by Curt Kovener
COVID cases are rising. The Governor has ordered additional restrictions in what we should safely do. The hospital has restricted surgeries and procedures so don’t get too sick. And here we are on the cusp on the holiday season and are being warned that we should not meet with family and friends for fear of spreading and catching COVID.
So what’s a sequestered family to do this holiday season?
Here in the Hoosier wilderness we will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for two. Well, three and a quarter if you count Emma the Great Pyrenees and Willow the cat. So it could be a lot of leftover turkey, dressing, cranberry relish, hickory nut and pumpkin pie for several days.
So, you ask again, after all that cooking and eating, what’s a sequestered family to do this holiday season?
Let me suggest you dig in to or begin a holiday DVD collection.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be watching most of our growing collection.
There’s “Miracle on 34th Street”, the original black & white version with a youthful Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwinn as Chris Kringle and John Payne as an attorney who proves without a shadow of a doubt that there is a Santa Claus.
And keeping things original, there’s the B&W “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.
Set in Indiana there’s “A Christmas Story” where all Ralphie wants is a Red Ryder B-B gun and is warned by everyone “You’ll shoot your eye out”. But he gets his Christmas wish and he almost does.
At some point we will watch George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge find redemption in “A Christmas Carol”. Then for a comedic parody of that story there is the 1980’s Bill Murray in “Scrooged.”
And keeping with comedy and absurd chaos, we will watch 6’3” Will Ferrell in “Elf” with James Caan as his absent father. I am particularly amused that Sonny Corleone is the father of a 6-foot+ child Buddy who thinks he is one of Santa’s elves.
Also a comedy but definitely not to be viewed with children in the room is “Bad Santa” with Billy Bob Thornton. My DVD warns me that I have the “Naughty Version Not Shown In The Theatres.’
There are a couple of animated holiday originals I first watched in my youth: “Frosty the Snowman” with Jimmy Durante narrating and singing the title song and another original Christmas classic “Santa Claus Is coming To Town!” Even gray hair & wrinkles can enjoy cartoons on occasion.
We also will be watching the higher tech live and animated Tom Hanks conduct us on “The Polar Express.
For the ladies in the house (there are three in the wilderness Becky, Emma and Willow) who enjoy romantic comedies there’s “The Holiday”, “The Family Stone”, and “Love Actually” are all holiday views at our house.
And new to our collection this year is “The Man Who Invented Christmas”, the inspiration story of the magical journey that led acclaimed but writer blocked Charles Dickens to create Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of “A Christmas Carol”.
One I have not found yet on DVD but available on Netflix is “Christmas Chronicles” with Kurt Russell as Santa Claus who sings (while in jail) a punchy, bluesy Elvis Presley classic “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.”
So there you go—nearly 24 hours of holiday viewing to lift your spirits as you lift a hot buttered rum while you remain separate from COVID and the rest of the family.
And no doubt there will be those televised seasonal specials to occupy our holiday sequestration.
Drop me an email of what other holiday classics you like that we should add to our collection.