For some it is It’s a Wonderful Life, or Miracle on 34th Street, or A Charlie Brown Christmas, still others it’s National Lampoon’s Christmas, or A Christmas Story. For our family the annual holiday film is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
Every Christmas Eve we get in pajamas, collect the finger foods, and settle in front of the screen for this Henry Selick directed film. Since Natalya was old enough for this stop-animated delight, we fall beneath its musical and albeit morbid thrall. It’s Danny Elfman driven soundtrack is one of the earliest holiday albums to be heard in the house. We all start singing, on cue. And we still laugh and sigh in the same places. In a certain light, this might come across as a bit creepy. I know we’ve gotten strange looks when we weren’t home for Christmas Eve.
Family, ever eager to share in each other’s traditions, try to play along. I think they (for the most part) find it awful. One year, in the spirit of exchange, we sat down with Grandpa to watch his family tradition of It’s a Wonderful Life. By this time, I believe Natalya had seen a reasonable portion of Rear Window or North by Northwest so she knew who Jimmy Stewart was. She wasn’t terribly impressed, not appropriately enthralled anyway. Once home we began to subject her to classic films. To each their own. And this is one tradition we feel we own, as a family. It makes us want to stay in and be our silly strange selves together, rethinking invitations elsewhere for that one night, Christmas Eve.
This year, we will shop the appetizer recipes for a menu and put on our pajamas with care. Sean will recite the opening alongside the narrator and we will all launch into song with a fervor usually reserved for the last leg of a road trip—somewhat manic and at the top of our lungs. I can’t wait.
this post was a part of The 2011 Virtual Advent Tour. Check out the other blogs on this tour for more holiday treats.