I don’t “do” snow. Let’s establish that up front. Being a vertically-challenged person, it means that the bottoms of my pants get all wet, and end up drying with a salt line ring around it. Sooo not attractive. Also, I guess, compared to some people, I fall just short of being a Scrooge. Christmas is not my favorite holiday, although it is lovely to spend time with family and enjoy all that Christmas means for you. For the record, New Year’s Eve is my favorite. You get to dress up and drink champagne, but the whole idea of a fresh new start is always appealing to me. However, if dressing up and drinking champagne is all it takes to get that “fresh start” feeling, I’m entirely in favor of doing it more often.
Right around the week before Thanksgiving, it seems like stores (and some people, too, don’t deny it) start to lose their minds for Christmas. Radio stations start playing Christmas music as soon as possible (sorry Mom), all the Christmas displays go up, and I end up walking around stores while muttering under my breath about premature and unnecessary tinsel. It creeps up earlier and earlier each year, and I think it takes away from how special the season is supposed to be.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas movies, either. Ralphie and A Christmas Story? A-no, thank you. It’s A Wonderful Life? It’s a terrible movie. (I don’t know why George felt like he was the one responsible for the whole thing… it was Uncle Billy who lost the money, so wasn’t this whole mess actually his fault?) The only ones I kind of like are the stop-animation Rankin/Bass specials (think “Rudolph” and Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town), and sometimes, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. But, there is one movie that always puts me in a holiday mood, even if it is just for a little bit.
White Christmas (1954) stars Bing Crosby (Bob Wallace) and Danny Kaye (Phil Davis) as performer/producers who go to audition sister act Rosemary Clooney (Betty Haynes) and Vera-Ellen (Judy Haynes) for their show, and end up following them to Vermont. The foursome arrive at a snowless ski lodge, owned by Wallace and Davis’s former general from the war. No snow means no guests at the lodge, so Wallace and Davis devise a plan to fill it with their former army buddies.
I remember my dad teaching me the song, “White Christmas,” when I was a kiddo, and I learned to appreciate Bing Crosby, as well as some of the other big names in jazz and swing, from one of my uncles. Those 1950’s big-production musicals have always been favorites for me, too. White Christmas is a big-production musical inside a big-production musical — what’s not to love? (There are at least 4 numbers in this movie that are completely superfluous to the rest of the story. See if you can figure out which ones they are here.) Even if it isn’t essential to the story, I absolutely love The Haynes Sisters’ performance from their floor show:
There are some things to learn from White Christmas, and most of the lessons seem to come from Phil Davis.
- “Let’s say we’re doing it for an old friend in the army:” Phil uses this on Wallace to get him to do the right thing, even though his stubborn friend is reluctant to do it.
- Giving their train tickets to the Haynes Sisters so they could escape from a shady landlord: If you’re in the position to help someone, do it. They did this again when Wallace used his TV appearance to appeal to the other soldiers from their unit to come to Vermont for Christmas to surprise the General.
- Count your blessings instead of sheep.
I know that this is one of the classics, and AMC has probably already run a marathon of this movie in one of the days leading up to Christmas. But, if you haven’t seen White Christmas, I encourage you to settle in with a cup of hot chocolate and watch it. Looking outside, I can see that Jack Frost paid us a visit last night, so unfortunately for me, this movie isn’t the only white Christmas I’ll have this year.
Wash my hands, my face and hair with snow? SNOWPE.
Want to read more? Check out Buzzfeed’s “15 Questions ‘White Christmas’ Left Unanswered” and “15 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘White Christmas.'” Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, dear readers!