Pick for Christmas Flick – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
I don’t watch It’s a Wonderful Life every year. There’s no longstanding, well-established Christmas tradition with Jimmy Stewart and company. A sit-down, ritual revisit with this film isn’t required, because I’ve always carried the message in my heart. In fact, it has been several years (6 or more I’d wager) since I last watched It’s a Wonderful Life. BUT I bet I could still recite it word for word. Some films simply arrest and enrapture your tender, feel-good bits and repose ready on standby for an easy repeat performance in your mind. George Bailey reminds us that life is good and that we should all pause to ponder the influence we’ve had on others. When I die, as my mind unravels and wipes my drive—I believe this film will play from my memories, and in my final, dramatic sigh everyone will know that I appreciated and knew, without doubt, that I had a wonderful life.
Casting My Vote for Most Endearing Fictional Christmas Character
Hand over the silver and gold glitter ribbon, because this one’s a tie. Yeah-yeah, I know.
Patch the Elf and Clarice the Reindeer certainly have reserved childhood seats between the quick paced thumps of my timely ticker—Patch for an endless imagination and Clarice for celebrating differences. Both were clearly artists.
Patch and Clarice maintained and glowed at the possibilities delivered in a new day. They were free-spirited, kind, and resourceful—and for those attributes and beyond, they are awarded everlasting awe and reverence from me.
Favorite Christmas Song—Band Aid (1984) “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
“In our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy. Throw your arms around the world.”
Everyone should have their basic needs met, and as members of the human race, I believe we have an obligation to ensure that we all do.
As a child I did my share of doing without, and I grieve to know that so many still do. Presently, I can’t remember exactly what that felt like or the legitimate emptiness of hunger, but in my darkest hours I tried to curb my anger by maintaining a conceptual awareness that there may be others who have it worse than I did. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” helped me with that awareness.
I play this song year round, because it touches my heart and means something profound and genuine to me. In my soul, this song has always echoed far outside of the realm of mortal, cheery Christmas tune-dom (and I do like those as well). “Do They Know…” carries a yearlong reminder to give, to open and extend my hand, to take care of others, and to love. And I believe that sentiment probably explains why I often disregard the criticism and cynicism pertaining to the lyrics, the arguments over star (staying) power, the celebrity arrogance, the condescending western-centric viewpoint, to fundraisers in general, and the notion that OUR people HERE need more assistance. All of these things may have meaning and merit (I’m not here to condemn feelings), but for me the point has always been this… “There’s a world outside your window” … a world of pain and sadness in your backyard, outside of your own pain and sadness—and the same could be said for happiness and merriment. And these should be the things that connect us all. Yes, I’m saying your concern… your celebration… is mine.
Back to the original Band Aid though and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”…
Worry, fear, sorrow, hurt—basic needs not being met—these things are not a competition. This song is a reminder that we have a responsibility to each other (spanning colors, borders, religions, genders, sexual preferences, occupations…) to care and to make sure everyone has what they need. We do owe each other that.
“Feed the world. Let them know…” not only at Christmas time, but all the time—that kindness, empathy, and love exist.
Alas, my favorite Christmas song…
Released on November 28, 1984 – Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”