Warmest Wishes: Sharing in the holiday spirit

Staff picks favorite Christmas season movies

Hollywood has made numerous forays into the realm of Christmas cheer over the years. Some of those movies and television programs have achieved an almost iconic status and watching them has become an annual holiday tradition for many.

Here’s a list of favorite Christmas movies and TV shows offered by some of the newsroom staff of The Messenger.

Jane Curtis, editor

1. “White Christmas,” with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen. Anyone with even a touch of nostalgia for a story of troops wanting to do something good for their beloved commander will enjoy this. Besides, you get to hear Crosby sing the title song, “White Christmas.”

2. “Meet Me In St. Louis,” featuring Judy Garland. OK, so this is not literally a Christmas movie, but its storyline is tethered to every significant holiday leading up to, and including, Christmas. It ends with a happy holiday twist, and who doesn’t love a happy holiday twist? Bonuses include the warm recreation of a late Victorian-era St. Louis family lifestyle in — where else? — St. Louis, Garland’s signature solos, including the title song, and the just-on-the-silly-side-of-creepy little sister, Tootie.

3. “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, for all the obvious reasons, though it’s painful to watch George Bailey lose his dreams in every watching, despite the welcome happy ending. And how about Lionel Barrymore as the loathesome Mr. Potter? And Clarence, the bumbling angel? I rest my case.

4. “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” with Burl Ives. Burl Ives is probably the best part of this, though the Abomidable Snowman takes a close second.

5. “Holiday Inn,” with Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and Virginia Dale, introduced the song “White Christmas” in this story that hangs its hat on seasonal good times, each of which have a particular holiday theme. It’s not as good a movie as “White Christmas,” but it does introduce Irving Berlin’s popular song.

6. “Steele Magnolias.” Adding this as a bonus, not necessarily because it is a Christmas movie, because it isn’t, and yet its story again pivots on holidays, particularly the bittersweet moment when the birth of a child is announced during a merry Christmas party and it is that birth that will change every character’s world.

Bill Shea, city editor

1. “A Christmas Carol,” (the version starring George C. Scott as Ebeneezer Scrooge)

2. “The Polar Express”

3. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

4. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

5. “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” (original animated version)

Eric Pratt, sports editor

1. “It’s a Wonderful Life”

2. “Family Man”

3. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

4. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

5. “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”

Joe Sutter, reporter

1. “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”

2. “Elf”

3. “Nightmare Before Christmas”

4. “It’s a Wonderful Life”

5. “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe”

Peter Kaspari, reporter

1. “Home Alone”

2. “A Christmas Story”

3. “It’s a Wonderful Life”

4. “Merry Christmas Mr. Bean”

5. “Arthur Christmas”

Chad Thompson, reporter

1. “A Flintstone Christmas”

2. “The Little Drummer Boy”

3. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

4. “The Polar Express”

5. “Frosty the Snowman”

Hans Madsen, reporter/chief photographer

1. “The Muppets Christmas Carol”

2. “It’s a Wonderful Life”

3. “Miracle on 34th Street”

4. “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”

5. “A Christmas Story”

Carol Foltz, paginator

1. “Elf”

2. “The Santa Clause”

3. “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe”

4. “Scrooged”

5. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (animated)

Marsha Hickey, newsroom clerk

1. “It’s a Wonderful Life”

2. “Home Alone”

3. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

4. “A Christmas Story”

5. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Rhonda Dyer, newsroom clerk/paginator

1. “Scrooged”

2. “Elf”

3. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (original)

4. “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”

5. “Home Alone”

Anita Gribble, newsroom clerk/paginator

1. “Die Hard”

2. “The Elf Who Didn’t Believe”

3. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

4. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

5. “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”

Jean Dawson, Lifestyle paginator

1. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

2. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

3. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

4. “A Chipmunk Christmas”

5. “Home Alone” (original)