All families ‘star’ in own holiday movies

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, November 28, 2009

The turkey has gobbled itself away — or maybe it is more appropriate to say we gobbled it away. And watch out, Santa is on his way.

This is my favorite time of the year because it is a time to celebrate good friends, good family and good sports. OK, maybe that last part didn’t apply to Thursday’s NFL games, but you see what I mean.

Spending time with family is important and fun. As I joined thousands of you in eating too much over and over again last week, I couldn’t help but think of some of my favorite holiday movies.

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Of course “A Christmas Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” are high on that list but I love holiday movies that show families in all of their feuding and quirky splendor.

One of the best is “Home for the Holidays.” It is a great family comedy that uses interesting characters and personal dramas to help people find a bit of their own family in the movie.

Admit it, we have all had those types of train-wreck dinners or get-togethers where we ask ourselves, “Who are these people? Where did I even come from?”

But, I think we are also better for it when we find those answers.

A new favorite is “This Christmas.” A nice feel-good movie, it does a great job of transcending racial barriers and breaking stereotypes. It isn’t about a black family. The Whitfields are a family, plain and simple.

Yes, everything works out perfectly in the end but, hey, it’s Christmas. Plus a great, soulful soundtrack really helps this movie stand apart.

But, of course, no discussion of family holiday movies would be complete without inviting the Griswolds into your home.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” might be the funniest of the series and featured some great lines that have become ingrained into our culture.

Somehow, it is impossible for me to eat turkey without hearing in my head Eddie saying, “Save the neck for me, Clark.”

Sitting down with the Griswolds and their crazy in-laws helps put your own family in perspective.

Oh wait, I think my family might be the crazy in-laws. Hmm, better just move on.

And as I sat with my wife’s family, stuffing myself with turkey and all the fixings, I realized that real life isn’t too far off from the silver screen.

It hit me: I could have very easily been in a movie right then and there.

Key scenes would have been grandma wearing a motorized elf’s hat doing her best disco rendition. She may have gotten into the wine. I’m not sure.

Then my sister-in-law’s boyfriend and newcomer to the family was informed, over and over again, that there is just something wrong with left-handed people.

The icing had to be my brother-in-law chiding his sister that he has found definitive proof that she is really adopted.

The fact that he was using the faces my 2-year-old was making at her as evidence may damage his case a little bit.

While everyone rushes to get their shopping done or their Christmas decorations put up, I’m just going to sit back, relax and enjoy this holiday time with family that is as good as any movie.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at