Celebrate With Us: 2018 Staff Holiday Favorites

Name: Jessica T.

Social Media Handles: @andherewe_go

Role/Year Joined: Staff Writer, 2017

Holiday Pick: Timeless, “The Miracle of Christmas”

Why: All right, so, I may have cheated with this one just a little, because it’s an episode that has yet to air. But without a doubt, the Timeless two-hour series finale movie (though I’m still hoping that it isn’t the definite end) is what I’m looking forward to on television this holiday season. (It airs on NBC on December 20th and good ratings may mean good things in the future…). We’ve already caught a glimpse of what’s to come—the bunker all lit up and decorated for Christmas, the triumphant return of the Time Team, and a hint of the time periods they’ll be visiting. I’ve missed this series so much that spending part of the holidays with them will be a great Christmas present. I’m ready to get comfy in my favorite chair with some hot cocoa and watch the Time Team back in action to (fingers crossed!) save Rufus.

Name: Johanna C.

Social Media Handles: @ElleTraduit

Role/Year Joined: Staff Writer, 2011

Holiday Pick: It’s A Wonderful Life

Why: I know it’s cliched by this point, but I actually unironically love this movie. No holiday season is complete without watching it with my family. Think about it, though: what a strange movie to have become a holiday classic! It’s hardly all warmth and light and treacly happiness. This is the story of a deeply frustrated man whose life dreams are crushed at every turn until he’s driven to contemplate suicide. It’s the story of how George Bailey learns to find happiness and fulfillment in different things than what he’s been dreaming about for his whole life – and in the process, learns just how much he means to his family, friends, and his whole town. It’s a beautiful, poignant illustration of how much one person can matter and make a difference, even if that person can’t imagine that they really are important. Every time I watch it, I tear up at multiple places from the beginning to (especially!) the end. And what better lesson to take to heart than the one that Clarence left in his copy of Tom Sawyer for George, after he gets his wings? “Remember no man (no person) is a failure who has friends.”

Name: Kathryn M.

Social Media Handles: @kathrynmudgway

Role/Year Joined: Staff Writer, 2018

Holiday Pick: The Polar Express (book/movie)

Why: My holiday season wouldn’t be the same without The Polar Express. Whether it’s the book or movie, it’s a tradition that goes back to my childhood and something I’ve kept up as an adult. There’s something about it that makes it the perfect kick starter. We also got Josh Groban’s Believe out of the movie and that’s something I’ll always be grateful for. If you’re planning on reading the book or watching the movie, don’t forget to make a cup of hot chocolate or festive drink of your choice!

Name: Katie Q.

Social Media Handles: @_kataq_

Role/Year Joined: Staff Writer, 2014

Holiday Pick: The Star Wars Holiday Special

Why: It’s the Star Wars film that won’t go away, no matter how much George Lucas wishes it would. The Star Wars Holiday Special is one of those rare movies that is so terrible, you just want to watch it over and over again. It’s a movie that you can’t take too seriously – you need to have a good sense of humor, a lot of patience, and maybe a lot of very strong eggnog, too. I’ve turned it into a holiday tradition of gathering with friends to make fun of something we love dearly. It’s got everything that you could wish for in a holiday special: uninterrupted wookiee grunts without translation, nonsensical musical numbers, random disconnected sequences, and the introduction of everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, Boba Fett. It might not be a good movie, but it’s a great time.

Name: Kelly S.

Social Media Handles: @gAyCromwell

Role/Year Joined: Staff Writer, 2014

Holiday Pick: Jack Frost (1998)

Why: Besides holding a special place in my heart and practically serving as a yearly tradition for my family and I, Jack Frost is a great holiday movie to watch this year! Starring Michael Keaton and Kelly Preston, this film is a Frosty the Snowman of sorts, but in reverse. After the unexpected passing of Charlie’s beloved father (Keaton), thanks to some holiday magic, he comes back to life as a snow man! What I love about this movie is that while it’s set during the holiday time, it’s not filled to the brim with Christmas mentions. It’s more a story of family and overcoming loss. Definitely expect to laugh, cry, and reminisce while watching this film. Or if you’re like my Mom, swoon over Michael Keaton in the beginning. Plus, there’s a great soundtrack to boot – Hanson, The Dixie Chicks, and Keaton himself!

Name: Kush J.

Social Media Handles: @wingster55

Role/year joined: Staff Writer, 2018

Holiday Pick: “Dholi Taro” the song from Bollywood movie Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam

Why: It’s everything I love about Diwali season in one song. The religious aspect in the beginning. All the lights. Garba. I kick off every season with it.

Name: Mackenzie C.

Role/Year Joined: Staff Writer, 2011

Holiday PickThe West Wing, “In Excelsis Deo”

Why: I watch the first four West Wing Christmas episodes every year, because they are all awesome. But “In Excelsis Deo” might be the most perfect – and it’s certainly the most self-contained (meaning you don’t have to watch the rest of the show to understand what’s going on). Toby’s journey of finding out his connection to a homeless veteran who dies near Christmas day, and then realizing he can’t just let the man disappear without recognition, is so moving. Richard Schiff is fantastic in this episode, and I have to give a shout-out to the late great Kathryn Joosten’s “I miss my boys” speech. Lastly, the final montage of the military funeral with “The Little Drummer Boy” playing over it, makes me tear up just thinking about it. What a beautiful, heartfelt, and very seasonally apt episode!

Name: Richard F.

Social Media Handles: @rlink94

Role/Year Joined: Staff Writer, 2018

Holiday Pick: Doctor Who “A Christmas Carol”

Why: We all know the classic Christmas specials. Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and the rest. Yet ever since 2010 there has been one special I’ve found myself watching: Doctor Who “A Christmas Carol.” A Christmas Carol is probably one of the first cases of time travel in literature, so it was a stroke of genius to mix the classic tale with one of most iconic time travelers in fiction. It does what any good reimagining does: take the basic outline, but tweak it by honoring the original and making it work within a new context. Every frame of this episode just feels like Christmas. The visuals, music, and acting just combine to make something so uniquely Christmas. Unlike previous Doctor Who adventures, which were massive events built around a regeneration, this is just a timeless Christmas tale. Digging into the idea that during the holidays, people can become better. With no new Doctor Who Christmas this year, why not go back and revisit the best?

Name: Tatiana H.

Social Media Handles: @myrcellasear

Role/Year Joined: Junior Managing Editor, 2016

Holiday Pick: The Muppet Christmas Carol

Why: This was my favorite holiday film as a child – nay, it was my favorite film period save for Matilda – and I would watch it at least once a week on the VCR. The story of A Christmas Carol is a classic, reminding us to be grateful for what we have, to look out for others who have less, and to remember that it’s never too late to start over… Until it really is too late, so just turn that new leaf over now! And, of course, you can’t go wrong when you add adorable Muppets to your Scroogey tale of greed, loss, and the importance of loving your fellow creatures.

Thank you for all of your support this year, everyone! We couldn’t have made it this far without you. From our family to yours, have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

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