Monday, December 08, 2014

Christmas Traditions

Ahhh the holiday season is here with all its traditions. Everywhere I look people are hanging wreaths, decorating trees, and planning Christmas parties. 

I'm not a bah-humbug sort of person, but I don't really have any traditions. Heck, my husband and I don't even decorate for Christmas (too many animals = a very non-festive mess). 

Although, I guess I do have one tradition. As I watch While You Were Sleeping for the gazillionth time, I’m sitting on my sofa wondering what is it about the holiday season that makes me want to curl up and watch the same old Christmas movies I’ve already seen a hundred times. I’m not the type to watch movies repeatedly; I just don’t have that kind of time. But for whatever reason, the magic of Christmas changes all of that. Or perhaps I'm compelled to watch all those feel-good endings because my husband and I don’t have family close by and watching Christmas movies helps me feel like I’m celebrating the season, at least with someone’s family. Or maybe I'm drawn to the common theme in many Christmas movies that involves a lonely protagonist who, by the end of the movie, no longer finds themselves alone during the holiday season (see While You Were Sleeping).

So now I have to share a few must-watch Christmas movies. Two most recent favorites are The Holiday and Love Actually. Some older favs are While You Were Sleeping, The Family Man, Home Alone, and The Santa Clause. I even try to watch Gremlins if it's on Netflix or Hulu. And this year, my husband insisted I watch the hugely popular It’s A Wonderful Life because I haven't seen it yet and it's his favorite.

MY all-time favorite? That's easy. Scrooged.

Any successful piece of fiction requires character growth. I write young adult romance novels, which for whatever reason causes people to automatically assume I'm a hopeless romantic. I'm actually not romantic at all. Seriously. Ask my husband. Even in my own fiction, I tend to write looong because I believe real character growth can't come from one event, so when I sit down to watch a movie like Jerry McGuire, I'm not going to believe the main character "got it" by the end of the movie.  And Tom Cruise really sold that character. It was a fabulous scene. But no, I didn't buy it.

However, Bill Murray in Scrooged? Holy cow. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Scrooged is the typical Ebenezer story, just less traumatic because it's filled with great actors and comedy throughout. The first time I watched it, I was very entertained, but it didn't blow my socks off. Then I watched Bill Murray's “miracle” speech at the end, and I came away grinning like a transformed fool. I completely believed him, and since that suspension of disbelief rarely happens for me, it's a noteworthy experience.

How about you? What are some of your favorites? I'm sure I missed some good ones and would love to add some to the tradition list.


Meda White said...

I too watch the same Christmas movies every year. Some of your favorites are mine also, and I'll add A Christmas Story, Elf, and Christmas Vacation. I'm also a sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies, and Hubba-luv just rolls his eyes and heads for the man cave. :) Merry Christmas.

Callie James said...

Oooh, so true, Meda. Those Hallmark Christmas movies ... the best!

Thanks for stopping by!

Cari Hislop said...

I totally agree! There is something particularly addictive (every December) about old (and new0 Christmas movies. Yesterday I got out Jim Carry's The Grinch to watch soon (that's one of my favorite Christmas movies), but I also associate the Lord of the Rings trilogy as Christmas movies so I'll probably watch those as well.

I find it hard to believe you're not a "romantic" person. You certainly know how to write it!!! Maybe you're romantic, but just not in obvious ways!!! ;)

Callie James said...

Thanks, Cari! I guess I'm romantic for my characters, but in reality, I've definitely got both feet on the ground. :) I'm practical to the point of boring. I love The Grinch! And also the stop-animation shows from childhood (but please don't judge me...ha!).

I could watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy any day.

Ali Hubbard said...

I'm also "not romantic" so I can relate. When I told my husband I was going to write romance, he said, "but you forgot our anniversary last year." (I now have reminders on my phone and calendar. lololol). But in a way, it's because that's not what's IMPORTANT to me what it comes to love.

Anyway, I need to watch the movies you mentioned. I haven't seen a lot of them. I love Christmas Vacation and Elf though..."not now, Arctic Puffin!" And those Hallmark movies are standard in my house. I just can't help myself. Who doesn't love a happy ending?!