Last year, my dad gave me a book. Now, I use the term “gave me” loosely when in all reality, he probably intended to lend it to me, and I have yet to return it. Sorry, dad! The book in question, Christmas in the Movies, written by Jeremy Arnold, captures the nostalgia of many holiday classics while detailing backstories behind the creation and production of each one. The book catalogs well-known favorites while introducing the reader to a list of others that have flown under the radar, making it an excellent gift for the classic movie lover.
With Christmas break around the corner, I know there will be a little more free time on our schedule, allowing for curling up with a classic Christmas movie or two. I cannot wait to introduce these to our kids. However, I want to add an extra element to these classics and combine them with activities that get us out of the house and moving. Maybe you feel the same way? If so, you will appreciate my list.
Here are my top 5 Christmas movies pulled from Christmas in the Movies with accompanying activities to add a touch of magic to your holiday calendar.
Christmas Classics to Revisit
The Bishop’s Wife– Cary Grant plays a playful angel named Dudley, sent to earth to help a bishop redefine his priorities and regain his focus in the charming way that only Cary Grant can.
Activity– Take a cue from the movie, grab the family, and spend an evening ice skating.
Meet Me in St. Louis– Although this classic revolves around a year in the life of the Smith family, for me, Judy Garland’s singing of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” propels it into the classic holiday category. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch as the Smith family tries to navigate life on the verge of change in 1903 St. Louis.
Activity– If you can, build a village of snowpeople like “Tootie” Smith did in the movie. Order a snowman kit and start building if you live in a warmer climate. No snow is required.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas–Begin the holiday revisiting the 1966 version of Dr. Seuss’ classic revolving around our favorite green curmudgeon determined to steal the Christmas joy from the village of Whoville.
Activity– Make Grinch cookies. Watch below as Rea & Dad recreate this Grinch Cookie Recipe from Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog. These cookies are a simple and delicious treat to dip in hot chocolate.
Miracle on 34th Street– Miracle on 34th Street was my first introduction to a young Natalie Wood. I watched the black-and-white version as she tugged on Edmund Gwenn’s beard and later negotiated with him to bring her a dream house. Years later, I left my purist ways and watched in color as they tried Santa in a court of law. This updated rewatch started a holiday tradition at my home. Each year, I visit Macy’s to buy an ornament. I now have enough to fill an entire tree!
Activity- Plan a trip to the mall to visit Santa. While you are there, swing by Macy’s and pick out an ornament for your tree.
Little Women–Long before Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, and Kirsten Dunst played the role of the March sisters in 1994; Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh, and June Allyson donned the roles in 1949. Although several renditions of the classic story are available, dating back to 1917, I keep venturing back to Taylor’s version. My grandmother owned a VHS copy I watched, and to me, Christmas isn’t complete until I’ve cried over Beth and become angry over Laurie.
Activity- Bundle up and Go Christmas Caroling. Find a neighbor who needs a little cheering, or make a plan to visit a long-term care facility. Note: Make sure to call to check on policies first.