(Editor’s note: This column originally ran at Christmas in 2011)
I love a good, down home Christmas as much as the next guy. Holiday traditions like giving gifts, getting together with family and enjoying classic Christmas songs and movies are all part of the season.
But as much as I cling to these old traditions, I have also found over the years I have a penchant for embracing some not-so typical Christmas offerings.
• My favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Story — you know, the one shown on that cable station for 24 hours straight Christmas Eve? But as much as the story of Ralphie’s quest to get an Official Red Ryder Carbine- Action Two-Hundred- Shot Range Model Air Rifle warms my heart each year, I have other more unconventional Christmas favorites.
There’s the warm-hearted holiday classic of Lethal Weapon, a cop-buddy movie set at Christmas which ends in a climactic fight-to-the-death scene between Mel Gibson and Gary Busey (may the more crazy celebrity win!).
Another holiday fav is Die Hard, an ’80s action-movie set at Christmas. In this movie, lovable Bruce Willis gets invited by accident to his estranged wife’s office Christmas party. The holiday hijinks begin when terrorists take over the high rise where the party takes place and Bruce (who still had hair) fights back like a grown-up version of that kid from Home Alone. My favorite line: “I have a machine gun now. Ho-ho-ho!” Classic.
• I like offbeat Christmas songs as well. The classics like White Christmas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer are great, but I also tend to like songs such as Bob and Doug McKenzie’s Twelve Days of Canadian Christmas, Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song and Christmas in Hollis by rappers Run DMC.
Classic songs are wonderful and they bring with them memories of Christmases back when I was a kid, but the newer, funny stuff or offbeat songs are a way of finding a little humor or some individuality in musical selections.
• I like comedy with my Christmas. As I said about music, if it can make me laugh it makes Christmas all that much better.
I love the old Cheech & Chong bit on the radio about Santa Claus and his “old lady” living in the projects (far out, man!).
Any sort of parody of the old Rankin & Bass Christmas shows from the 1960s and ’70s (Rudolph, Frosty and Santa Claus is Coming to Town) will generally get a chuckle out of me. MAD TV did a hilarious skit called “Raging Rudolph” a few years back, done in claymation like the original holiday specials — only Santa Claus was a mafia kingpin and Rudolph was muscling in on his turf.
So yes, my Christmas favorites can range from classic to strange, or sometimes just plain goofy. It may seem a bit unconventional, but I think as much as we dwell on the comforting traditions we were raised on, it is important to create new ones we can pass along to our children.
But no matter how we celebrate Christmas, the reason for the season will always remain the same. So Merry Christmas to all — have a safe and enjoyable time this holiday. firstname.lastname@example.org