Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

I’ve heard of Christmas in July, but Christmas in April?

What?

Oh well!

So I have fallen behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club last year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. So at the time it was my turn it was Christmas.

And you know how much I love Christmas

So what better book to read then, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? My favorite book to read at Christmastime!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This won’t be a long post as I talked about it two years ago during my 30-day book challenge (which I never finished. Oops!)

I love this book so much. I’m not sure what else I could add. I love the history of it and how it changed the world by opening peoples’ hearts and creating reforms to help the poor; along with the Bank Holiday act in 1871, making Christmas an official day of rest. 19 years later, every state in America had adopted the same practice.

“I have endeavoured[sic], in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour[sic] with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
Their faithful friend and Servant,
CD. [Charles Dickens]

I love how Dicken’s describes the sins of greed, pride, and selfishness:

“I wear the chain I forged in Life,’ replied the Ghost [Marley]. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on, of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it…’Or would you know,’ pursued the Ghost, ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you wear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured[sic] on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”

A good warning to a of us.

And how they describe Scrooge’s old boss Fezziwig. Unlike Scrooge, Fezziwig always liked to treat his clerks right; he may have only gave a little, but he understood the true meaning of Christmas. To give.

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome: a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up-what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great, as if it cost a fortune.”

And of course Christmas present:

How he spreads cheer everywhere.

And of course, Christmas-Yet-to-Come:

The redemption of Scrooge and the all-around happiness of the book. Just a fantastic and inspiring story:

“And as Tiny Tim observed,

God Bless Us Every One!”

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Common Life, The Wedding Story

For more on A Christmas Carol, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

For more Charles Dickens, go to You Know Me So Well

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

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I’ll Give You the Moon: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Romantic Moment #12

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It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

So exactly one year ago I did another It’s A Wonderful Life post for the Valentine’s Day countdown. I swear I didn’t plan this, I only got the idea for it when I was doing my The Notebook post as Noah wanting to redo a house made me think of how Mary loved that old house and she and George renovate it for their family.

Now this movie holds a special and dear place in my heart. Even though it is now considered a Christmas movie, it is one of my favorites to watch anytime because of the great message. Here is one man who helps and touches so many others, without even realizing the affect he has on everyone. He may not be a famous or a millionaire; but in his kind and quiet way is helping everyone in the town. I also love it because Jimmy Stewart is in it, and he’s my favorite actor. Plus the film is directed by the amazing Frank Capra. He is my second favorite director and I simply adore practically every film he has made.

We start off It’s a Wonderful Life, with all these people praying for George Bailey, (Jimmy Stewart); for God to please help him in his time of need. God decides to send in an angel to help him. We hear all this from Joseph, an angel overseer, who selects Clarence for the job. Joseph fills Clarence in on George’s backstory so he will know what lead George up to this point in his life.

From a young age George was a leader and eager to travel the world. When he was 12, he saved his brother from hypothermia, rescuing him when he fell into some icy water and sacrificing his ear. He works at a pharmacy and saves Mr. Gower, the pharmacist, from jail time when he points out that Mr. Gower accidentaly messed up the dosage on account of him being distraught over his own son’s death. We are also introduced to Mary, a girl a few years younger than George, who declares she will marry him and love him forever.

Fast forward the years and George is now 22, and eager to go off into the world. He was working for his father at the family’s Building, Saving, & Loan; until his brother graduated, and now he is going to use all the money he put aside and go off for college. That night he goes to Harry’s grad party and hijinks ensue. He and Mary fall into the pool and enjoy a romantic moon-filled night.  But unfortunately as George and Mary are getting closer together; George’s father becomes ill and dies. The only way to keep the family business going and save people from evil Mr. Potter is to stay. So George does for another four years, sending Harry off to college instead.

Fast forwarding again, and Harry, George’s brother, is back from college. But instead of staying, he is going to work for his wife’s father. George is distraught at having to stay in the town longer, but after finally admitting his feelings for Mary, is happily and ready to start a life with her.

It is after George and Mary’s wedding, and the two are excited to leave the town for their honeymoon.Once again as George is preparing to leave the town, something happens to get him to stay. (The man just can’t get a break.) There is a run on the bank and to calm everyone down, George and Mary sacrifice all of their honeymoon trip money. That night he goes home, and Mary has taken an old abandoned house and made it their home.

Potter becomes worried about George’s affordable housing project, and tries to hire him, but is turned down by George’s morals. He and Mary start a family.

WWII comes and George still can’t leave, his ear keeps him from enlisting, but Harry makes all kinds of victories and earns all kinds of medals.

On Christmas Eve, the Bailey’s are preparing for a Christmas welcome for Harry. Sadly, forgetful Uncle Billy loses the money is supposed to withdraw. Potter calls in an audit and sicks him on George, hoping to get the Savings and Loan. George looks everywhere but can’t find the money. He even goes to Potter (who secretly has the money) sends the cops over to arrest him for bank fraud.

George is desperate and when Clarence comes he wishes he was never born. Clarence grants his wish and he sees without him, the affordable housing project, and all the things he does to help the people; the town is now full of sleazy nightclubs, stripper joints, bars, pawn shops, etc. Without him Mr. Gower was sent to prison for poisoning the child, as there was no George to stop him. Martini does not own the bar, as he was never granted a loan by George. George’s friend Violet Bick is a stripper and gets arrested as a pickpocket; as George wasn’t around to help her out and she had no other alternative. Ernie is helplessly poor, with his family having forsaken him. Uncle Billy has been in an insane asylum for many years since he lost his brother and the family business. Harry is dead as a result of George not being there to save him from drowning, and the servicemen he would have saved also died. George’s mother is a bitter widow, and Mary is a shy, single, librarian. Clarence then explains how George single-highhandedly prevented this dire fate. He, and he alone, kept Potter in check, preventing the town from descending into squalor and vice.

George wishes to live again and Clarence grants it. He runs home to face the bank examiner, the auditor, and the police. He doesn’t care as he is with his family. Everyone he knows brings money to help pay the $25,000. His brother Harry skips dinner with the President to be home and support George.

Most Romantic Moment:

So this year’s most romantic moment comes right after George had visited Harry’s graduation party. There he ran into his best friend’s sister, Mary, who had also just graduated. Mary has always had a crush on George and he has realized that she is no longer a little girl. The two dance the night away, falling into the pool and getting wet.

George is walking Mary home and throws a rock at an old house (something everyone does in the town). If you hit a window, then your wish will come true. George throws the rock and hits the window. When Mary asks about his wish, George tells Mary about how he wants to leave Bedford Falls. Mary listens, picks up a rock and throws it herself, hitting the window. George tries to get her to tell her what the wish was, but she won’t say anything. George tries to get more out of her asking what she wants.

George Bailey: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.

It is sooooo romantic!!!! Here he is telling Mary that anything she wants he will try and get for her. That nothing is too much for her, even the moon is not too far out of reach! Anything is possible when they are together. He would do anything for her, anything.  I would love it if a guy said that to me. Class A pick up line! 🙂

For more on It’s a Wonderful Life check out the 25 Films of Christmas

On the 7th Day ‘Til Christmas: The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

On the 7th day ’til Christmas my blogger gave to me

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The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

I absolutely love this movie! After all it has Cary Grant! What could be a better Christmas present than that?

So the film starts off with Cary Grant going about the town helping out people, such as a blind man crossing the street. He observes the beautiful Julia Brougham, Loretta Young, eyeing a hat and runs into Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). He pretends that the two are old friends and asks him how Julia and her husband, Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) are. The Professor tells them that Henry has no time for anyone these days. He is solely focused on getting money from the wealthy to build a cathedral.

We then switch to the Brougham house. Julia is waiting for Henry to finish his meetings so they can have dinner. Henry is tired and worn out trying to get his cathedral built. A wealthy member of his church, Mrs. Hamilton, will give him all he needs to create it, but only if it is how she wants it built, in memoriam to her late husband. The two are at an impasse as Henry is not willing to sacrifice his principals.

“Bishop Henry Brougham: Mrs Hamilton, this cathedral cannot be designed for the glory of an individual.  It has to be created for all the people.”

Mrs. Hamilton doesn’t approve of a speech as that and reminds Henry she has the power to destroy everything he is working for.

“Mrs. Hamilton: You will build that cathedral as I want it or you will not build it at all.”

After everyone leaves, Julia tells Henry how proud she is of him, but Henry is not pleased. He is just more disheartened than ever. Angry with Mrs. Hamilton, he promises to get that money, claiming there are many other rich people in this town. Julia tries to get him to focus on their family and marriage; trying to have him focus on what is truly important. But, Henry just won’t listen. Julia gives him a Roman coin that Professor Wutheridge gave her to give him; but Henry just angrily screams that it is worthless. Henry starts to realize how he is acting and attempts to make amends with Julia. He tries to make plans to go out with Julia the next day for lunch at the restaurant they always used to go to, Michels. Instead he ends up having to go to a luncheon for the church. Henry feels as if he is on the brink and beings to pray.

Suddenly Cary Grant appears in his office.

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And tells him he is an angel. Henry is shocked and at first doesn’t believe him, but Dudley, Cary Grant, assures him he is an angel and is just wearing his wings “on the inside”. Julia interrupts their discussion and Dudley introduces himself as Henry’s new assistant. Julia leaves, and Henry and Dudley resume. Dudley tells Henry to take him on faith, and just as he appeared, he disappears.

The next day the bishop is very worried as he can’t seem to get money out of anyone else. Dudley arrives to help, but Henry is not eager to give him any tasks as he is still unsure if Dudley is who he says he is. Julia comes to remind Henry about their date, but Henry has to break the news that he has a luncheon and other meetings. Dudley offers to go, but Henry doesn’t want to send him. Julia is angry at the broken promise, and takes their daughter Debby out; giving their housekeeper the day off. Henry asks Dudley what he will do, and Dudley says he is going to spend the day organizing the office. Henry leaves, and Dudley spends a total of 2 mins organizing; using all his angel powers to finish early. Dudley has decided that to help Henry see what is most important, he is going to make him jealous.

Julia and Debby are in the park, and Debby is sad that the other kids won’t let her join in their snowball fight. Dudley appears out of nowhere and offers to help her. He calls over the boy in charge, (little trivia fact: he’s the same kid who plays young George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life), and tells him that Debby will prove she is a contender. Dudley uses his angel powers to make her a great snowball thrower so that all the kids want to play with her.

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He invites Julia to go out for lunch with him, if she thought Michel‘s was a nice place. Julia says she would but that there is no one to watch Debbie as Mathilda is out for the day. Dudley uses his angel magic, and Matilda appears telling Julia she was able to finish all her errands and would be glad to take Debbie with her. With that issue solved the two go off to Michel‘s.

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Dudley orders her meal in French, reads her palm, and tells her she is beautiful; giving her the attention she has been starved of these past few years.  He also buys her the hat she has been drooling over.

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Meanwhile, Henry has come home early to have lunch with his wife, to find her out with Dudley. Henry starts to feel jealous at this and lonely.

While Dudley and Julia are out they run into the Professor.

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He invites them over for a drink to celebrate the Christmas spirit. The two go over and discuss the book the Professor is writing. The Professor tells them that the book he has been working on for the past 20 years is nonexistent. He hasn’t been able to write anything as he feels that anything he could has already been done. Dudley gives the Professor back his coin and tells him all about this secret history on the coin. Julius Caesar minted for Cleopatra that were destroyed by Julius’ wife. All except one. The Professor is now inspired to write and eager to start.

Meanwhile back at home Henry is freaking out. His wife and Dudley are late. The help are all won over by Dudley and are preparing a special dessert and dinner for him. Henry is extremely angry with Dudley, but hasn’t quite figured out why.

The next day, Julie is very happy; and Henry noticing this change compliments her. Julia thanks him and reminds him about the St. Timothy choir performance. Henry promises to be there.

Downstairs Dudley is telling is telling Debby a story of about David. He also quotes her the 23rd Psalm. Henry watches them and becomes upset about how Dudley seems to be replacing him with his wife and children.

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Henry ends up having to meet with Mrs. Hamilton at the same time as the rehearsal, promising to get to there as soon as he can. Dudley asks to see Mrs. Hamilton, but doesn’t trust him and sends him with his wife instead.

When Henry sees Mrs. Hamilton he promises to fulfill all her demands, and tries to leave. Unbeknownst to him, Dudley used his angel powers to have him stuck in his chair. Butler Stevens and Mrs. Hamilton try to get him out, but can’t.

Over at St. Timothy’s, the reverend is disheartened that only two of the boys choir showed up to the rehearsal. Dudley tells the two to start singing. And soon, all the kids appear.

Henry ends up calling his housekeeper to bring him another pair of pants, as he is still stuck in the chair.

Dudley gets a cab and takes Julia and the cabdriver, Sylvester ice-skating. They all are magically able to do all kinds of flips and turns.

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When the two get home, Henry is extremely angry. He starts yelling at Dudley as soon as Julia has left the room.

Bishop Henry Brougham: You stopped me from joining you!

Dudley:  Julia had a very good time.

Bishop Henry Brougham: Well, I didn’t.

Dudley: If you’d sent me to Mrs Hamilton, I would have gone. You didn’t. So I represented you with your wife.”

Henry tells Dudley to leave as his work is competeled. He will have the Cathedral. Dudley tries to show him that there are more important things than a cathedral. There are people out there hurting and starving that could use the cathedral money for that instead. Henry fires him on the stop; praying he will leave. Dudley goes; but to Henry’s disappointment everyone in the house is in dismay that Dudley is gone.

The next day Julia and Henry go off to make all kinds of house calls, ending on Mrs. Hamilton. Right after they leave Dudley comes and magically decorates their Christmas tree.

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He also rewrites Henry’s sermon, having the typewriter magically take it down. He then proceeds to Mrs. Hamilton’s place.

He goes to Mrs. Hamilton’s and discovers a secret song composed with love from Allen, although her husband’s name was George. He plays the song on  the harp (of course), and Mrs. Hamilton comes down and starts talking to Dudley.

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She tells him that she was going to marry Allen, but became afraid because he had no money or job, Allen died shortly after. She married George, but never loved him. After George died, she felt guilty as he really loved her. Since then she’s been building monuments to him. Dudley convinces her to do something more meaningful.  When Henry and Julia come; Mrs. Hamilton tells them that she wants all her money to go to charity and to have Henry direct it.

He sends Julia home and goes over to see the Professor. He tells the Professor that Dudley is an angel and has stolen his wife and child. He doesn’t know what to do. The Professor convinces Henry that he has to fight for Julia. Henry is encouraged and takes off for home.

Dudley comes home and speaks to Julia. Julia becomes angry with what Dudley tells her, she doesn’t like how he seems to be hitting on her. She tells him to leave forever, and runs up the stairs. Henry threatens to beat up Dudley as he wants to fight for Julia. Dudley lets him know that his mission is complete and that he is leaving, when he goes no one will remember anything about Dudley.

“Bishop Henry Brougham: I don’t trust you, Dudley.

Dudley: You may, Henry. Because your prayer has been answered.

Bishop Henry Brougham: That’s not true. I was praying for a cathedral.

Dudley: No, Henry. You were praying for guidance. That has been given to you.”

Dudley leaves and Henry runs upstairs to be with his wife and child. He has finally remembered that spending time with family is the most important thing. Julia and Henry leave for the church so he can give his Christmas Eve sermon.

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Dudley stops by to listen for a bit before he takes off and returns to heaven.

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12 Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas

For the previous post, go to On the 8th Day ’til Christmas: Holiday in Handcuffs

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For more on The Bishop’s Wife, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more on Cary Grant, go to Anything Can Happen: An Affair to Remember (1957)

On the 11th Day ‘Til Christmas: The Santa Clause (1994)

On the 11th day ’til Christmas my blogger gave to me

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The Santa Clause (1994)

I first saw the film when I was about five or six and absolutely loved it. It is such an amazing film, and answers almost all the questions one has ever asked about how Santa makes his night flight possible. Tim Allen was amazing, as he is in everything, and Eric Lloyd was simply adorable as Charlie.

Who could say no to that adorable face?

Who could say no to that adorable face?

The script was just amazing as the lines are sooo goood! I recommend it for any family to watch, I know I watch it every year.

The film is about self-centered, divorced, father, Tim Allen as Scott Calvin; being tricked into becoming Santa Clause. The film starts out with him being late to getting his son, as he has chosen to hang out at his Toy Maker Company’s Christmas party. He has a fight with his ex-wife and her husband Neil, a psychiatrist, because they have told Charlie that Santa isn’t real. I really hate Neil, he is such an awful guy.

Ugh

Ugh

He is so controlling of Charlie, and is always trying to make these huge decisions about him when he is not even his father. He needs to back off and respect that Scott is the father and the one to make crucial decisions.

Scott has not prepared anything for their Christmas Eve dinner. He wants to start the meal but realizes that to cook his frozen turkey, it’s going to take a long time. He then decides to put it in the oven on the highest temperature possible, burning up everything. This causes them to go to Denny’s because it is the only place open. Just like in A Christmas Story, the evening out proves to be hilarious.

After the two return home, Scott reads Charlie the book Twas the Night Before ChristmasShortly after the two fall asleep they find themselves being visited by Santa. Although the visit doesn’t turn out as expected. Scott reluctantly ends up becoming Santa himself.

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Sarah the Little Girl: Santa?
Scott Calvin: Scott Calvin.
Sarah the Little Girl: How come your clothes are so baggy?
Scott Calvin: Because Santa is… watching his saturated fats. [gestures obesity]
Sarah the Little Girl: How come you don’t have a beard?
Scott Calvin: Because I shaved!  [instantly reveals an unwrapped present for her, out of his bag] Now, you want this doll or not? Go back to sleep.”

The deliver everything and the reindeers take them to the North Pole where everything is explained by Bernard, the head elf.

What a cutie!

What a cutie!

The next day Scott wakes up back at home in his bed; convinced everything was just a dream.

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Now I really love the irony in this film. Here we have a self-absorbed, toy-inventor who was given the job of being the most unselfish toymaker. Of course Scott doesn’t believe he is Santa, but even though he chooses to live in denial, his body has already transforming. No matter what he does; he gains a belly like a bowlful of jelly, long white whiskers (a beard), and can’t stop wearing red.

And through this all Charlie is just as adorable as ever, telling everyone that his dad is Santa.

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“Neil: What about Santa’s reindeer? Have you even seen a reindeer fly?
Charlie: Yes.
Neil: Well, I haven’t.
Charlie: Have you ever seen a million dollars?
Neil: No.
Charlie: Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean is doesn’t exist.”

Here is where the story gets sad. Stupid Neil tries to take over everything and convinces the mom to get rid of Scott’s visiting rights as he feels Scott’s appearance will be damaging to Charlie. But Scott manages to manipulate the mom into letting him see Charlie at Thanksgiving. Charlie is finally able to convince Scott that he really is Santa. Just as Scott has finally accepted who he is, Bernard shows up and whisks them all away to the North Pole. However, they forgot to let the mom know about Charlie and she spends the next month worried about him.

Scott really gets into being Santa; and he works with the other elves and Charlie to complete all that needs to be done. They also do some major improvements with the sled and suit. Before you know it, it’s Christmas and they are heading out to deliver presents.

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Little do they know that the police are waiting for them. Not only do they have a ton of cops at Charlie’s house, but they are picking up every Santa in that radius and hauling them off to jail.

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When Scott does go to the house to drop off the presents, he ends up being arrested and taken in. This scene always reminded me of  Santa Clause is Coming to Town, as he gets caught in a similar way.

My favorite part is when they interrogate him. It’s hilarious.

When the Elves back at Mission Control realize something is wrong, they send out the Elven SWAT Team, E.L.F.S, to break him out.

I always say that line when I see tinsel, “tinsel, not just for decorating.”

So Santa gets out and clears everything up with his ex-wife. Everything ends happily as he goes out to deliver the presents and his ex-wife allows him to see Charlie anytime he wants.

It’s just a great, family film. Beloved by everyone.

Unfortunately, the sequels were not as good. They lacked the same quality of writing and hilarity. Don’t waste your time with them, but watch this one over and over! 😀

watch movie over and over

Merry Christmas!

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12th Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas

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For more on The Santa Clause, go to Episode VI: Return of the Favorite Movie Lines List

For more on Santa Clause, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more on Disney, go to CANDY-TIME