I can’t help myself. Even though I celebrate it as a secular holiday marking the Winter Solstice, I love everything about Christmas: the trees, the lights, the ornaments, the cookies, the goofy movies, the goofier music, buying and wrapping presents, the candy, the scents of pine and spiced cider…all of it. I have more ornaments than I can fit on a 7-ft tree—though I try to—and I buy more every year. I spent last night hanging tinsel on my tree one strand at a time. And it’s my goal to own (and watch annually) every version of A Christmas Carol ever made.
To me, Christmas is the most magical, romantic time of the year—two elements that feature strongly in A Christmas Carol. And one of my favorite versions is the recent Doctor Who version, which I discovered as a standalone Blu-ray disc on Amazon last night, and is currently winging its way to my home. The Doctor hops through time to play the ghost to an old miser in hopes of prompting a change of heart that will save a space liner in the present—carrying the Doctor’s companions, Amy and Rory, on their honeymoon—from crashing on his planet. It’s one of the sweetest, heartstring-tugging episodes (on a show that has many), and I look forward to having it on hand to watch every year in my Christmas line-up.
Another favorite holiday movie is Bell, Book and Candle, which is also full of magic and romance. Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak), a restless modern-day witch, feels something is missing in her life. On Christmas Eve, she seduces New York publishing-house editor Shepherd Henderson (James Stewart) to keep him from marrying her old college rival on Christmas day. When Shep finds out she’s a witch who used magic on him to make him fall in love with her, the real fun begins.
Bell, Book and Candle is actually my second favorite movie of all time (although I’d change the ending if it were up to me) and features one of the actors (Stewart) from my number one favorite movie, another must-see in my annual viewing festival: It’s A Wonderful Life. I think we all know how the plot goes, so I won’t bother to recap it here, but suffice it to say, this movie has magic and romance in spades. Maybe the two always go together.
In my upcoming January release, Prince of Tricks, Book 1 in my Demons of Elysium series, my two naughty demons spend some time in the world of Man in the newly-established Russian Federation in January of 1992. I wanted to find a holiday movie they could watch on TV (the big holiday celebration in Russia is New Year’s, and goes on for a week), and while Googling Russian movies from that year, I discovered that none other than IAWL actually aired there, as the first American movie ever to be shown on Russian television, on January 5, 1992.
The timing was perfect, but the movie was even more perfect. I’d written a private joke between the two demons at the beginning of the related series, The House of Arkhangel’sk (which takes place in the present day), referencing IAWL. Vasily quotes the beginning of Zu-Zu’s iconic line, “Every time a bell rings...” after the angelic grand duchess they’re holding for ransom has just discovered her wings. Even I didn’t know the backstory behind that private joke. It just popped in there, and the line worked, so I left it, never realizing my demons would later turn out to have seen that movie in Russia on Vasily’s first fall to the world of Man. It seemed like a minor Christmas miracle. ;)
But lest anyone think Prince of Tricks gets too sweet and sappy, I should point out that this scene is sandwiched between hot m/m demon sex and an even hotter m/m demon sex foursome, because that’s where my mind goes whenever I’m writing about these guys. Even IAWL couldn’t make them behave for long.
Right now I’m working on the third book in the series, Master of the Game, heading toward the climactic scene. Once again, I find I've set it at Christmas-time, with all the magic and romance of the season. I seem to be addicted to this time of year.
So what’s your favorite holiday movie? Does it have the both the crucial elements of magic and romance?