My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Holiday Movies

Rather than start this post with another shot of Cromarty with another inch or so of progress, I decided to talk about movies.

Long-time WendyKnits readers (as well as my real-life friends) know that I love classic movies. And I particularly love classic holiday movies. So, inspired by an email discussion with a friend (hi, Sharon!) I started thinking about my favorite holiday movies.

Wikipedia has a fabulous, very comprehensive list of Christmas and Christmas-related movies here. I’ve got lots of favorites, both classic and contemporary

Starting with the classics, in no particular order:

Holiday Affair (1949), starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. I love Robert Mitchum in pretty much any role he played, and this movie has the bonus of a small performance by Harry Morgan (who, sadly, died yesterday) as the police lieutenant.

The Holly and the Ivy, a British drama from 1952 — very hard to find in the U.S. I am lucky to have a copy on DVD. It stars Ralph Richardson, one of my favorite actors of all time, as an English clergyman whose relatives gather at Christmas. The great cast also includes Celia Johnson, Margaret Leighton, and Denholm Eliott (who I had forgotten was in some of the Indiana Jones movies ’til I watched a marathon of them last weekend).

A Christmas Carol — the 1939 version with Reginald Owen as Scrooge. I love that real-life husband and wife Gene and Kathleen Lockhart played the Cratchits and their daughter June played one of the Cratchit children. And Leo G. Carroll was Marley’s ghost.

Scrooge — the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim, who was also a very memorable Scrooge. Mervyn Johns made a great Bob Cratchit, and if you watch closely, you’ll see Patrick Macnee as young Jacob Marley.

The Bishop’s Wife from 1947 — how can you not love a movie that casts Cary Grant as an angel?

And more contemporary films:

The Holiday (2006) — a great chick flick! I love Eli Wallach’s character in this movie and I love how nice Kate Winslet’s character is to him.

Love, Actually (2003) — what a great cast! Many of my favorite contemporary actors in great roles. I love how most of the action in this story takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

There are a number of movies that are great movies but are overexposed so they no longer make my list. For example, It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas. Yeah, I’ll still watch them, but only if there is nothing better available at the same time.

The one holiday movie I loathe and abhor? The 1983 A Christmas Story. I cannot tell you exactly why, but that movie irritates the hell out of me.

There are, of course, many more holiday movies and cartoons and specials. What are your favorites?

Speaking of Holidays

The Potter Craft Holiday Gift Guide is out. I can see lots of books that would make great holiday gifts there, particularly the first one listed under “For Her.” 😉

Obligatory Knitting Content

I’ve made a wee bit of progress on Cromarty. I can’t get much done on weeknights, but I am working on it every night.

Totally Random Photo

My odometer reading this afternoon.

I do love me a palindrome!

Lucy Sez:

“My momma is so embarrassing!”


  1. I haven’t seen any of the oldies you mentioned, but I do have a soft spot for The Holiday. And, I have to admit that we do do look forward to watching A Christmas Story every year.

    Your Cromarty looks lovely. I really like the way that shade of green you’re using comes up on my monitor.

  2. My all-time favorite holiday movie is “The Man Who Came To Dinner” with Monte Woolley and an all star cast. Check it out on IMDB. It’s one of those 40’s-era madcap comedies.

  3. My odometer just hit 110,000. It’s a 2007 Civic. Depressed yet? I know I am.

  4. I’m with you on A Christmas Story. Yuck. But you did leave off what I feel are 2 modern classics: Scrooged! and Die Hard (the 1st one). They warm my heart as much as Love Actually or The Holiday, but for different reasons.
    Connie´s last blog post ..Friday Knitting Blog (12/02/2011)

  5. anne marie in philly says:

    1951 scrooge – black and white version only (no colorized crap!)
    a charlie brown xmas
    MST3K’s “santa claus conquers the martians” and “santa claus”

    I cannot understand WHY anyone likes “a xmas story” or “it’s a wonderful life”.

    lucy, what is santa cat bringing you this year for being an extra-special good kitty?

  6. We, too, love the classics (in addition to more current fare). In fact, we just watched Christmas in Connecticut last night. I love it when Elizabeth tells Felix that she’ll get around to learning to cook one of these days, and he tells her not to because she’d “find out it’s nothing like how you write.”
    sprite´s last blog post ..ten on tuesday: favorite holiday traditions

  7. Totally Pointless Comment:
    I totally read “weeknights” as “wee-knights” and was wondering if you had started some Camelot-themed knitting for toddlers meetup. I was really confused for a few seconds. I’m better now, thanks. 🙂
    midgeling´s last blog post ..Someone’s been sleeping in my bed… And there she is!

  8. Thank you for sharing your favorite Christmas movies (and for the link to the wikipedia list). I too am very fond of Love, Actually. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I watch The Griswold’s Family Christmas (aka National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) at least once every winter season, to the dismay of my husband and grown son…

  9. Stacy and the rugrats says:

    I was so sad to hear about Harry Morgan. I remember staying up and watching reruns of M*A*S*H* with my father over and over again. Col. Potter was a class act and was made the more special by Harry Morgan. He knew how to manage Hawkeye and the gang. He will be sorely missed 🙁

  10. Gasp! How can you dislike Christmas Story? Next to the Grinch, it’s the best ever! LOL, but then, the Grinch is my all time favorite Christmas show, so what does that say about me?

    Thanks so much for mentioning the Hitchhiker scarf a while back. I instantly fell in love with the pattern & am working on my 2nd. And I won’t even go into how much yarn I have set aside for others.
    Jeannie´s last blog post ..Hitching a ride

  11. Every year my sisters and I start the holiday off with White Christmas….we know every line and every note to every song. Drives Big Daddy nuts but even he thinks it’s kind of fun.

  12. I love to watch Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, but I MUST watch White Christmas so I can sing the “Sisters” song along with my sisters!

  13. One of my classic favourites is the Christmas Eve film We’re No Angels, made in 1955. The acting chemistry/timing between Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Peter Ustinov in this film is downright magical.

    My contemporary fave is the film version of Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather (re-reading the novel each December is one of my most enjoyed holiday rituals)

  14. Christmas in Connecticut – 1945 and White Christmas – 1954 are my two absolute favorites. For me, nothing comes close to those two.

  15. MaryO1230 says:

    Like Hannah… Christmas in Connecticut and White Christmas which my husband and I always watch the day we put the tree up. Thumbs up Hannah! Love the Cromarty esp. the COLOR! Fabulous. luv.m.

  16. Alistair Sim’s Christmas Carol (b/w only!) and Christmas in Connecticut!

  17. Rae Gommel says:

    I do agree with Christmas Story never watch it. I do love watching Bell Book and Candle with Kim Novak and Jimmy Steweat.
    We saw a ‘live’ version of Grinch at Universal Studios on Monday. Made me want to watch the cartoon again.

  18. For me, it’s not Christmas until I watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, even though it’s not technically a movie

  19. My son and I love an odometer palindrome (and other patterns) also. Our recent palindrome was 123321 (yes, I drive a lot!). The pattern my son was looking forward to was 123456. We were about 7 miles short of it when my daughter needed the car to drive a friend home. It was 123467 the next day. He had to make do later in the month with 123642. 🙂
    Cromarty is also on my list. I love the cables. One of these days….

  20. jackie conkling says:

    Hi, I just got an early Christmas present of your Lace Knitting Book!!! I’m thrilled:-)

  21. My husband reminded me of an old favorite-“We’re No Angels”. This is one with Humphrey Bogart and Aldo Ray as escaped prisoners. I is one I haven’t seen in years.

  22. I have two holiday faves: The Last Holiday (w/ Queen Latifah) and The Polar Express.

  23. I hate a Christmas Story too. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” I get bad chills whenever I hear that.

    I love Scrooged and another favorite is Home Alone 2. I love that it’s in New York City and I have a soft spot for Tim Curry.
    Lauren´s last blog post ..Lazy Matzo Ball Soup

  24. I adore Holiday Inn and White Christmas! I also count Meet Me In St. Louis as Christmas since it ends at Christmas and has Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in it. (I love The Trolley Song but it isn’t exactly Christmasy!) I’ve detested “A Christmas Story” since it came out – and I was a teen in the 80’s! There’s an 80’s made-for-TV movie called “Christmas Eve” or “Christmas Dove” (alternative titles) with Loretta Young in it that is charming. You can check it out on IMDb.

  25. I completely agree w Christmas story being utter baloney. My father watches it every year. My grandma got him a leg lamp. It’s so awful. I’m glad someone feels the same

  26. Hi Wendy, thx for the movie sharing, gave me some ideas. You are coming along with calmer, wow! I wish I could upload a pic I have of my Hubble Cat Yarn (and cat)…I am planning to make a shawlette to have my cat around for a long time…she is currently 15 with Thyroid issues. Happy Holidays!

  27. Congrats on your placement on the Potter Craft Holiday Gift Guide list!

    I like the 1934 B&W version of Babes in Toyland with Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel.

    Although not a “holiday” movie per se, I like to watch The Snow Goose around the holiday season (the 1971 TV version directed by Patrick Garland, based on Paul Gallico’s novella, featuring Richard Harris and Jenny Agutter in the leading roles). Gotta love a good tearjerker once in a while. Of course, it rather ruins the Christmas Goose for me – so I should probably rethink my strategy regarding what time of year I watch this (well-deserved) award winner.
    Linda´s last blog post ..Thursday Thoughts – A Tribute to Karen

  28. And I thought I was the only person who can’t stand “A Christmas Story”! (along with “Elf” – but let’s not go there!

  29. Thanks for the movie recommendations! I really like Love Actually too – definitely one of the great holiday films. Another of my favorites, speaking of classic movies, is The Thin Man – it isn’t particularly about Christmas, but it takes place over the holiday. The first sequel, After the Thin Man, is set at New Year’s, so they make a fine pair for seasonal viewing.

  30. Tina in NJ says:

    I usually watch It’s a Wonderful Life in black and white. My birthday is in December and I remember it being on late one year on my birthday when I was in college. Gotta love Bert and Ernie. Other than that, I only have time for TV specials, especially Rudolph. We went to see Arthur Christmas a couple of weeks ago. It’s adorable, but don’t try to reconcile the timeline (this happened when, etc.). It doesn’t work.

  31. Holiday Inn?
    Miracle on 34th Street?

    And for the odometer – GEEK!

  32. In addition to Love Actually (wonderful actors and lovely interlocking stories), I adore Denholm Elliott in “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and the version of “Snowman” with David Bowie doing a brief couple of sentences at the very start. Also “Noel” with Susan Sarandon.

  33. I liked the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol, too. I’ve never been a Barbara Stanwyck fan, but have watched Christmas in Connecticut many times.

    It’s probably not considered a Christmas movie, but I always enjoy While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock this time of year.

    I usually pull out blindfold and ear plugs when the guys in the family pop in the Christmas Vacation movie. Not really necessary for them to watch, however… sadly, I think they have it memorized.
    Mary Lee´s last blog post ..Repeating the Sounding Joy

  34. I will have to say ‘Holiday Inn’. It is my favorite classic, and I don’t know why I LOVE it but detest White Christmas. I suppose because it’s the original?
    As for current movies, I love ‘While You Were Sleeping’ and ‘The Hogfather’. The second one is a BBC production based off of Terry Pratchet’s Discworld series and is a Christmas (or Hogwatch as it is called in Discworld) themed fantasy. It is quite the romp. PLUS, Death has to pretend to be the Hogfather (or Santa) and I am pretty sure he is voiced by Ian Richardson. PLUS it has the delightful Michelle Dockery, who you will recognize as Lady Mary Crowley from Downton Abbey.

  35. Hannah beat me to “Christmas in Connecticut” and “White Christmas” really fun movies. Must get them out and watch soon :^)
    Joy´s last blog post ..Baking, decorating and knitting …

  36. I like watching Home Alone even a lot of times I watch it..Thanks for sharing this nice post to us..
    Michelle´s last blog post ..Ballet bible

  37. These days the one I make a point of watching is A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard) as Scrooge (a really well done Hallmark production and I hear he uses Scrooge as his party turn). I Love A Christmas Story so much my husband got me the small version of the Fishnet Stocking Leg Lamp and it resides proudly in my living room year round. If White Christmas is on I usually watch it. Interestingly enough I find I like to listen to my “That’s Entertainment” box set of cd’s around Christmas, not sure about the connection between movie musical music and Xmas other than nostalgia and the fact that they used to load the TV with musicals around Xmas

  38. I really like looking for patterns on Ravelry and seeing pictures of Lucy with them!
    FoFo´s last blog post ..New Project!

  39. I’m so relieved somebody feels the way I do about The Christmas Story.
    Besides the typicals of White Christmas/Holiday Inn (I have to watch them by myself because I sing with them), It’s a Wonderful Life, Scrooge (Alistair Sims), and Miracle on 34th Street, I watch While You Were Sleeping and Under the Tuscan Sun.
    I wish I had the animated Grinch, the claymation Rudolph, the 3 Godfathers and The Preacher’s Wife, but I don’t. I have to try to catch them.

  40. I am so glad I am not the only one who detests The Christmas Story. I also detest anything with Scrooge in it. For some reason he just irritates me. Re knitting: I love Cromarty. but I have no need for a sweater like that. Retirement really reduces your clothing requirements.

  41. I loved Harry Morgan. I remember him from December Bride on TV and Dragnet. He was a great addition to the cast of M*A*S*H. As for holiday movies, Bishops Wife and Holiday Inn and The Holiday.

  42. My husband and I are also huge classic movie fans – we are a TCM 24×7 family (and yes, I really mean 24 … my husband often falls asleep with the TV on). Our TV is basically a TCM output device.

    Anyway my favorites include It’s a Wonderful Life and The Shop Around the Corner. The latter isn’t really a Christmas movie, but it certainly has a Christmas underlying theme to it. And both have Jimmy Stewart in a romantic role – and he makes me weak in the knees. And don’t forget Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck …so funny and so wonderful. I happen to love A Christmas Story but it is at least partially because a few of the gags in it touch on a few of our family’s favorite gags … e.g. my husband swearing a blue streak at the furnace. Those scenes make me and my daughter gasp for air with laughter.

    My husband considers Die Hard to be a Christmas movie and says it is his fave. Apparently a lot of people feel the same way.

    I know you said Christmas, but for New Year’s Eve I love Start Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The name comes from a scene in which the humans and klingons are toasting the future – the “undiscovered country.” Which strikes me as very apt for New Year’s Eve. This aired one year when we were living in Canada on New Year’s Eve. It seemed so perfect that it has become a semi-tradition for us to pop in the DVD on 12/31 … i.e. not every year, but enough that it is worth mentioning.

  43. Christmas in Connecticut and Holiday Inn–perhaps I’m a sucker for a snowy Christmas in the country.

  44. Kristine M. says:

    I’m a softie for the overplayed classic holiday movies. I love It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Scrooged, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (b&w version), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated, not the Jim Carrey travesty) and A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. I also must watch The Nutcraker with Mikhail Baryshnikov.

    I also love some of the offbeat movies too – A Diva’s Christmas Carol with Vanessa Williams, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. Ahh, the holidays bring back so many memories.

  45. LOL – my car hit 120021 (It’s paid off so I’m keeping it till it dies) the other day and I thought about taking a picture of it, too. Gotta love palindromes. I have a friend who’s phone number is a palindrome, with sequential numbers, no less. He requested and had to wait for it to become available. BTW, the sweater and Lucy are lovely, of course.
    Connie B. in OH´s last blog post ..Dyeing for a party

  46. Oh I love Alistair Sim as Scrooge. His fit of giggles at the end seems so genuine and happy.

  47. I’m so with you on ” The Christmas Story” – I hate that movie! Love “The Bishop’s Wife” and I absolutely have to watch at least one version of “The Grinch Stole Christmas” every year.

  48. Well, A Christmas Story is the only movie we all sit down as a family and watch. I have coveted a lamp like that for a long time (Don’t think it will go with our decor though). I also think of Meet Me in St. Louis as a Christmas movie. Alistair Sim is the only Scrooge for me. I also really love the little animated special called The Snowman which is narrated by David Bowie, I think. Truly charming. I have to admit I cannot watch It’s a Wonderful Life – too cloying for me.

  49. I admite that I love Elf. I find it’s a Christmas movie in the classical sense of holiday movies – about finding the good and remembering what it is to be human. I also love A Charlie Brown Christmas – if only for the music.
    Jenni´s last blog post ..In the meantime…

  50. I love all the classics previously mentioned, and for contemporary want to include the little gem, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” with Loretta Swit. It was actually a made for TV production, but follows the book to the letter. You’ve got to love the Herdmans.

  51. Lois in Boise says:

    I loved CHRISTMAS IN THE CLOUDS – very funny, with all Native American cast, and themes.

  52. Jo morgan says:

    Love the pallindromes…hate when I miss looking at them for one lousy mile. It’s a silly addiction.

    Looks like opinions of The Christmas Story are about evenly divided. I like it–the disfunctional family does Christmas. I also love Holiday Inn with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. There are a few on your list that are new to me–can’t wait to see them.

    Merry Christmas!

  53. I’m going to join the minority and say that mine would be “Its’s A Wonderful Life. My stepfather introduced it to us when I was in about second grade. We had never seen it before. We watch it every Christmas Eve, in black and white. I will only watch it then. When we were little we would hate to waatch it but now it’s a part of Christmas (Just Like Lasanga). Two others would be The Grinch and Holiday Inn. Is that a Christmas movie? I agree that the Christmas story is annoying. It just annoys me for no reason.
    Cleo´s last blog post ..My Personal Library

  54. Tonight I am throwing in my favorite Christmas Movie, An Affair to Remember” and working on the last of my gifts. All I want for Christmas is Cary Grant and maybe a copy of Wendy knits Lace!!

  55. Oh thank you for some classic movies for the holiday season. Judging by your choices of newer movies, I’m taking your word and heading to the library with your list. Cheers 🙂

  56. I can’t stand Christmas Story either; also don’t like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life” and I don’t know why. Actually “Desk Set” is one of my Christmas movies – gotta love that office Christmas party and the research staff’s wardrobes. I pretty much call any movie with a Christmas scene in it a Christmas movie – ‘When Harry Met Sally”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “You’ve Got Mail”, “A Lion in Winter”, etc.

  57. A third vote for “Hogfather” here. I like Holiday Inn but Hogfather is my new standard.

  58. It isn’t considered Christmas in this house until I’ve seen Alistair Sim do his little ‘I’m as light as a feather! Merry as a schoolboy!” dance. 🙂
    Rycrafty´s last blog post ..Double-Photo Christmas Cards

  59. I think to really really understand and enjoy the movie “Christmas Story”, you must be surrounded with too much testosterone. I have two brothers, two sons, two grandsons, and four nephews and two brothers-in-law. Sweet cuddly just doesn’t cut it at my house!

  60. i really love the albert finney scrooge. a little bit off the beaten path but also holiday favorites of mine are the vicar of dibley christmas lunch special, and rick steves’ european christmas travel show. i just stumbled across the hilarious ‘nan’s christmas carol’ (catherine tate rocks!) but it is definitely not for the kids.
    thanks for asking! merry christmas everyone!
    jen´s last blog post ..You have to be careful who you knit for.

  61. Well, my favorites have already been mentioned–Christmas in Connecticut and Scrooged. I still love the original Grinch animated film. My favorite show to watch at this time, though, is various versions of The Nutcracker ballet. I’ve seen most of the ones available on film (even[shudder] Barbie), including some very strange Russian ones. I could not bear to watch more than a minute of the Nuttiest Nutcracker (so bad), though. Usually we see a live performance every year, too, but missed this year because of a date change, among other things.

  62. One year, a “guy” cable channel was running “Bad Santa” (Billy Bob Thornton) over and over, complete with un-bleeped swearing, on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I was so shocked, I laughed and laughed. It was just what I needed to clear out the overly sweet Christmas programming. Usually, I enjoy the sweet stuff, even “It’s a Wonderful Life” (mainly because I am a big Jimmy Stewart fan still).

  63. Hmm, thanks for some good holiday movie suggestions. One of my faves that is not as well known as it deserves is “Pocketful of Miracles”–Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, a very young Ann-Margaret, and a host of other great character stars! Really wonderful.

    A modern one that I was surprised to like so well is “The Santa Clause”, first episode. I also do find Elf pretty funny in a goofy way, which is needed now and then.

    My husband (65 yrs) loves A Christmas Story (I laugh too), but his sons just don’t get it. I think it’s a generation thing!

  64. I absolutely adore Holiday Inn with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. Fred Astaire is so fantastic in this movie – such an awesome film on all accounts. Holiday Inn has become my favorite Christmas movie. This may also be because I have a crush on Fred Astaire. Christmas in Connecticut is also one of my absolute favorites.
    The Turner Classic Movies holiday collection has Christmas in Connecticut, The Shop Around the Corner (Jimmy Stewart – very cute movie), It Happened on 5th Avenue (also a good one), and the 1938 Christmas Carol. Thanks for sharing this list! I’m always on the prowl for more Christmas classics.
    Also one I watch every year (not a movie) is Pee Wee’s Christmas Special. 🙂

  65. Paula in iowa says:

    The 1930 something version of “Miracle On Thirty-fourth Street”. Hands down favorite of mine since forever. I blush to admit that I also love the Muppets’ “Christmas Carol”. Yes, as a matter of fact I do embarrass my grandchildren! It’s my duty as a grandma. Most happy Christmas to you and all you love. Paula

  66. Hier findest Du Berichte vom Angeln auf Raubfisch und jede Menge Angeltipps.

  67. I never thought I’d find another human being who disliked A Christmas Story as much as I do.

  68. I was only watching the film “Love Actually” last night, love it and I really like watching “The Holiday” as well, great film.

    Merry Christmas and all the best for 2012 🙂