True story: A few years ago, Lindy and I were running a half-marathon and having a tough time of it. (Everyone has good days and bad. This was one of the latter.) We needed a burst of energy, so naturally we started talking about Christmas carols -- which were our favorites, what versions we liked best, and so forth. We got through a good 45 minutes of running like this. When the going gets tough, the tough draw strength from holiday cheer.
Given our mutual love of holidays, movies, and knitting, it was only a matter of time before we teamed up for Knitflix: Holiday movie edition (i.e., Movies to Watch while Knitting as Fast as your Fingers can Fly to Finish that Gift before Christmas).
Here's the truth: this movie is not for everyone. In fact, my brother once watched it at my recommendation and then sent me a text that said: "It's like if Love Actually was a bummer." It's true that Noel, like Love Actually, involves many seemingly unrelated plot lines that connect in surprising ways. Also true, Noel is significantly less feel-good and festive, but there's something about the flawed characters and the bleak, sometimes quiet desperation of their circumstances that rings true to me. It's a messier side of Christmas - a story about navigating a season of merry brightness in the midst of loneliness or grief or fear - a perspective we can probably all relate to on some level.
Also, any movie that sells me Alan Arkin and Paul Walker as a plausible romantic couple? I am here for that. Another thing I'm here for: Daniel Sunjata in anything. Merry Christmas, everyone.
*True. Although, it hard. A Muppet Family Christmas c. 1987 is so good too!
Dawn: I'm going to add to Lindy's list: I love watching the West Wing holiday episodes. In Excelsis Deo, from Season 1, is a particular standout.
Lindy: All I Want for Christmas
In a nutshell, All I Want For Christmas is the story of two New York kids trying to get their estranged parents back together Parent-Trap-style in time for Christmas morning. My siblings and I loved this movie as kids, and we still laugh when we watch it now as grown adults. It's hard not to be amused by a young Ethan Embry locking his stepfather in an ice cream truck bound for New Jersey on Christmas Eve. Also, toward the end, Lauren Bacall sings a duet of "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Thora Birch in front of a giant Christmas tree. Frankly, I don't know what else I need in my life.
Dawn: The Snowman
Full disclosure: I wasn't introduced to this movie until I was an adult, but it is a kids movie, so I'm going to say it counts. The music is incredibly beautiful. It's just right for a calm moment with cocoa on Christmas eve.
Lindy: Random aside - when I was in the fifth grade, we did a weird sort of interpretive dance to the soundtrack of The Snowman as a part of our school's Christmas Pageant. In my memory, the whole thing mostly involved us all wearing pillow cases and pretending to fly around the gymnasium. It's a real testament to the beauty and sweetness of this movie that I still enjoy watching it every year in spite of that childhood embarrassment. Also recommended: Father Christmas (another holiday gem from Raymond Briggs about what Santa Claus gets up to in the off season).
Dawn: I am so psyched to get started on these...