Christmas Story Grinch

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Right now, many writing blogs are talking about favorite holiday movies or books. I’m feeling a bit Grinchish, or is it Scroogish?

There is a Christmas book I despise. I was home for Christmas a year or so after I graduated college and my father recommended that I read this particular book. He was almost giddy about it. Growing up, I don’t remember my father reading much. When he did it was piddly little things like The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, or the biography of Margaret Thatcher. So, when he suggest Skipping Christmas, I expected something rather momentous.

Instead, it was about everything I hate about Christmas: conforming to someone else’s ideal of Christmas to make them happy will end up making you happy. And broke.

My dad seemed crushed when I told him I didn’t like it.

Sometimes I wonder, did I miss the point of the book?

OK, so let’s end this on a happier note: Christmas stories I like.

Every year, my friend and I watch White Christmas at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. They always host an It’s a Wonderful Life/White Christmas back-to-back sing-a-long. While I do like It’s a Wonderful Life, we usually skip it…two long movies in a row is too much…even when they serve popcorn with real butter. Before the show, Santa sings and we all get to join along. And then the audience sings with the musical numbers in the movie. People wear funny hats, toss confetti snow, ring jingle bells…it’s a lot of fun. If you’re ever in Chicago for Christmas, get tickets (in early November or they’ll sell out) and join us!

I’m also a fan of the black and white version of Miracle on 34th Street. I love when Kris sings in Dutch. I always sing along…and I’m pretty sure three decades of watching the movie hasn’t gotten me anywhere closer to singing actual Dutch words.

I remember really liking the Muppets’ Christmas Carol…and it might be time to watch it again. I haven’t seen it in years, but every time I see any A Christmas Carol-version Marley appear on screen, I have to sing “We’re Marley and Marley.”

Thinking about this post made me realize that I don’t read a lot of Christmas stories. I’m not sure I’ve even read A Christmas Carol. I know I’ve read books that take place at Christmas time…I have to have done it, right? There have to be tons of books out there that are Christmas themed or at least have a Christmas scene.

So, what are your thumbs up (or thumbs down) Christmas stories?

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Story Grinch

  1. bethfinke

    I’m afraid you already mentioned my two favorites: White Christmas and the b&w version of Miracle on 34th Street. Here’s a new one with potential, though: While away in NJ I heard a song based on a true story, one night during WWI (or was it WWII?) German soldiers and American soldiers put down their guns and sang carols together instead? Have been told that a movie about this, called “A Midnight Clear,” is very good. I may try to rent it this year. I’m an odd Scrooge about some Xmas movies, I admit: I don’t like It’s a Wonderful Life (it’s way too much of a downer when the brother Billy can’t find the money) or The Christmas Story (the TV show The Wonder Years ruined that one for me). But hey, how about that O. Henry story where he sells his watch to buy her a comb, she cuts her long hair and sells it to buy him a watch chain? I *do* like that one very much – Merry Christmas!

  2. Emily

    Bethfinke – Gift of the Magi? Almost every tv show riffs on that at some point. Just like every show has their own version of 12 angry men if they’ve run long enough.

    I also think I’ve seen at least part of the movie you mention. Both sides sought shelter in a civilian’s house, and it was upon her insistence and strength that they hesitatingly held a truce for the night. Very interesting.

    I’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life once, and that was enough for me. White Christmas is my favorite by far. I also like The Bells of St Mary, another Bing Crosby movie. Don’t remember if it is exactly a Christmas movie, but I associate Bing singing with Christmas. Saw Bells for the first time on TV, and we delayed going to a movie or dinner or something because we flipped to it and couldn’t leave without finishing the movie.

  3. Gift of the Magi, you’re right! I have read that. I think it was required reading in high school. Wow. Can’t believe I forgot it.

    Emily, I think the story that Beth is talking about was actually on the battlefield rather than in someone’s house. At least that’s the version I’ve heard about (rather than read): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce

    Here are the Wikipedia descriptions of both your movies:
    A Midnight Clear:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Midnight_Clear

    Silent Night:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Night_(2002_film)

    I had no idea that war and Christmas was such a big theme.

  4. Hi there,
    I dont have much to offer as you and the other commenters have already mentioned my favourite two stories. Christmas Carol is my favourite Dickens’ book. What an awesome story, you really should read it, if you havent already. And Gift of the Magi? O Henry is a very underrated writer..

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