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With Christmas just around the corner, it’s high time to get in the holiday spirit. Nothing will bring you there faster than these classic Christmas movies
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
This heartwarming cartoon, which is based on the childrens’ book by Dr. Suess, tells the story of the Grinch, a green-hued grump living in isolation in a cave just outside the village of Whoville. This Scrooge-like character, who is said to have a heart "two sizes too small," attempts to sabotage Christmas for the citizens of Whoville by dressing as Santa and making off with all their Christmas decorations, food, and gifts. But the townsfolk’s Christmas spirit shines through when they embrace the holiday even without material trappings. The Grinch begins to learn the true meaning of Christmas and returns all the stolen goods just in time to join everyone for a Christmas feast. If the sweet story doesn’t get you, the quirky animations and witty song lyrics--delivered in the inimitable voice Boris Karloff--surely will.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
This beautifully crafted stop-motion animation was first released as a television special in 1964, featuring Burl Ives as the voice of the narrator, Sam the snowman. Rudolph has aired on television every single year since its debut, making it the longest running of all the classic Christmas specials. But even if you haven’t seen it before, you most likely know the story of Rudolph from the classic Christmas carol. In fact, the movie is based on the song, which is based in turn on a poem.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Who hasn’t at one time or another had a spindly, sad-looking, Charlie Brown-style Christmas tree? While the tree may serve as a symbol for this beloved classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas is, like many Christmas movies, about discovering the significance of the holiday. While based, of course, on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles Schulz, the plot is definitely not childish. The movie takes us along Charlie Brown’s journey, from the skating pond to Snoopy’s doghouse, to find the true meaning of Christmas. The plucky jazz score, performed by the Vincent Guaraldi trio, is a highlight--and has earned its place as a holiday classic in its own right.
A Christmas Story (1983)
In a relatively short time this comedy film, based on anecdotes and short stories by author Jean Shepherd, has become a classic for the holidays. Set in the 1940s, the storyline centers around Ralphie, a nine-year old boy who wants nothing more than a certain BB gun for Christmas. He has very good reasons, but no matter how he presents his wish his idea gets "shot" down. The film provides a humorous look at family life in all its imperfections but features a heartwarming ending as Ralphie finds unexpected joy, despite also being victimized by bullies.
Sometimes you can tell just by the shine in a kid’s eyes that she’s starting to get into the holiday spirit. But when the spirit’s there and the holiday is still weeks away, it can make each day seem excruciatingly long (for kids and adults alike). This holiday season, alleviate those waiting woes with a little creativity, and break out some of these great ideas for kid-friendly holiday crafts.
Hands (and feet) on
Hand-print holiday crafts aren’t just fun for kids, they can also result in adorable Christmas or Thanksgiving keepsakes that you’ll want to keep on display long after the little hands that created them have outgrown their prints. All of these ideas can be executed on either paper (a more disposable option unless you choose to frame it) or white cloth, for an end result that will be easier to save.
Have your kids gotten the holiday bug before December even hits? The classic hand-print turkey is a kid-friendly way to celebrate Thanksgiving. You will need brown, orange, and yellow paint, paint brushes, a black marker (for a signature and eyes), and paper or cloth. Squirt some of each color paint onto a disposable paper plate (you’ll use the most brown paint). Kids can use the brown paint to make hand-prints that become the turkey bodies (just one, or maybe a whole flock!), then use the paintbrushes and yellow and orange paint to add beaks and legs. A few black dots for eyes, a signature at the bottom of the cloth or page, and your turkeys are ready for roosting.
For feet angels, kids’ footprints become little angel’s wings. You will need assorted paint colors and some paper or cloth. Be sure to spread lots and lots of newspapers to contain the mess. First, let your child paint the face, robe, and halo of their very own angel. When they’ve finished, help them paint the bottom of their feet with their color of choice, and make footprints for the angel’s wings.
With a little green and red paint and some cloth or paper, you can make an easy but adorable Christmas wreath. For kids under five, it will help to have an outline of a circle penciled onto the paper or cloth (you can use an ice cream pail as a stencil). Then your child can dip his hands into the green paint and make hand-prints (fingers pointing outward) all the way around. Afterwards, add a few red dots for berries, and you have a DIY wreath that won’t turn brown.
All of the hand-print crafts can be framed, but if you used cloth you can also make them hang-able on doorknobs or nails. Simply fold the top part of the cloth over by an inch and sew it down. Find a dowel at your local craft store, and run it through the cloth tunnel you’ve created. Then tie each end of a piece of yarn or ribbon to the ends of the dowel, and you’ll have a decoration that can hang from a nail or doorknob and will last for years to come.