Every year on December 15th, to get me really in the spirit of the season, I start watching one Christmas movie a night culminating tonight with my annual private midnight viewing of that timeless classic, "It's a Wonderful Life". I'll sit down with a mug of hot chocolate, a box of kleenex, and a plate of Christmas cookies and watch George Bailey find redemption.
I don't consider the TV shows like Frosty the Snow Man, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, or any of those other fantastic holiday classic Rankin/Bass TV shows as movies but I like typically watch them too.
One other Christmas movie tradition of mine is I watch "Miracle on 34th Street" twice, once on Thanksgiving Day and again on the night I wrap presents.
So, here are the movies I watch every year in no particular order. They are linked to their IMDB entry for synopsis and for version as there are a few different versions of some of these classics.
- The Bishop's Wife - Cary Grant, who can resist Cary Grant as an angel?
- Meet Me in St. Louis - Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to her little sister in that gorgeous red velvet dress
- Tenth Avenue Angel - Margaret O'Brien, Judy Garland's little sister in "Meet Me in St. Louis" stars
- Scrooged - Bill Murray and Bobcat Goldthwait and Carol Kane, who can go wrong here?
- A Christmas Story - Ralphie, tongue stuck on pole, and the all time funniest Christmas present try-out of all time
- Home Alone - Another cute kid, best example of slap stick pratfall comedy since Laurel and Hardy
- Miracle on 34th Street - "I believe", "I believe"
- It's a Wonderful Life - "Zuzu's Petals! Zuzu's Petals!"
- Desk Set - Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in the best office Christmas party on film
- A Christmas Carol - Alastair Sim is the best Scrooge, hands down.
And there you have it, my top ten Christmas movies of all time. What are your favourite Christmas movies?
My Favourite Christmas Cookie: Linzer Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 egg yolk
1 egg, separated
2 to 2 1/4 cups of AP flour
2/3 cup raspberry or apricot preserves
Beat butter and 1/2 cup of sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer. Beat in two egg yolks. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of flour and beat at low speed, until well blended. Add additional flour, one spoonful at a time, until a stiff dough is formed. If you are using a hand mixer, you will need to do this by hand as the dough will be too stiff for most hand mixers. Divide dough into 2 balls and flatten each ball to a disc about 6" in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and grease and flour your cookie sheets. Beat egg white with 1 tsp of water and set aside.
Unwrap one disc and place on lightly floured surface. Roll out dough with a lightly floured pin to 3/16th inch thickness. Using either a linzer cookie cutter without center cut piece or a 2" round biscuit cutter, cut out bottom part of linzer cookie and place on cookie sheet about 1 1/2" apart. Gently knead dough scraps together, re-roll out, and cut out additional bottoms. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until firm and light golden brown. Let cool completely on wire racks.
While bottoms are baking, unwrap other disc and roll out like the bottoms but this time use either the linzer cookie cutter with the center cut piece in or a 2" donut cutter. Place on prepared cookie sheets 1 1/2" apart and brush with egg white and sprinkle with reserved 2 Tbsp of sugar (I use sparkling decorator sugar sometimes too). Gently knead dough scraps together, re-roll out, and cut out additional bottoms. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until firm and light golden brown. Let cool completely on wire racks.
When all the tops and bottoms are baked and cooled, place 1/2 tsp of preserves on bottoms and gently press the top onto the jam. Store in tightly covered dish at room temperature or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies