Tonight is the night I’ll be putting up my Christmas tree. I know what snacks I’ll be enjoying while I do it – deep-filled mince pie and a glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. Gran would be proud.
I am left now with an important decision to make - what should I put on in the background to add to the festivity of the occasion? I have four contenders.
When I got my first DVD player from Argos for the princely sum of £20, I bought two DVDs. This was one of them. The other, if you're interested, was Flash Gordon. I watch this movie every Christmas season. It's also one of my favourite comfort films which perks me up when I'm feeling low so I can find myself watching it at other times of the year too.
Never seen it? I will restrain my urge to yell 'WEIRDO' loudly and instead do the grown up thing of telling you a bit about it. The plot follows that of Dicken's Christmas Carol. Michael Caine plays Scrooge, Kermit is Bob Cratchit and the Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens. Don't know the storyline of the Christmas Carol? That's it - WEIRDO!
Next up is Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. This is a two part series that tends to take me a couple of days to get through. The Hogfather takes the premise of Christmas and transports it to the Discworld, turning it into Hogswatch. Owing to belief issues, Death finds himself drafted in to take on the role of the Hogfather (Father Christmas) and his granddaughter Susan finds herself roped into the mystery against her will.
The list of actors and actresses you'd recognise goes on and on. David Jason, Marc Warren, Michelle Dockery, David Warner, Tony Robinson, Nigel Planer, Ian Richardson, Joss Ackland - and on and on. The wizards at Unseen University get involved; there's a glimpse of some of the members of the Watch; and the Auditors are causing trouble again.
Third possibility is Elf. A friend was so shocked last year that I didn't own a copy that she bought me one post-haste. It's on the TV every December but now I have the film I have more freedom on when to watch it.
Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a human raised as an elf at the north pole. When his adoptive father (Bob Newhart/Professor Proton) tells him the truth, Buddy goes off in search of his real father.
James Caan (Buddy's co-creator) is not that impressed with Buddy and doesn't quite know what to make of him. He's a man who is all about business, permanently on Santa's naughty list for being concerned more with making money than things like family and being nice. Buddy causes him to re-evaluate his priorities. This is a light-harted, feel good film and one of my favourite scenes is where Buddy confronts the store Santa for not being the real deal - You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa. Classic.
If you were the weirdo who didn't know about Dicken's Christmas Carol you should probably just skip the rest of this post. Last on my list of options is Blackadder's Christmas Carol, a Christmas Carol in reverse. Don't know who Blackadder is? Seriously. Stop reading this blog post.
Mr Blackadder is a kind and saintly gentleman who gives to the needy and keeps very little back for himself. His loyal servant Baldrick can't help but wish he would be a bit more assertive so they had more in the way of Christmas treats for themselves . . .
The Spirit of Christmas comes to pay him a visit, not so much to reprimand him as to check in on how he's doing before going off to do some more serious haunting. He show Blackadder a selection of his nasty ancestors and then gives him the vision of a future dependent upon him remaining good and kind.
P.S. Muppet's Christmas Carol won in the end. Of course. 😊