Tag Archives: holiday gift giving

Five Favorite Holiday Movies That Make Great Gifts

If you’re stumped for a gift for your grandparents, grand aunt or just some grand “older” friends, holiday movies might be the answer.  They are inexpensive, will bring back memories (or maybe create some new ones) and are perfect for people who already have just about everything.

There are about a dozen movies I like that fall into the holiday category but the 5 listed below are at the top of my all-time favorites list.

A Christmas Carol
George C. Scott is my favorite Scrooge. I love his portrayal and I think Charles Dickens would have, too.  A solid script, good acting by all of the other players and a superb performance from Scott make this a favorite.  The costumes and the cinematography are also exceptional.  And some of the visual effects combined with the sound effects make for a few scary scenes.  All in all, a good story, well done.

Holiday Inn
The dancing of Fred Astaire, the singing of Bing Crosby and the romantic rivalry between the two make this a fun film to watch over and over again.  One of the things I love best about Holiday Inn is the music which is tied to a lot of the major holidays of the year.  In fact, Irving Berlin created or reused a number of songs with holiday themes including Washington’s Birthday, Easter Parade and what would become one of the bestselling recordings of all time, White Christmas.  I love this film and watch it at least 4 times a year!

The Bishop’s Wife
When an angel (Cary Grant) comes down from heaven to help a Bishop (David Niven), some not so heavenly sparks fly in this romantic, holiday comedy as the angel falls for the…Bishop’s wife (Loretta Young).  Toss in Monty Woolley and the Mitchell Boys Choir and you get a heavenly film for the holidays.   This is the original version and only available as an MGM set (with 2 other holiday movies) or as a download at Amazon.  But you can buy it from Turner Classic Movies for $12.99.

Holiday Affair
This  romantic comedy has a well-known cast of actors including Robert Mitchum,  Wendell Corey and, in the female lead, none other than Jamie Lee Curtis’s mother, Janet Leigh (also of Psycho fame).  Leigh plays a war widow who can’t afford to buy her son a toy train for Christmas. Mitchum buys the train and that’s when things get complicated.  Watch for Harry Morgan of MASH fame who is hilarious as a night-court judge who tries to get a handle on who is really in love with whom and who stole the salt and pepper shakers.   The movie is out of stock at Barnes & Noble but you can download this one at Amazon or or buy it in a set of with 3 other holiday movies for under $10.00.

Christmas In Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck did some fine comedies in her career and this movie was one of the best. Stanwyck writes a food column for a very upscale magazine (think Gourmet) but she can’t cook.  It wouldn’t have mattered except her publisher decides to send her a war hero for her and her husband (which she doesn’t have) to entertain over the holidays. Stanwyck has to line up a husband, a baby and a chef who “helps out” in the kitchen to cover all the fibs she told to get the job. The result is hilarious.

I also love (and own) Love Actually

and The Psych holiday episodes, (Gus’s Dad May Have Killed Some Guy and Christmas Joy).

I own every one of these movies and sometimes I watch them in July!  But since it is the holiday season, it looks like it’s time to pop some popcorn, light a fire in the fireplace and settle in to a night of watching these holiday favorites with my favorite guy.

Happy holidays everyone!

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The Gift of Life

It’s the holiday season so I know you get them too.  Appeals for money from every possible type of charity there is.  Who do you share your post tax income with?  How do you choose?

Before being laid off, we gave to many of these charities every year, often without reading about them, without knowing where the money was going.  We still give to charities but, since 2009, our criteria for giving have changed.  We’ve had to be more careful about what we give and which charities get the nod.

Here are the 4 groups we support and why:

  1. Heifer International– Heifer’s gifts aren’t fruit baskets or silky scarfs or fine wine.  They are grounded, living gifts that help indigenous people become self-supporting, able to feed themselves, their families and sometimes, their whole village.  This year we donated enough money to buy three flocks of chicken and two honeybee hives for people in other countries.  These gifts will keep on giving for years after they arrive in their new homes.

    Give a gift of life through Heifer International.

    A gift of chickens can feed a family or a village or both

  2. Sunday Breakfast Mission–  The Sunday Breakfast Mission started small – feeding holiday dinners to homeless and jobless men in Wilmington, Delaware.  Last year, this charity served more than 200,000 meals to hungry men, women and children and provided shelter for close to 300 people . Sitting in my warm home, with my full refrigerator and my full life, I know that this is one charity I have to support, no matter what.

The first two charities support people.  The next two support the planet.

  1. The Audubon SocietyAnsel Adams once said, “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”   I’m not ashamed to admit that I support this organization precisely because it does fight our government; it does insist that our elected officials and the 1% of this nation that continues to get wealthy off the entire country’s resources be held accountable for the damage they are doing to our planet. If we don’t stand up for this world, the ecosystems, wildlife habitats and the birds and animals who live in them, with us, who will?
  2. Nature Conservancy – this organization fights to protect ecologically important land and water in every state in this country and in 30 other countries around the globe.  Donate to Nature Conservancy and help buy endangered land and waterways, help to build coalitions between governments and between and with the residents who live in the area.  Their work is rooted in science, their conservation projects are practical and their outcomes are there for every one to see and enjoy.

There are other charities we support in smaller ways, like the Ocean Conservancy and the Sierra Club.  We still drop money in the Salvation Army buckets and give gently used clothing to the Goodwill but we like the 4 charities listed above because their work will live long after our money is gone and our lives are over.

If you have a little extra cash burning a hole in your pocket this holiday season, you might want to think about sharing it with charitable organizations like these and with people who need food, shelter, and livelihood a whole lot more than they need a new car, a new phone or a new toy.  You might think about giving the gift of life.

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