Which movie is your Christmas favorite?
Joyce Minor | Highlands TodayMovies have become an integral part of American culture, and there is no time when that seems truer than at Christmas. Hollywood has been pulling our heartstrings and tickling our funny bones with Christmas schmaltz and slapstick since as far back as anyone can remember.
Published: December 23, 2012
Published: December 23, 2012
Kevin Marsh, of Avon Park, said his wife and her sister "can't let a year pass without seeing 'The Muppet Christmas Carol.'"
"Michael Caine plays it straight but the message of the story comes through the Muppet silliness," he said.
Cary Pigman, newly elected state representative, voted for "A Christmas Story," "about the boy and his Red Rider BB gun. I love that one."
LaTosha Harnage agrees. She watches the marathon showing of "A Christmas Story" in her Sebring home. "My husband and I watch every year, all day, till it goes off."
Like many in Highlands County, Harnage says the family has built a strong tradition around their special movie.
"My husband and his family have watched it since he can remember, and when we have a family I plan on keeping that tradition every year whether we are at our house or his mom's."
County Commissioner Jim Brooks weighed in with a similar comment. "I've always been a fan of 'A Christmas Story.'" I can relate to many things in the movie with my childhood experiences growing up in the '50s and '60s. My son always liked watching it too."
When asked what Christmas movie she absolutely has to see, Donna Moss Jackson said: "'It's a Wonderful Life.' I cry every year."
For Sue Hinkley, of Sebring, "It just isn't Christmas without 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.' Every year it's funny all over again."
Highlands County Commissioner Greg Harris agrees: "'Christmas Vacation,' with Chevy Chase; it's a modern day Christmas classic."
Of course, some folks can't decide on their favorite Christmas movie and seem to discover a new one every few years.
County Commissioner Don Elwell said, "I love several Christmas movies, but my current favorite is "Elf," a new 'classic.' 'Elf' mixes a truly touching story with a lot of great humor, so both young and old can thoroughly enjoy sitting around watching it on TV. What more could you really ask for during the holidays?"
The way folks watch their Christmas movies also varies. Some watch on network television, some via rented DVDs and some have their own purchased copies. For many, the mode changes over time.
Marsh put it this way: "I had to order the video. They (his wife and sister-in-law) insisted for years on watching the VHS tape, because that had scenes not included from the theatrical release. After our last VCR died, they had to agree to get the DVD. Fortunately, it includes both versions of the movie. Now we watch the re-mastered version in widescreen and jump to the theatrical release to catch the deleted musical number."
Most people indicated they somehow make an event of watching their Christmas movie, sharing the experience with family or friends.
Marsh added, "Last Thursday I got the Blu-ray of 'White Christmas.' It looked beautiful with restored color and widescreen format. Tonight we will be watching 'Christmas in Connecticut,' which I've never seen."
Finally, several people we talked to simply said their favorites are home movies of Christmases past. One mall shopper who wouldn't give her name added, "Family, friends and making memories. That's what Christmas is all about."
Top 18 Christmas Movies
We took a fun, but very unscientific, poll of 57 local residents
Here are Highlands County's favorites:
1. A Christmas Story - 1983, Peter Billingsley and Darren McGavin (9 votes)
2. Miracle on 34th Street - 1947, Edmund Gwenn and Maureen O'Hara (8 votes)
3-4. Tie: It's a Wonderful Life - 1946, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed (7 votes)
White Christmas - 1954, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye (7 votes)
5. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - 1989, Chevy Chase (5 votes)
6-7. Tie: The Polar Express - 2004, animated with voice of Tom Hanks (3 votes)
The Muppet Christmas Carol - 1992, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy (3 votes)
8-11. Tie: The Nativity Story - 2006, Keisha Castle-Hughes (2 votes)
A Charlie Brown Christmas - 1965, animated (2 votes)
Home Alone - 1990, Macaulay Culkin (2 votes)
Home movies - Christmas past, family and friends (2 votes)
12-18. Tie: Scrooge - 1999, Albert Finney (1 vote)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - 1966, animated (1 vote)
Jingle All the Way - 1996, Arnold Schwarzenegger (1 vote)
Ernest Saves Christmas - 1988, Jim Varney (1 vote)
Prancer - 1989, Sam Elliott (1 vote)
The Santa Clause - 1994, Tim Allen (1vote)
The Christmas Shoes - 2002, Rob Lowe (1 vote)