Westhampton Community Notes, December 24

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In years past, I have written about holiday traditions in my final column of the year so in keeping with that theme of sorts, here are some of my favorite things related to Christmas and other holidays occurring this time of year.Throughout the years, it seems like there are more and more Christmas and holiday movies being produced for the big screen, DVD and television. This gives each generation their own set of seasonal movies and shows that they can relate to and, possibly, deem their favorites. Inevitably every year around this time you hear discussions/ arguments among friends or at the office about what are the best Christmas movies of all time.

The folks born a decade or two before I was in 1973 grew up with oldies but goodies like the “Miracle on 34th Street,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the original “A Christmas Carol,” which some will claim are the best Christmas movies ever. They are classics and will always make me think of Christmas, but they wouldn’t make my top 10-list of favorite Christmas movies of all time.

Here is my list of all-time favorite Christmas movies that remind me of or are a must-watch near Christmas and their starring actors:

10. “Lethal Weapon” starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover;

9. “Edward Scissorhands” starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder;

8. “Gremlins” starring Pheobe Cates and the voice of Howie Mandel;

7. “The Rng Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey;

6. “Bad Santa” starring Billy Bob Thornton;

5. “Trading Places” starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd;

4. “Die Hard” starring Bruce Willis;

3. “Christmas Vacation” starring Chevy Chase and Beverly DeAngelo;

2. “A Christmas Story” starring Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley;

1. “Elf” starring Will Ferrell and James Caan.

Some people would say “Die Hard,” “Lethal Weapon” and a few other movies on my list are not really Christmas movies, but if you watch them, they all take place leading up to or on Christmas and there are plenty of Christmas references throughout each film.

“A Christmas Story” is such a beloved Christmas movie, that it has played in a loop on one channel on Christmas Day the last few years. Another favorite, National Lampoon’s “A Christmas Vacation” has become a cult classic among those of my generation. Especially folks who have relatives like Cousin Eddie, played by Randy Quaid.

“Elf,” with Will Ferrell as Buddy the elf, is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. It always has me laughing from beginning to end every time I watch it and is all about Christmas spirit. There are so many good quotes from this movie that instantly take me to the scenes in which they are said and it is great for viewers of all ages.

If you haven’t seen any of these movies, I recommend you check them out before you tell me they don’t belong on a favorite Christmas movies list. (Just check the parental ratings, like I said, some aren’t meant for kids.)

There are also many more holiday songs of different genres that celebrate various holidays. The album “A Very Special Christmas” changed my view of Christmas music in 1987. I was in eighth grade and remember hearing Run DMC rap “Christmas in Hollis” and “Merry Christmas, Baby” sung by Bruce Springsteen and realized there is more when it comes to Christmas music than songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night” and “O Tannenbaum.”

Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song,” which was first released in 1994, is another favorite of mine to hear every year. It is great that Sandler updates it with new phrases and folks who celebrate Chanukah every few years and tries to keep it current.

Some of my other favorite Christmas songs are old songs updated by newer artists like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” or Michael Buble’s version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

I do enjoy the classic Christmas music like, “White Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Silent Night” but can hear them only so many times before they get tiresome. The two classic Christmas songs that will never get old for me are “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” sung by Andy Williams and Nat King Cole singing “The Christmas Song.” Those are two of my favorites and could get me in the holiday spirit even if I heard them in July.

I am sure each of you has your own favorite Christmas movies and songs and I hope you get a chance to enjoy them this holiday season. Merry Christmas to you all and may the new year be filled with happiness and good fortune for you and your family.

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