Archive for November 2013

Christmas Classics to Start Enjoying Now

November 26, 2013

This month I have a special treat for you. Kevin Fischer, freelance writer and contributor for Examiner.com, is sharing his love for movies, Christmas movies in particular. If you are like me you probably have dozens of Christmas movies that you own or watch on TV every year. If you have never watched these classics before, or not in a long time, do it now.

Christmas Classics to Start Enjoying Now

The holiday season is now upon us! Time to pull out all your favorite decorations, make plans for Christmas, start shopping, and of course, start indulging in your favorite holiday classics. You don’t have to wait until it is closer to Christmas to start watching all your favorite movies though. Once Thanksgiving time rolls around, it’s time to pull out some classics movies and enjoy them while you can.
Here are five movies to begin this holiday movie season.

The Polar Express (2004)

A classic Christmas story turned movie, The Polar Express is one of the best movies to start the season off with. The story takes key pieces from the book and turns them into fun scenes throughout the movie. From the very beginning when the massive steam engine pulls up in front of the boy to the end at the North Pole, you can tell the movie and Christmas are about more than presents. Lessons like fun, cheer, humility, leadership and confidence are strewn throughout. This is a great Christmas movie the whole family will love.

Elf (2003)

Although this movie is only 10 years old, it has become a staple on many Christmas movie lists. Elf is the story of an orphaned baby raised by elves at the North Pole, only to grow up and not fit in, literally. Elf is full of laugh-out-loud moments the whole family will enjoy, including buddy, the main character, building a winter wonderland in a toy store. Put this movie on if you’re in the mood for some good laughs.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

It’s a classic Christmas movie the whole family can enjoy. While the 1966 version is more of a short than a full-length feature film, it’s a great piece to watch this holiday season. The short is narrated and follows the beloved Dr. Seuss book of the same title throughout, with amazing imagery along the way. The movie is definitely ideal for those who aren’t in the mood for a long movie, or for those with young children more interested in shorter cartoons. But really, the whole family will love this movie.

White Christmas (1954)

The dancing, the singing, the happy ending. White Christmas is one of those must-watch movies of the season, and it’s not too early to pull it out, either. The movie follows the paths of showmen and showgirls as they work together to help give an honored general the recognition and success he deserves. Your children will love the singing, and you will too! White Christmas is arguably the best “trimming the tree” movie to watch with the family and where a classic Christmas carol finds its home.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947 & 1994)

Both versions of this holiday classic are sure to be enjoyed by your whole family. The movie starts at Thanksgiving during an event like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A jolly man named Kris Kringle steps in to replace the intoxicated parade Santa. He’s so lovely, he becomes a regular member of the department store Christmas area. Slowly but surely throughout the movie shows that seeing doesn’t necessarily mean believing. Your family will love this holiday classic.

Kevin Fischer is a freelance writer and contributor for Examiner.com. With a passion for TV, technology, sports, movies and music, Kevin is best considered as entertainment-enthusiast. In addition to keeping up with his favorite programs, teams, gadgets, and celebrities, Kevin enjoys going to concerts and exploring his musical talents. Check out his Examiner page or Tweet him @KevinTFischer

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How to have the Christmas you’ve always wanted – part 9

November 5, 2013

Christmas Revival

Are you hungry for the life and spirit you experienced in past Christmas celebrations? Do you dream of capturing the simple Christmas where gift-giving is put into proper perspective? Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to experiencing a Christmas revival.

Build strong family traditions. Include your children and their interests when planning new traditions. Every year before Christmas I ask each one of my children what they’d like to do during the Christmas season. Their answers help determine what we do for Christmas.

Make sure each family member plays a vital role in the family’s traditions. Each year the whole family decorates the Christmas tree and the house together. Then we choose one Saturday in December to make cookies (the kids help decide what cookies we make) and fudge for Christmas eating and for giving as gifts.

Include activities that add movement and physical activity to the celebration. Inactivity breeds boredom. As a child growing up, all of my relatives went to my grandparents house for Christmas dinner. After dinner we’d play games, some of which were Christmas gifts received that morning, including going outside to play touch football. Those are some of my fondest childhood Christmas memories.

Look for lighthearted ways to add fun to the celebration. A couple Christmases ago I bought glasses that look like 3-D glasses that make Christmas lights look like snowflakes, Santa Clauses, and angels. We then toured the town looking at Christmas lights through those glasses. The kids loved it. It was the best $6 I spent that year.

Revive traditions from your ethnic heritage. If you have a Spanish heritage, include a piñata in your Christmas celebration. If you’re heritage is from Europe research the Christmas customs from the nation and incorporate a tradition from that country. Try their traditional Christmas cuisine. The important thing is to include every member of the family in learning about the traditions of your ancestors.

I hope these last few blogs help you simplify your Christmas and make it a more enjoyable holiday. The following exercise will help you decide what activities or types of activities will liven up your Christmas holiday.

Exercise: Family Fun

This exercise will help you clarify what kind of activities you family most enjoys and will give you some ideas for new traditions to liven up your holiday.

1. Which of the following activities are generally enjoyed by the people you celebrate Christmas with? Check those you participated in last Christmas.
Winter sports (specify)
Card-playing
Game-playing
Singing
Playing musical instruments
Reading aloud to each other
Attending concerts
Entertaining friends
Telling anecdotes about the family
Dancing
Cooking together
Going for walks
Taking trips to the country
Creating skits and plays
Caroling

2. Star the activities that you would like to do this year.

By doing this exercise, many people realize that they often neglect many of their favorite activities at Christmas. Adding just one enjoyable tradition is often all it takes to have a more rewarding celebration.

The Christmas Pledge

Believing in the beauty and simplicity of Christmas, I commit myself to the following:
1. To remember those people who truly need my gifts
2. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents
3. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family
4. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of Christmas
5. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family and friends

The material presented here was taken from the book Unplug The Christmas Machine by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli published by William Morrow and Company, Inc.

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