How the Grinch Stole Christmas
There is the original cartoon version sans Jim Carey, or the longer live action movie...either is a good choice. We have Dr. Seuss to thank for both movies. In a classic tale, that could only have come from the mind and rhymes of Dr. Seuss we meet the lovably unlovable Grinch a foul, sour hearted creature that lives in isolation in the mountains near the utopian society of Whoville.
The residents of Whoville prepare for their most beloved holiday, Christmas, blissfully ignorant of the nasty surprise the Grinch has in store for them. A sworn enemy of noise and hater of all things Christmas the Grinch can't stand the idea of enduring another holiday season. This year he takes matters into his own hands.
Employing his unwilling accomplice, Max his dog, and impersonating a certain rotund elf who wears red, the Grinch puts his plan into motion. At the last minute the Grinch has a change of heart, but is it too late to undo what he has already done? Gather the family around the TV and find out!
When all the movie fun is over, follow up with a night of family gift wrapping. To make this as much fun as possible keep the movie snacks handy. For a healthy snack try these yummy Mini Grinch Kabobs. Or if you love fudge, try this Mint Green Fudge to snack on. Also to avoid accidental spilling of the present beans have all the gifts in boxes before you begin to wrap them. You can wrap gifts for friends and neighbors, help the kids wrap their gifts for each other or for you. This is a fun way to get the necessary work of gift wrapping done. An additional bonus is that you are getting it done early and with help!
This Christmas movie might not be high on a toddler's list of Christmas favorites, but for families with older children it is a very funny movie. For those familiar with the Vacation movie franchise you will enjoy revisiting Clarke and his family as they slog their way through Christmas vacation.
The well meaning buffoon Clarke, gets himself into all sorts of trouble while trying to make this Christmas the ultimate holiday for his family. From tree cutting misadventures to uninvited house guests and oppressively nosey neighbors this movie has a joke for all sensibilities.
Once the movie is over take a leaf out of Clarke's family fun book and take the family sledding (additional lubricant is optional). When was the last time you and the whole family went sledding? The good times don't end when the family leaves the slopes and the hot cocoa is gone, memories last a life time.
What you are thinking is "I live California, Florida or Arizona, Where on earth am I going to go sledding unless I get a plane ticket?". Don't worry, there is way to have fun of sledding without snow, or even a sled. It is called ice blocking. All you need is a hill, a bit of plastic or a towel and a big block of ice. Basically, you sit on the ice at the top of a hill use the towel or plastic to prevent your pants from getting soggy. Now that the pants are protected shove off and plummet to the bottom of the hill. This is just like snow sledding except you provided the snow.
Make some homemade eggnog to drink out of moose mugs (or any old mug). Try these homemade alcoholic or non-alcoholic eggnog recipes.
A Christmas Carol
The book which spawned the movie a Christmas carol is one of the reasons Christmas is globally popular today, but that is another story. A Christmas Carol has probably been the creative seed for more Christmas movies than any other.
Each adaptation is based Charles Dickens story of the miserly Mr. Scrooge, who has spent his life seeking only one thing: money. Now grown and alone, yet distinctly rich Scrooge is devoid of human kindness. On Christmas Eve he is give one last chance to capture an understanding of what the Christmas spirit is, and how it can bless a life the whole year long.
Scrooge's change of heart is assisted by the instruction of three spirits of Christmas: past, present and future. With their help and a glimpse of what happiness can be even without money, Scrooge is a changed man. This movie is a great way to include goodwill and lessons about the true meaning of Christmas (and life) into your holiday.
Be sure to choose an age appropriate version for your family. Our favorites:
The Muppet Christmas Carol
In this version, Brian Henson directs his late father's creations in the Charles Dickens classic, the best known (and most oft-filmed) Christmas story of all time.
Michael Caine plays the old miser Scrooge with Kermit as his long-suffering but ever-hopeful employee Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as Cratchit's wife, and a host of Muppets (including the Great Gonzo as an unlikely Charles Dickens) taking other primary roles in this bright, playful adaptation of the somber tale.
Michael Caine makes a wonderful Scrooge, delightfully rediscovering the meaning of life as fantastic creations from Henson's Creature Shop (developed specially for this film) take the reins as the three ghosts. The ghost of Christmas past is breathtaking, a muppet created especially for this film.
A Christmas Carol (with George C. Scott)
Many Christmas Carol fans believe that this version is the must see version of the movie, and we couldn't agree more. From an Amazon.com review: "George C. Scott gives one of the greatest performances I have ever seen an actor give; he truly becomes Ebenezer Scrooge to the fullest degree possible. Scott can say more with just the slightest hint of a facial movement than many actors can say during the course of an entire movie."
Both children and adults can appreciate this version. It sticks close to the Dickens classic tale in every respect, from the scenery to the costuming and language.
Scrooged (with Bill Murray)
Bill Murry succeeds in his edgy portrayal of the world's meanest TV executive, who has his cathartic moment one cold Christmas night in New York City. The various ghosts lead him on a ghost-town tour of Manhattan, with stops at holidays past, present, and future.
The rousing rendition of "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" at the end is enough to get you up and singing. Because of certain innuendo in a couple spots, this is more of an adult version of the tale.
No matter which A Christmas Carol you chose, at the conclusion of this movie an appropriate activity would be to spend some time visiting those who might need Christmas cheer the most. Try visiting a retirement center or childrens' hospital. If this sounds like a daunting task, keep the good will a bit closer to home and spend an evening writing letters, drawing pictures and decorating mail-able crafts to grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins.