‘Tis the season for rejoicing in memorable music, books and movies as well as sharing with others in need, and that’s what our authors offer today.
CJ’s Favorite Holiday Entertainment
I know many people will say It’s a Wonderful Life and I too, love that one. But my two favorite movies that I never miss over the holidays are The Bishop’s Wife (the original with Cary Grant and Loretta Young) and Scrooge! with Albert Finney.
I love Scrooge! because the music is wonderful, tunes that make your toes tap all yearlong, and Albert Finney does a wonderful job of giving Scrooge a real emotional depth rather than just the stereotype he’s become to our jaded, modern eyes.
I also re-read Dicken’s A Christmas Carol each year–and yes, still end up crying everytime!!!
As for Christmas carols, I love to sing them all year round! My favs include Carol of the Bells, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Holy Night, and The Holly and the Ivy….
Holly’s Choices for Favorite Music, Book nd Movie
When I was in high school I sang with the choir, and we had a wonderful book of carols from England that had some beautiful, rather obscure ones. One of my favorites was “See Amid the Winter’s Snow.” I really wish I had that book now. I also love “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”–it’s an advent hymn–it is so solemn and spooky. The lyrics are from the fourth century. [And can be read/heard here.]
Book–well, everyone, I mean everyone, should hear Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory read aloud at least once, and preferably many times, during their lifetime. I would also like to mention that I know The Night Before Christmas by heart. Even “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow/Gave the luster of midday to objects below…” So Victorian. (Sorry for showing off!)
Movies– I am just a sucker for all of them, but I always cry at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street–the original. (And I am not a crier.) That cane in the corner! Chills!
Holly LeCraw (The Swimming Pool coming April 6, 2010)
My favorite holiday carol by far is “O Holy Night.” The music is so beautiful it makes me want to weep, and I like to sing it (to myself) though I know I can’t do those soaring notes justice. My favorite memory associated with that song is when I went as part of a church youth group to an old folks’ home. Mostly we were singing, but I had my violin, and I played solo, without accompaniment of any kind, “O Holy Night.” Watching the elderly men and women become transported by that beautiful hymn has stayed with me all these years. Music is my other favorite way to connect with people, besides my writing, of course.
Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars)
Eve’s Best Gift Given
Hands down the best present I ever gave was a check for the $300 to someone I used to work with to buy a new hot water heater that had broken down two weeks before Christmas. This woman had a pretty rough row to hoe – wracked with arthritis, taking in some tough foster kids to help make ends meet and now had to shower in ice cold water (in New England in December, no less). I knew she didn’t have an extra $300 lying around for this unforeseen expense.
My family and I had just decided to splurge on an aquarium as a gift for the whole family. But when I heard Diane’s story I came home and asked everyone if instead of buying ourselves a fish tank, could we give the money to her for a hot water heater. The first gift was that our kids – who were about 8 and 11 at the time – agreed without too much arm-twisting. And the second gift was that Diane accepted the money. You know how they say it’s better to give than to receive? Well, giving that gift definitely felt better than any gift I’ve ever received.
Eve Brown-Waite (First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How A Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and A Third World Adventure Changed My Life)