Christmas is without a doubt one of my favorite times. It was always filled with wonderful childhood memories and family traditions. I love to decorate the Christmas tree and house. I love singing the Christmas carols and gathering with friends to eat cookies and watch Christmas movies. Also a part of that tradition were the Christmas stories. Each of us Damsels would love to share with you one of our favorite Christmas books or movies from our childhood.
Book: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
The Grinch, with his heart “two sizes to small,” is one of my favorite characters, which is big praise for him indeed. Not only is the Grinch high on my “great characters list” but the book itself has also always been one of my favorites—Christmas or not. One of the things I love most about this story is its message, which is something I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I’ve gotten older. Too often we forget the meaning of Christmas, and the Grinch reminds us in an entertaining way that Christmas isn’t just about receiving but also about giving and sharing. I should mention that A Christmas Carol comes pretty close to topping the Grinch as my favorite. (And seeing how they both have the same theme I guess that’s not surprising.)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas was one of the first Christmas books ever read to me and that’s probably why it holds a place dear to my heart. The movie, I admit, helped secure that spot. To this day, every Christmas you’ll hear me shouting out phrases such as “You’re a bad banana, With a greasy black peel!” or “Given the choice between the two of you, I’d take the seasick crocodile!” and my favorite “You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich, With arsenic sauce!”
Story: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
I’ve loved this story for many years, mostly because the ending is such a sweet surprise. It’s the story of a young married couple who are barely making ends meet but each want to buy the other something special for Christmas. Without giving away too much, let’s just say they each sell their only item of value to have the money for a gift, but each get a surprise from the other as a result. Not many of us sacrifice so much to get something for someone we love, yet the sacrifice itself tends to mean the most. In a non-preachy way, that’s what this story so beautifully illustrates.
(Side note: I am also a Grinch-a-holic, though I was first introduced to him through the 1966 cartoon. Christmas just isn’t complete without watching that at least twice, and so my own loving husband bought me the special edition anniversary DVD last year for Christmas. Though it wasn’t a financial sacrifice, it is a test of patience for him each time we watch it, and for that I am thankful. And my personal favorite line is “The three words that best describe you are as follows and I quote: stink, stank, stunk.”)
Movie: White Christmas
I grew up in a family that loved movie musicals. So, of course, at Christmastime every year I watched “White Christmas.” Emilie will be reviewing it on Dec. 21 so I won’t talk about the story line now. It’s a fun movie with lots of great musical numbers. My favorite was the “sisters” song, which I would sing with whichever sister of mine was handy at the time. (I have three.) There’s also some fun—and often silly—dialogue between the characters played by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. And finally, when Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen perform to “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” one word comes to mind: perfection!