Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of holiday magic.
Many classic stories feature otherworldly behavior and happenings, such as the title character flying through the air with the other reindeer in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or an angel coming down to Earth to help George Bailey realize he wants to live in "It’s a Wonderful Life." The holiday season, it seems, is as much about blurring the line between our world and others as it is about a pine tree or a menorah.
But in my holiday movie viewing, I’m also a fan of movies where average, everyday people make something kind of special happen for others – and that’s why I love the movie "White Christmas."
Now, I think this movie is a pretty acknowledged classic, but I also come from a family that owns the 1938 movie "Bringing Up Baby" on both VHS and DVD, so I recognize that our film preferences may run a little older than most. In case younger generations aren’t familiar with the 1954 film, "White Christmas" follows Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby, he who you have heard singing the title song on the radio a million times) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), buddies who served under the same general during World War II. At the end of the war, they begin performing together in nightclubs and get fairly famous. They meet two sisters who also work in entertainment, and the four head up to Vermont to a scenic inn. But – surprise! – the inn is run by Bob and Phil’s old general, who’s not doing too well financially and is feeling a bit left behind by life.
Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the movie…
Kindhearted Bob and Phil hatch a plan to get as much of their regiment up to the inn as possible on Christmas Eve to show the general he’s not forgotten. They manage to keep him in the dark, and – well, try not to get a tear in your eye when the general rounds the corner and encounters a room full of men who used to be under his command and have traveled miles to see him and show him how much he meant to them. His struggle not to cry is enough to get me and most of my female relatives blubbering.
It’s a 1950s musical and there’s a lot of songs – including the lilting lullaby "Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)" – which I find charming and fun, but then, I’m a musical fan. If you’re not as much into the song-and-dance, go get a snack or something while Danny’s tap-dancing, because the end is worth it.
I’m all for Christmas miracles and ghosts coming back to show misers how much they’re missing in life and nutcrackers turning into fairy princes. But sometimes human-made magic is the best kind of all.