Tag Archive for: Holiday Movies

Holiday Story Traditions

by Paula Gail Benson

Stories have always been part
of the holiday season. Whether from reality, like the newspaper response to
Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter from the editor of New York Sun (often called “Yes,
Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”); or Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from
Saint Nicholas,” also known by its first line “T’was the Night Before
Christmas;” or Charles Dickens’ frequently presented in different contexts
A Christmas Carol; or movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, and Elf.
They have all found their way into our hearts so that we long to rehear them or rewatch them during this time of the year.

1947 Version

One of my favorite stories is
Miracle on 34th Street. When
I first saw the 1947 version with Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie
Wood, I felt it encapsulated all the elements that had become important in my
life. The location: New York City, where I loved to travel to see Broadway
shows. The idea: a child suspicious of Santa, particularly in stores (personally,
I always preferred believing in the unseen Santa). The courtroom: since law
became my profession, it only seemed right that it should be the forum for
determining the “true” Santa. The Post Office: I come from a family of postal
workers. It seemed perfectly normal to me that the Post Office should save the

I also enjoyed the 1974
televised version with Jane Alexander, Sebastian Cabot, David Hartman, and
Suzanne Davidson, and the 1994 movie with Elizabeth Perkins, Richard
Attenborough, and Mara Wilson, even though it moved the story from New York to
Chicago and deleted the Post Office.

This year, through Amazon Prime,
I located a television adaption from 1955, which was presented for
The 20th Century Fox Hour,
and featured Teresa Wright, Thomas Mitchell, and MacDonald Carey. The shortest
of all the versions I’ve seen, this one is very close to 1947 film, containing
much of the same dialogue and situations. Thomas Mitchell speaks very quickly.
I wondered if that was to help fit everything into the program timeframe.

1955 version

If you are looking for more
recent stories to add to your holiday reading list, please let me recommend two
online sources. Since Thanksgiving, the authors at Writers Who Kill have presented
short stories for their readers. They include offerings from the following writers
beginning on the dates in parentheses:
Dashofy (11/28), E. B. Davis (12/3), KM Rockwood (12/8), Korina Moss (12/13), Tammy
Euliano (12/18), Warren Bull (12/23), and myself (12/28). These tales have some
familiar characters and some mysterious and paranormal elements. Please stop by
and check them out.

On Saturday, December 18, 2021, Loren Eaton
hosted his Advent Ghosts 2021, where he invited writers to contribute 100-word
stories (drabble) that celebrated a scarier aspect of the holidays. He links followers
to each author’s blog or presents the stories on his message. Authors from all
over the world participate. Here’s the
link to share the fun.

So, take a few moments away from the hustle-bustle,
find a favorite holiday beverage to sip, and enjoy being transported fictionally
into another place and time. Don’t forget to let the online authors know you’ve
enjoyed their work.

holidays, everyone!

1995 version


Holiday Books & Movies

 by Sparkle Abbey

It’s hard to believe that it’s December but here we are. Some of us are looking forward to big family gatherings for the first time and a while and others are planning something much more low key for the holidays. Some of us have Christmas shopping done and others have not even begun. Some of us love holiday books and movies and others are…meh.

What’s your view? 

We love holiday movies but we both lean toward classic movies. And actually we share the same favorite of the season – “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

 We simply can’t let the holidays go by without at least one viewing. (Maybe more than one because we’re certain our families need to see it again, too.)

And then there are other great classics. 

Here are some that top our list: 

  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • A Christmas Carol 
  • Holiday Inn
  • Christmas in Connecticut
  • A Christmas Story
  • White Christmas
  • The Preacher’s Wife

And more recently films such as “The Man Who Invented Christmas” and “The Holiday” also make the list. 

We also love holiday-themed books though our taste there runs a bit more to crime. Mary Higgins Clark comes to mind as favorites over the years. Her website has a list of MHC Christmas Books

There are several resources if you’re looking for ideas.  Bibliofile provided this list of the 50 Best Christmas Mysteries and our go-to is always Janet Rudolph’s Mystery Fanfare for recommendations and the most complete listings. Here’s the recent list of Hanukah Crime Fiction

Just like movies we all have different tastes in books and just like you all, we’re always looking for new recommendations. So we’d like to hear from you. 

What’s your favorite holiday movie and your (most recent) favorite holiday-themed book?

Sparkle Abbey is actually two people, Mary Lee Ashford and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mystery series. They are friends as well as neighbors so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don’t tell the other neighbors.) 

They love to hear from readers and can be found on Facebook,and Twitter their favorite social media sites. Also, if you want to make sure you get updates, sign up for their newsletter via the SparkleAbbey.com website.

For the Love of Christmas Movies

Judy Penz Sheluk

I’ll admit it. I love those impossibly cheesy holiday movies, the cheesier the better. In fact, I have a Holiday Movie Rating System (HMRS) that goes something like this (maximum 55 points):

Paper-thin plot or wildly implausible plot: 5 points

Female lead is either widowed, divorced, recently broken up with fiancé  or can’t seem to find true love: 5 points

Male lead is fabulously rich: 5 points (5 bonus points if female lead isn’t aware of his money OR is not impressed by it)

Male lead seems nasty at first or has a not-so-hidden agenda: 5 points

Male lead has a best friend who’s in love with the female lead and doesn’t stand a chance: 5 points

Movie title sums up the entire plot line: 5 points

Movie title is a clever pun: 5 points [Seriously, don’t you think MERRY Me at Christmas would have been a catchier title than MARRY Me at Christmas?]

Recognize the same actors/actresses in multiple cheesy movies: 5 points

Ending is completely predictable from the opening credits: 10 BONUS points!

Do you have a favorite cheesy Christmas movie? Something to add to my Holiday Movie Rating System?  Post a comment and let me know!

PS: Books make great stocking stuffers! Find mine at all the usual suspects, including Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble

Evelyn’s Holiday Movie Picks!

Here are our all time favorite holiday movies. Please share yours.

Rhonda –

A Christmas Story – Ralphie gets his bb gun and his tongue stuck to a lamp post. What could be better?

While You Were Sleeping – Warm family Christmas movie with Sandra Bullock at her best.

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Great songs and characters.

It’s a Wonderful Life – Can’t do better than Jimmy Stewart, any time of the year.

Die Hard – okay, not a traditional pick, but a fun hero movie and it is set at Christmas.

Marian –

The Shop Around the Corner, 1940. Just watched it and it’s lovely. Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, plus Frank Morgan who two years earlier was the Wizard of Oz. You’ve Got Mail was the modern remake, but not even close.

An Affair to Remember– 1957 – cheesy but good. Can’t go wrong with Cary Grant, Christmas and the Empire State Building

It’s a Wonderful Life – ’nuff said

White Christmas – Danny Kaye as the buffoon is marvelous, Rosemary Clooney sings like an angel, Bing ain’t bad, and who ever saw Vera Ellen after this movie?

Meet Me in St. Louis – worth it just for Judy Garland singing, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy 2011!

Rhonda and Marian
aka Evelyn David


The Sullivan Investigations Mystery Series
Murder Drops the Ball (Spring 2011)
Murder Takes the Cake – PaperbackKindle
Murder Off the Books – PaperbackKindle
Riley Come Home – KindleNookSmashwords

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – ebook series
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries