Contributed by Jeff Koch, Cultural Analyst
In honor of the season, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite Christmas entertainment, spectacles that always get me in the mood for the holiday season.
12. Mannheim Steamroller (http://shop.mannheimsteamroller.com/): Nobody gives traditional Christmas carols more spectacle, more pomp and circumstance, and more cheesy 80s goodness than Mannheim Steamroller.
11. Elf (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319343/): Will Ferrell doesn’t just make silly, raunchy comedies. Here, he plays a grown man who, convinced since birth he is an Elf, travels to Manhattan to discover the truth about his past. There is something for the whole family.
10. The Nutcracker Ballet: My mother used to take me every year when I was younger. Between the story, the hypnotic music, and graceful and beautiful dancing, it’s a 2 hour escape into magic. Luckily, I’ll be going again in a few weeks.
9. A Christmas Story (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085334/): A modern Christmas classic. TBS usually plays it on a non-stop loop every Christmas. “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
8. How The Grinch Stole Christmas: Dr. Seuss’ wonderful children’s story has been adapted to cartoon and to movie. All are wonderful, but nothing captures the transformation of the Grinch quite like the original.
7. Pop Christmas Songs: I’m not talking about Pop stars remaking Christmas classics. I’m talking about when they write their own. Who could forget Wham’s “Last Christmas”( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3354flS1KJs), or Paul McCartney singing “Wonderful Christmastime” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWuKimtUEas)?
6. Charlie Brown Christmas: Maybe the definitive Christmas TV Cartoon.
5. Love, Actually (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314331/): This movie traces the intersecting lives of several characters from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It might be a bit corny or contrived at times, but it tugs at all the right heartstrings, and it gets you in the mood for the season. Not to mention it has a wonderful soundtrack.
4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097958/): This movie follows the Griswolds on their Christmas vacation. No movie quite captures the humor, anguish, joy, and terror of hosting and spending Christmas with your family, warts and all.
3. It’s A Wonderful Life (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/): Hands down, the definitive Christmas movie.
2. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas (http://www.amazon.com/White-Christmas-Bing-Crosby/dp/B000002QWD/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1260561256&sr=1-1): This album is THE soundtrack of Christmas. Bing sings the classics like only Bing can.
1. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: The most classic of classic Christmas stories. Adapted 100s of times for TV, the big screen, and the stage, no story captures the imagination and sentiment of December 25th quite like this masterpiece. A Christmas without A Christmas Carol is like…well, it’s like Christmas without Santa Claus.