Friday, 23 December 2011

'Tis the Season

Happy Christmas (Grafton St.)
As the days continue to count down and the shops get wilder, the streets more congested and people more frazzled, 'tis the season to start thinking about curling up with your family with a warm blanket, a steamy cup of old cocoa and a great Christmas film. 

This is the first Christmas I'll be spending away from my family and in a completely different country. Although I technically don't celebrate Christmas it has always been one of my favourite times of year and I can say with certainty that I am usually at my happiest, most light hearted and little-kidish around the holiday season. I love the lights, the snow (I'm Canadian and we get TONS of it), the hot chocolate, the carols..It all adds up to big smiles and fond memories for me. 

O'Connel St. Tree.
I'm celebrating Christmas in Dublin, Ireland this year, and don't get me wrong, the Irish have a superb knack for doing the season up right. They have some great traditions and I've already been to a few carol services, one of which was held in Trinity College's chapel by candlelight - beautiful to say the least. There are Christmas Markets galore and tree lightings and decorations strewn about almost every street in the city center. I do miss home though - it's the season that really does it - and I remember all the things I love about celebrating at home with my family. Enjoying the time off and spending time with the ones I love.

This year as I settle down to start relaxing and soaking up the time I have off from everyday busyness I started to think about all the times I've curled up on the couch at home with the lights glowing off the Christmas tree as my dad and I popped in our favourite holiday movies. I'm sure everyone does this, it's sort of a holiday tradition I think, but there have always been those select few movies my family and I watch without fail every year. I though it would be fun to do a little rundown of the ones I love best in memory of my family at home if only to keep the tradition alive in some small way while I'm here. 

So, without further ado:

I think everyone can agree that Home Alone is a great movie to watch at Christmas. As a kid I can remember being so enamored of Kevin's big and overbearing family, the huge house he lives in and the way he defends his territory against the bandits that try to rob his home by setting awesome traps around his house to ward them off. This film never fails to cheer me up and make me smile.

Miracle on 34th Street, I was introduced to the magic of this movie through the 1994 remake. Yes, I know, maybe I should have watched the original first, but I have to say that I was going through a faze where I watched Matilda on a regular basis and was pretty obsessed with Mara Wilson at the time. So my dad bought me this movie and we watched it together and I quickly fell in love with Richard Attenborough's Kris Kringle and the way he brings the Christmas spirit to a disillusioned mother and daughter over the holidays. Love it to this day!

Jack Frost, another classic in my house. Again, my dad is the one I watch most of these films with and he was the one who bought me this film as a Christmas gift one year. 

A snowman comes to life? The snowman ends up being Charlie's  dad come back to spend one last Christmas with his son after a horrible accident claims his life the year before? Yep sounds kinda cheezy but it's really so good. I watch this one without fail every year and always cry at the end. Plus it stars Michael Keaton - really isn't that reason enough to watch it?!

I think everyone loves this film! Love Actually is awesome and has a stellar cast and brings a smile to my face every time I watch it. I think I wait all year to be able to pop this one in again and tend to get the urge to watch it as soon as December hits. I try to hold off as long as possible and this year I've been pretty good. I think it'll end up being a Christmas eve treat :) Honestly, who doesn't love this film?? You get to watch Hugh Grant and Colin Firth and the ever gorgeous and Irish Liam Neeson all on one screen. Then there's the fun of discussing with friends and family which story you love best. 

 This film is a special one for my, A Christmas Story will forever remind me of my dad. He always brings up this movie without fail every year and it always makes us double over in laughter whenever he does an impression of the famous line in the film. When Ralphie Parker decides all he wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB Gun, he is told again and again as he tries various schemes to get his gift that the gun is too dangerous. "You'll shoot your eye out!" everyone insists, but Ralphie is desperate and so the film continues until Christmas morning when Ralphie opens his gifts to find the prized BB gun among his new toys. Predictably the first time he tries to use the gun, one of the bullets ricochets and catches him in the eye. It's a very cute and funny film, classic 80's. I don't know if it's because my dad and I have laughed over this film so many times or if it's because he brings it up each Christmas, but little Ralphie now reminds me of my dad - in the best possible way :)

So, these are the favourites. I'm sure I could go on and on, but I stuck with the five I remember the fondest.

What films have become the tradition in your homes each year?

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and Merry Christmas or as they say here in Ireland, Nollaig Shona Duit.

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