Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Favorites: Christmas Edition

Hooray for Christmas!

As happens every year, my joy is tinged with panic. There's the panic of shopping lists and travel plans, yes, but there's also the fear that I'll let the season slip by without savoring every moment. With that in mind, I'd like to use this space to dwell on some favorite things and hopefully get your input, as well.

Christmas Music
I've never been a fan of the pop star Christmas albums, or anything too
contemporary (with the exception of Loreena McKennit or Vince Guaraldi, if you can even call the latter contemporary). I am more drawn to Rennaissance and Baroque music, or stuff that approximates them. Here's a sampling of what I've been listening to:

Mistletoe and Wine from Mediaeval Baebes (This is sort of a contemporary/Medieval hybrid, right?)
The Baroque Christmas Album
Baroque Christmas Masques
Renaissance Holiday, from Mannheim Steamroller (but not REALLY Mannheim, according to reviews?)

As mentioned above, I also love Charlie Brown Christmas, and many years ago when I worked for an indie bookstore in Milwaukee, WI (the now defunct Audubon Court Books), I bought Noel! by the Griffith-Hanser Duo (which isn't available anymore? Wah.). So I'm wondering . . . do you have any recommendations for me?

Christmas Movies
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe--the book and movie always put me in the Christmas mood!
The Holiday--the first time I saw this one, I scoffed a little at its sentimentality. What a jerk! I adore it now. (Though I still have to look away when Jude Law is crying at the end.)
You've Got Mail--not exactly a Christmas movie, but the holiday bits are nice, aren't they?

What am I missing? I'm not a huge fan of It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or even A Christmas Story. I respect them as beloved classics, but I never personally connected with them. I know some of you would mention Love Actually, but the Emma Thompson/Alan Rickman story is unbearable for me. And I prefer stories with a more restricted cast, anyway.

ETA: Here's an exhaustive "Roundup" of Holiday movies! I didn't know In Bruges had anything to do with Christmas--I'm not a huge Colin Farrell fan, but Bruges is one of my favorite cities, so perhaps I should check this out? Oh, and I forgot all about Bridget Jones' Diary! Love that one. And The Family Stone. I might be ready to watch The Dead again, too. What a great list!

Christmas Books
Other than the aforementioned The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I find myself at a loss. Little Women? Sort of Christmassy. I should probably read A Christmas Carol. (Performing in the play a 100 times is not the same thing.) Actually, the novel I'm reading now--the fabulous Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz--feels Christmassy because of its Dickensian orphans and villains. But what books am I forgetting? Anyone have Christmas related novels to recommend? Particularly COZY MYSTERIES? (Oooh, look at this! Seems like I've read Rhys Bowen before, but my memory is foggy . . .)

Next week: Christmas tea and baked goodies!

[Cross-posted to Livejournal]


  1. "Murder for Christmas" by Agatha Christie :-)

    1. Thank you! I will track that down. And I'm also thinking of getting HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS on audio for our long drive to Tennessee. Yay!

    2. "Murder for Christmas" and "Hercule Poirot's Christmas" are alternate titles for the same book!

    3. Ah, I got mixed up when I saw this. So "Murder for Christmas" is a short story?

    4. Nope, it's a full-length novel.

  2. Among my favorites:
    Book - THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER Read this to Kristin when she was little. Found it stored in the garage the other day and rescued it. Can't wait to read it to Brooks in a few years. LOL and poignant moments. "Hey! Unto you a child is born!"
    AN ANGEL'S NOEL Portrayed on Flute and Guitar - The Ware/
    Patterson Duo
    Movies - A CHRISTMAS CAROL - the 1980-something one with George C.
    Scott; back in the 80's I showed it to my students and in
    one of the classes, they applauded when it was over! Also,
    THE MIGHTY has a sad ending, but it has a very touching
    Christmas scene in it.

    1. Another friend recommended BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, too. I must find that one.
      And I just bought AN ANGEL'S NOEL from iTunes. Very lovely -- thanks for the recommendation!

      Oh, the George C. Scott version is my favorite! It's the one I enjoyed when I was in high school. YAY! Thanks so much, Dee Dee.

  3. with my son, it's a constant repeat of ELF and THE POLAR EXPRESS on the movie track. for music, sufjan stevens puts out a different christmas album every year. he's so difficult to classify sometimes. you either like him or you don't. the husband loves him. we also play the heck out of the charlie brown christmas album.

    1. I think I finally need to break down and see ELF.

      THE POLAR EXPRESS, on the other hand, frightens me. Something about the animation puts me off. But that's just the trailer -- maybe it would be different if I watched the actual movie?

  4. I was wondering if you know where that photo came form?