Name That Christmas Special

A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide

Many thanks to Rachel McMillan (@rachkmc), author of the new book ‘A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide’, for sending over a copy for me to enjoy. I got it yesterday and read it right away, all in one sitting. It’s a great book full of ideas for new traditions, movie night suggestions, and a number of new ways to look at and enjoy the holiday season.

I knew I was going to enjoy it when it started out by referencing old school Christmas movies that only the hard core Christmas movie fan drops into conversation. Secret Santa from 2003 isn’t exactly It’s a Wonderful Life, but there is a good number of us who enjoy more than just the usual suspects. Nice to see the author knows her stuff. My only disappointment with this is that it never lists the year the movies came out. With so much overlap in titles and certainly theme, I would think the year would help differentiate between the movies, especially going forward, as more and more titles get re-used. Anyway, definitely a minor quibble.

The book bills itself as a movie guide, but it’s so much more with festive facts, wonderful ideas and tips on keeping the holiday merry. It lists a lot of Christmas movies in groupings that will appeal to people new to the modern Christmas movie explosion, so they can find the customized viewing list that might suit their personal preferences. Because I already knew the movies, all the extras really stood out to me, but anyone who’s not up on all their movies will definitely find a lot of titles they’ll want to seek out.

I especially like the design of the book, with wonderfully fun and light illustrations, keeping everything colourful and joyful. It is a great looking book, and a pleasure to read through and find ideas and suggestions from. I’m also a sucker for hard cover Christmas books, so it should be noted, I went into this extra excited when I opened the mail and it wasn’t a flimsy paperback. I mean, I know that’s a ridiculous suggestion that paperbacks are less worthy, but they are less… permanent, so I was very pleased to see this as a most substantial offering. I like the idea that copies I share will be around a while, in great shape, hopefully absorbed and passed down for others as well.

But I very much enjoyed reading the book, devoured it quite quickly in fact, and I have plans to go back and re-read it again, this time with a pen in hand, making note of some movies I may have missed (or forgotten), some tips and maybe even a recipe or party idea. I know I didn’t always recognize the movies from the brief summaries, but that’s a fault of too many Christmas movies, not the descriptions. I’ve watched A LOT of Christmas movies, forgive me if I can’t immediately place which Christmas that was almost ruined but then was miraculously saved without a picture of the leads, but I enjoyed when I did recognize the descriptions of movies I’d particularly enjoyed previously, as the reflected glow of a sentimental favourite became part of the mix.

As I was reading it, I thought it would make a great stocking stuffer for the Christmas lover on your list, though it’s a little more substantial than what I consider stocking stuffers, it’s a gift in it’s own right, but regardless, I think of it as an excellent addition to Christmas, something to make the merry merrier, or maybe even convert some of the less-than-merrys. It’s probably more for the person who’s already converted, but the ideas it contains are for everyone, so hopefully the merry among us will pick up a copy and share the joy with everyone they know…

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