A few weeks ago, Elizabeth mentioned she’d been fighting a winter bug and spending time snuggled up under blankets, tissues close at hand. Somehow, her bug has made its way across the country and infested Chez Hunter. I spent most of Friday night and Saturday under my own blankets with tissues, hot tea, and sympathetic cats close at hand. And if watching TV when sick is a time-tested tradition, it’s an absolute necessity during the holiday TV movie season.
Two of the movies we love to watch during the holidays are Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. But those are for healthier, happier, eggnog and rum-fueled times, at least in our house. For my sickbed viewing, I watched made-for-TV movies. You know the ones. There’s usually a girl in trouble or suffering or trying to advance her career, and a boy of some sort causing conflict (or sometimes just trouble) against the backdrop of snow-covered streets, Christmas tree lots, and ubiquitous carolers. (I have never seen actual carolers in real life, but if these TV movies are to be believed, my town is the only town in America without them because they are EVERYWHERE.) Sadly, as I discovered on my multi-hour binge of these holiday rom-coms, there is very little ‘com’ and even less ‘rom’ in many of them.
On Sunday, I had out-of-state family obligations, and while on our long drive, which included the seasonally-required holiday soundtrack, I had fun thinking about the movies that could made from the stories told in so many of my favorite holiday songs. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started as a story and became a song (and then became a claymation TV special), but I think at least a few more modern Christmas songs deserve to be turned into movies.
Elf’s Lament by the Barenaked Ladies. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard this song on the radio, but it’s on a really fun holiday album from BNL (Barenaked for the Holidays, of course). You know about Santa and his reindeer and his ever-cheerful elves, like Buddy from Elf. But is everything at the North Pole really as rosy as it seems? Our hero in this story is the elven Norma Rae. And he has a message for that union-busting Santa. The old guy in his red suit may thunder, but if he blunders, he may wonder where the toys went. Will our hero’s fight for an elf union result in victory for his brethren or will it end in a Christmas disaster felt ’round the world?
Last Christmas by Wham!. This is an all-time favorite around our house, but I must warn you, we are partial to the original. No remakes allowed (or we’ll sic disgruntled elves on you). It’s a classic story of heartbreak at Christmas time. Last Christmas, our hero gave his heart to his beloved, and the very next day, his beloved gave it away. Worst re-gifting faux pas ever! This year, to save himself from tears, our hero will give his heart to someone special. But will he get his happily-ever-after this time, or spend another Christmas in heartbreak hotel?
Snoopy’s Christmas by the Royal Guardsmen. I have loved this song dearly since I was a very small child. Yes, this song was inspired by the cartoon beagle. But think about the possibilities. Our setting: the 19-teens, near the German border. It’s a cold, clear Christmas night when WWI fighter pilot Snoopy takes to the sky to pursue his arch-nemesis, the German ‘bloody Red Baron’. Our villain quickly gets the upper hand and forces our hero to land behind enemy lines. This could be the end for our hero, but the villain has a change of heart and offers a holiday toast instead. This sweeping wartime saga will keep you on the edge of your seat as you try decide: was it really the Christmas bells from the village below that kept the Red Baron from shooting?
Perhaps next year we’ll have to schedule a blog Christmas movie watch party to dissect some made-for-TV rom-coms and delve into what the heck sends some of these stories off the rails. In the meantime, what holiday stories – movies, TV shows, or even songs! – are keeping you toasty warm and happy this time of year?