Saturday, November 17, 2007

I love this time of year

I really love this time of year.

I know a lot of people complain that stores start playing holiday music too far in advance, but I cannot get enough of it and feel that the holidays come and go much too quickly. Why shouldn't we all stretch out this magical season as far as we possibly can?

Now, I am a complete sap, and during the holidays, I am about ten times worse. I become incredibly sentimental and weepy. I'm not sure when I started getting this bad, I think it happened with the first Christmas after my dad died. In fact, just before, I found myself getting teary over a Crest White Strips commercial, about going home for the holidays and seeing your family and how important it is that your teeth look really white. (Because your relatives clearly won't love you if your teeth are yellowing.)

Hallmark holiday commercials are especially torturous.

There was once this old Hallmark commercial with the couple from Father of the Bride. The wife is going through her ornaments going, "This is the one that my grandma gave me when I was six...and this is from my first dance recital...and this..." (she gets all choked-up and stops.) Her husband says, "And this is the one that always makes you cry." He hugs her. I lose it.

In another, a little boy is doing a presentation about his life for school. He uses Christmas ornaments to tell the story...a dog, a car, etc. He finishes, and the teacher realizes he hasn't mentioned the last ornament. "Billy (or Tommy or Joey or Johnny or whatever his name is), what's that ornament?" Billy (or Tommy or Joey or Johnny or whatever his name is) shows the ornament, a star, and says, "That's because my mom says I'm the light of her life."

I lose it. LOSE IT.

And do not get me STARTED on that Hannukah card commercial, when Grandpa is telling the children about when he came over to America and was an orphan and celebrated the holidays with a nice family he met and was friends with the son. But then, they got to America and, "I never heard from him again."

Somebody hands Grandpa a card.

Grandpa opens it.

"Grandpa...what does the card say?"

Grandpa: It says I'm going to have to change the end of that story...

My goodness.

Not to mention, that very classic Folgers coffee commercial when Peter comes home for Christmas, and his little sister wakes up and sees him. He shushes her, and then they make coffee and it wakes the rest of the family up. Mom goes, "PETER! You came HOME!"

This commercial comes on every year...probably for my entire LIFE...and I still cry.

The holidays really ARE an emotionally draining time for some (or, at least, for me).

Which is why we (I) need to rely on classic cheesy dorky movies that I can make fun of and laugh. (And occasionally cry.)

Okay, there are some truly great films made for the holidays (It's a Wonderful Life and A Miracle on 34th Street, two of my all-time favorite movie, holidays or not!) but there are also some wonderfully cheesy movies that I love watching every year.

Such as Santa Who?

It is REALLY stupid. Santa Claus has amnesia. But I will watch it again when Lifetime shows it this year.

Also, the hero in this movie, Steven Eckholdt, was also in another Christmas movie about memory loss...Comfort and Joy, ( playing opposite Nancy McKeon of Facts of Life fame.

Stephen also starred in this one... Which, ODDLY ENOUGH, I HAVE NEVER SEEN! I will be on the look-out for it this year.

He is truly the King of Lifetime Christmas movies, and I greatly admire him.

Some other of my favorites...

The Night They Saved Christmas-

The North Pole is being blown-up! Can Jacklyn Smith and her kids save it in time for Christmas? (Bet they will.)

It Nearly Wasn't Christmas-
a little girl writes to Santa and asks him to bring her Daddy home for Christmas...she THINKS he is a singing sensation out in LA...he is really playing the piano in shopping malls. (You're probably upset that I just gave you the entire plot and ending of the movie, but I can assure you taht there is so much more to it!) One of the Osmond brothers plays Dad.

Susan Lucci at her heartbreaking best as Elizabeth Scrooge...Honestly, I remember watching this the first year it aired and going, "Oh, I think Susan is finally getting an Emmy!"

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street-
Big Bird camps out on the roof to find out how Santa Claus gets down the chimeny, while Bert and Ernie find themselves in a Gift of the Magi scenario when Ernie sells his Rubber Ducky to buy Bert a cigar case for his paperclip collection...and Bert sells his paperclip collection to buy Ernie a soapdish for his Rubber Ducky. (Don't worry...Mr. Hooper saves the day. Doesn't Mr. Hooper ALWAYS saves the day, though?!) I dare you not to cry during Bert and Ernie's lovely rendition of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

Harry Connick, Jr.'s first Christmas special-includes the cutest (and weirdest) skit in the world in which Harry plays a janitor backstage at a Broadway show on Christmas Eve. Carol Burnett plays the star of the show, and the two bond over being lonely during the holidays. They sing "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" , dance a little, then Carol Burnett disappears. It is heartbreaking. (Plus, Harry Connick, Jr. is most likely one of the most talented and charming and wonderful and gorgeous human beings currently in existance.)

Little House on the Prairie-I grew up on this show. I continue to love this show. There are three Little House Christmas specials which stand out. There's the one when Laura sells her horse to buy Ma a new stove for Christmas. Another when everybody gets snowed in on Christmas Eve and they all remember their favorite holidays...and, of course, the one where Laura's baby is kidnapped by a deranged woman and they find her on Christmas Eve. (Of course they would. Why wouldn't they?)

A Very Brady Christmas-
never fails to make me laugh...Mr. Brady gets trapped under a fallen building and the gang sings "O Come All Ye Faithful" while waiting for him to be rescued.

A Muppet Family Christmas-
Kermit, Miss Piggy and their friends spend the holidays with Fozzie's Grandma. The party is crashed by the Sesame Street gang! There won't be a dry eye in the house when Jim Hensen makes a cameo at the end. Not a dry eye! "Don't slip on the icy patch!!!"

A Bing Crosby Family Christmas-my dad and I used to watch this, but I don't think it's been on TV in a while. I liked all the random little skits with his family.

Nester the Long-Eared Donkey-
this movie should be illegal.

The Muppet Christmas Carol-
Featuring Kermit's nephew Robin as Tiny Tim. Some great music, too. "The love is gone...the looooooooooooove is goooooooooooooooone."

Eloise at Christmastime-yes, I own this DVD... One of Broadway's most talented young actors, Gavin Creel, plays Bill the Singing Waiter in this movie, and dances around on the piano with his old love singing "Together" from Gypsy. Plus, little Eloise is the best. I want to have a kid like her some day.

I love this time of year.


Diana Rissetto