Friday Favorites: Christmas Edition

Dec 7, 2012 |

Hooray for Christmas!

As happens every year, my joy is tinged with panic. There’s the panic of shopping lists and travel plans, yes, but there’s also the fear that I’ll let the season slip by without savoring every moment. With that in mind, I’d like to use this space to dwell on some favorite things and hopefully get your input, as well.

Christmas Music
I’ve never been a fan of the pop star Christmas albums, or anything too
contemporary (with the exception of Loreena McKennit or Vince Guaraldi, if you can even call the latter contemporary). I am more drawn to Rennaissance and Baroque music, or stuff that approximates them. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been listening to:

Mistletoe and Wine from Mediaeval Baebes (This is sort of a contemporary/Medieval hybrid, right?)
The Baroque Christmas Album
Baroque Christmas Masques
Renaissance Holiday, from Mannheim Steamroller (but not REALLY Mannheim, according to reviews?)

As mentioned above, I also love Charlie Brown Christmas, and many years ago when I worked for an indie bookstore in Milwaukee, WI (the now defunct Audubon Court Books), I bought Noel! by the Griffith-Hanser Duo (which isn’t available anymore? Wah.). So I’m wondering . . . do you have any recommendations for me?

Christmas Movies
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe–the book and movie always put me in the Christmas mood!
The Holiday–the first time I saw this one, I scoffed a little at its sentimentality. What a jerk! I adore it now. (Though I still have to look away when Jude Law is crying at the end.)
You’ve Got Mail–not exactly a Christmas movie, but the holiday bits are nice, aren’t they?

What am I missing? I’m not a huge fan of It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or even A Christmas Story. I respect them as beloved classics, but I never personally connected with them. I know some of you would mention Love Actually, but the Emma Thompson/Alan Rickman story is unbearable for me. And I prefer stories with a more restricted cast, anyway.

ETA: Here’s an exhaustive “Roundup” of Holiday movies! I didn’t know In Bruges had anything to do with Christmas–I’m not a huge Colin Farrell fan, but Bruges is one of my favorite cities, so perhaps I should check this out? Oh, and I forgot all about Bridget Jones’ Diary! Love that one. And The Family Stone. I might be ready to watch The Dead again, too. What a great list!

Christmas Books
Other than the aforementioned The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I find myself at a loss. Little Women? Sort of Christmassy. I should probably read A Christmas Carol. (Performing in the play a 100 times is not the same thing.) Actually, the novel I’m reading now–the fabulous Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz–feels Christmassy because of its Dickensian orphans and villains. But what books am I forgetting? Anyone have Christmas related novels to recommend? Particularly COZY MYSTERIES? (Oooh, look at this! Seems like I’ve read Rhys Bowen before, but my memory is foggy . . .)

Next week: Christmas tea and baked goodies!

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