A past piece from December 2008:
I haven’t watched many Christmas movies yet this year; I have watched “Home Alone” and “The Christmas Card”, but there are several others I plan to watch before Christmas gets here, particularly “The Christmas Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Especially I’ll watch “White Christmas”, which is my all -time favorite Christmas movie.
“White Christmas”, though a classic, is regularly panned by the critics, particularly for its storyline, and in most TV programs is given only two stars. It may not be the greatest Christmas movie, but it has great significance for me personally, and I watch it at other times during the year as well.
This is the movie that we watched each year while putting up the Christmas tree, and we particularly enjoyed it because three of the people in the movie were from the Cincinnati area, where I grew up.
Rosemary Clooney was from Maysville, Kentucky, considered part of the greater Cincinnati area. One of the principal dancers was George Chakiris, who was from Norwood, the neighborhood next to ours (he is better known as “Bernardo” in “West Side Story”). Vera-Ellen, the beautiful but very slender dancer who plays Rosemary’s sister in the movie, grew up just a few streets from where I lived when I was in elementary school.
This movie brings back many happy memories, so when I grew up and left home at age 19 I continued to make a point of watching it each year. At one point, the movie was a lifeline for me; I was going through a bitter divorce and sleeping little at that time. I remember sitting on the couch huddled under my robe with my knees drawn up under my chin, watching “White Christmas” in the middle of the night, trying to gain some comfort and make sense of what was going on in my life. I cried like a baby while watching the ending, where the entire room erupts with good tidings and fellow feeling, wanting to be a part of a place where peace and harmony existed, even if only created by Hollywood scriptwriters.
This has been a difficult year in many ways for me and my family, and watching a movie will not solve any of our problems. But I’m counting on “White Christmas” to take me to a place I would like to be for just a little while, as it has for as long as I can remember.
I hope that at least one of the wonderful Christmas movies out there will move everyone’s heart this Christmas.
Postscript: Again, this is from late 2008, written just a few months before I learned I would be getting a divorce and began planning my subsequent move to Portland. I’m not unhappy this year and am looking forward to a great 2014, and I will still enjoy watching “White Christmas” this season!