a blog post from someone who detested the movie, Love Actually – I mean they were really offended by it and thought it silly, useless, and just plain irritating.  I on the other hand, love this movie, and find it charming as it gets me into the Christmas spirit when I watch it.  This made me think of my Go-To list of movies I need to watch between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, that remind me of how important family is and all the magic you can experience when you celebrate the holidays together. Here is a list of my Top 10 Must See Movies every holiday season – you may recognize a couple and hopefully some are your favorites too!

“Love Actually” with Hugh Grant and Kiera Knightly.   I was buying Jo Malone perfume Saturday and almost laughed out loud while I watched the man gift wrap my perfume as follows: perfume bottle is added to a Jo Malone branded box (which I really love), stops to toss in a handful of tiny samples (perfect for when I travel), puts on lid and ties a bauble of cranberries on top of the package, then lightly sprays perfume onto Jo Malone branded tissue paper, which he then fluffed into a branded shopping bag in which he nestled the boxed perfume.  THEN he threaded a festive red ribbon through the loops of the bag handles and tied it all into a gigantic fluffy red bow and finally handed it to me.  This guy really enjoyed his job!  All of this of course reminded me of the following funny scene with Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) from Love Actually…

 

 

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“Desk Set” with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  I can watch this movie any time of the year, but I especially enjoy it during the holidays.   I love the witty banter between these two Hollywood icons.  There was definitely serendipity in the air from their first movie together (1942’s Woman of the Year through their last movie in 1967 which was Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.)  I love all their movies, but this is actually my favorite of their working together – I feel like they had a language all their own that was evident in their eyes, facial expressions and that knowing nod they share with each other  – which is probably due to their 25 year personal relationship. This is a classic scene between the two of them…

 

 

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“Christmas in Connecticut” with Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan.  This movie was re-made in 1992 with Kris Kristofferson and Dyan Cannon, but I am loyal to the original romantic comedy from 1945.  Dennis Morgan plays a WWII war hero returning home and is invited by Barbara’s character (who happens to be a food writer) to stay at her farm in Connecticut over the Christmas holidays. Only thing is, all of her articles are fiction as she lives in a walk-up apartment in NYC rather than on a farm in Connecticut.  What ensues is a delightful few days of mixed up characters pretending to be married so the food writer doesn’t lose her job – but bottom line she ends up falling in love with the soldier.  I didn’t mention “scene spoiler” in advance, as everyone knows that a movie made in 1945 could only end up with the two main characters falling in love and getting married.  I mean it was 1945  – okay?

 

 

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“Meet Me in St. Louis” with Judy Garland and Tom Drake.  This movie is about a family of four daughters and a son who live in St. Louis.  We were a family of four girls and a boy, so I had an immediate bonding with this movie the first time I saw it.  As a child I would “stall” going to bed when this movie would be shown on TV only to be told “go to bed now” – then I would sneak back and stand in the doorway where no one could see me, and continue to watch the movie till the end (the next day of course I could barely keep my eyes open at school). My favorite scene is when Judy Garland sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – ooh this gives me chills of very fond memories…

 

 

 

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“Miracle on 34th Street” with Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood and John Payne.   I have always loved the opening scene where Santa Claus tells a shop owner who is setting up a window Christmas display during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, that he is placing the reindeer in the wrong order for pulling his sleigh. But the best part of the movie by far is when John Payne is defending Kris Kringle as the one and only Santa Claus, in order to keep him out of the nut house.  The following takes place in the courtroom where John Payne proves his case by citing the US Postal Service as evidence of Kris Kringle’s existence – watch this…

 

 

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“Scrooged” with Bill Murray and Karen Allen from 1988.  I love the 1938 Dickens’ movie “A Christmas Carol” that tells the traditional story of the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge – and watch it every year and still love the ending when Tiny Tim says “Bless Us Everyone”.  But Bill Murray’s version is just so over the top, downright hilarious while still keeping with the essence of the story and providing a moral on “changing your selfish ways”. Big, hilarious, fun movie that gets me every year without fail.

 

 

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“An Affair to Remember” with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.  One of Cary Grant’s best movies as far as I am concerned.  He is handsome, charming, witty, and in love with Deborah Kerr.  He is a notorious playboy who meets Deborah on a cruise and they fall in love.    This was my Mother’s favorite movie, bar none.  She could watch this movie over and over and never, ever tire of it.  Even though she had limited vision towards the end, she would watch this movie and know in detail precisely what was happening in the movie at any given moment.  You may recall the scene in Sleepless in Seattle, when Meg Ryan goes to the top of the Empire State Building to meet her love – this was taken right out of An Affair to Remember – when you watch this movie you will need your box of Kleenex nearby!!

 

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“The Man Who Came to Dinner” with Bette Davis and Monty Woolley. This is a classic zany comedy from 1942 full of Hollywood stars  (including Jimmy Durante, Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan) that centers around a notoriously acerbic radio personality Sheridan Whiteside (played by Monty Woolley).  Sheridan slips on some icy steps at the home of a local prominent couple and then insists on recuperating in their home during the Christmas holidays. He is a self-centered celebrity who brings chaos to everyone he encounters. Bette Davis plays his secretary, a spinster who finds the love of her life with the local newspaperman. This move is heart-warming, funny, romantic – an American classic.

 

 

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“The Bishop’s Wife” with Cary Grant, and David Niven.   David Niven plays a church bishop who asks for divine help in raising money to build a new church – enter Cary Grant as the angel who answers his prayers. This is a very fun movie with an exceptional cast (including James Gleason, and Loretta Young as the bishop’s wife.)  A little flirting between the angel and the Bishop’s Wife keeps this movie interesting.  BTW, this was remade in 1996 with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington and renamed The Preacher’s Wife – also a great movie.

 

 

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“White Christmas” with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney. This is the movie I watch every year a day or two before Christmas while wrapping all my presents.  This is deeply embedded from my childhood psyche when I would painstakingly wrap presents I had bought for my siblings and parents (my nest egg was built upon a $1 week allowance – ouch!) while watching Bing and Danny sing and dance for two hours.  The movie “Holiday Inn” (starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire), introduces the song “White Christmas” before said movie was made a couple of years later, and I find it is a toss-up between these two movies.  But bottom line, for me White Christmas will always win – Love this movie and especially when they sing the title song. Did you know this song sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, according to the Guinness World Records – love, love, love it!!

 

 

I know this was a really long post, but Christmas only comes once a year.  There are so many other wonderful movies this time of year, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Tender Trap, Holiday Inn, A Christmas Story, The Santa Clause, Home Alone and numerous others.

 

What are some of your favorite Holiday Movies this time of year and what fond memories do they bring back for you – I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

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