I’m getting sappy.
Yes, I picked some ripe pine cones from our ancient white pine tree that creaks and sways over our country lodge, leaving my fingers sticky with the fragrant essence of winter. But I’m also sappy over the whole season that is sitting right in front of me.
Growing up with traditions of watching classic Christmas movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s, I have an unflinching aesthetic of what this time of year means to me. Miracle on 34th Street finds brown eyed Natalie Wood earnestly believing; It’s a Wonderful Life takes us along the often frustrating but lovely, languid quest as Donna Reed wins Jimmy Stewart’s heart; Hilarity ensues in Christmas in Connecticut as city gal Barbara Stanwyck dupes a major magazine publisher into believing she’s a country housewife; Young At Heart gives a triumphant victory for Frank Sinatra over Gig Young as he nabs Doris Day and survives a deadly self-imposed car crash; Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant flee her waspy uptight and slightly insane family life to take a forever Holiday; and well, I could watch the train dining car scene of White Christmas in a forever loop as Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye make a jolly magical snowy hill over late night frothy cocktails. Heaven.
No special effects, just special sentiments. Loss, hope, peace, love, innocence, frugality, appreciation, gratitude and sweet bits of earnest romance.
Flipping forward through life now with three grown, nostalgic elfin kids who’ve built a wee Christmas Village (which at this point would consume our entire house), we’ve added dozens more to our traditional Christmas movie favorites. Our list is long and loose. You know it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas when our loop is Bridget Jones, Love Actually, Notting Hill, Elf, Houseboat, Sweet Home Alabama, To Catch A Thief, The Women, The Holiday, The Family Stone, The Last Holiday, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, The Thrill of It All, Under The Tuscan Sun, Dan In Real Life, High Society and all of the Harry Potters.
The criteria? Happy. Joy. Peace. Love. Warm.
So as it is, as time goes by and everything has changed, my own merry memories are here, still tucked safely on a celluloid backdrop, reflected back to me, dear reminders that everything, too, stays just the same.