When I was growing up, the holidays meant no school, which gave me the chance to curl up on the couch in a robe and fuzzy socks while drinking hot chocolate from a red thermos. Everyone gathered at home, and if we were lucky, there was snow falling outside, and we’d usually have one movie playing: “A Christmas Story.”
Scenes from the movie became so familiar it was as if they had happened in real life. When Ralphie almost shoots his eye out. The decoder telling him to be sure to drink his Ovaltine. And the other kid who, on a triple-dog-dare, sticks his tongue to the frozen flagpole. I had watched the movie so many times.
Other traditions took over as I got older. When I was in college, I’d come home for Thanksgiving break and flip on Jodie Foster’s “Home for the Holidays” while sipping a peppermint mocha. In the early 2000s, I spent every Christmas waiting in line at the theater with friends for Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy; when “The Hobbit” movies came out about a decade later, I looked forward to sharing in an adventure with Mithrandir each December.
I’m a wife and mother now, and I hope my son will find his own treasured films and meaningful personal rituals. Maybe he’ll take to the Charlie Brown holiday specials this year. Or maybe he’ll continue to worship “The Polar Express,” turning the pages of the hardcover book in his lap as he watches the snowy scenes unfold. Images like this burn into my memory more than any still, scene or set from a movie.
For help in discovering new favorites, I turn to you, reader: Is there a movie that you’ve watched every year, alone or with loved ones, as part of a holiday tradition? What movie experiences during the holidays are lasting memories?
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