Tis The Season…

John Sheda

So much to do during the Christmas season; baking cookies, buying presents, Christmas programs, cards & newsletters and visiting good ol’ St. Nick too. But we still have to find the time to enjoy the Christmas season, don’t we? One of the best ways is sitting down, getting the family together and watching a Christmas movie or two. We’ve all got our favorites; It’s A Wonderful Life; A Christmas Carol; Miracle on 34th Street are three that quickly come to mind. My all-time favorite “Scrooge” movie is the one with George C. Scott starring as Mr. Scrooge. He does a terrific job.

However, there are two great movies that the Sheda household highly recommends. They don’t get much publicity and we’re not sure why because they both have all the elements of a great classic movie. Both are centered around world wars, both are based right smack in the middle of Christmas-time and both highly have the potential to bring some moisture to your eye. Once starting them, you are glued to your seat until the final credits are finished. How’s that for a build-up? Here are our absolute two favorites:

The first one is “Joyeux Noel,” which means Merry Christmas. This is a true story set in somewhere in Europe during World War 1. It is Christmas Eve, 1914, and three armies, Germans, French & Scottish, are in extremely close proximity to each other, holed up in a defensive mode. It is bitterly cold, snow bristling through the late afternoon and evening hours. All through the day shots are fired back and forth but then as night time falls, the serenity of the season touches the armies. A professional singer on the German side gets caught up in the moment of Christmas Eve and begins singing “Silent Night.” Soon soldiers from the other two armies chime in. Before long, an informal truce is made between the three enemies and for a few hours in the midst of shooting, bombing, killing and hating, the essence of the true meaning of Christmas rings loud and clear.

The second movie we greatly enjoy revolves during World War 2. Linda Hamilton stars in this movie, simply called “Silent Night.” She is a German mother who has already lost a husband and her eldest son to the war. She knows fully well the bitterness and pain of war and she now lives in a tiny home with her other son, who is all of thirteen years old. They live right in the middle of the war. Again, it’s Christmas Eve, bitterly cold and the snow swirling around. The home has little heat, Mom & son have very little food and know that they probably won’t survive the brutal winter. Then it gets worse. A trio of American soldiers come bursting into the house. One is badly injured and the Sarge is concerned with only one thing—keeping his soldier alive. The mother demands no weapons come into the home. Later in the late afternoon hours, a trio of German soldiers find the house, needing a place to get in out of the sub-zero weather. American and German soldiers under one roof for one Christmas evening, makes for a great story.

We watch them every year and they always send a sentimental chill down my spine and a few tears down my cheeks. So there you have it. A couple of really poignant movies for Christmas. Not sure if you can find them anywhere but hopefully you can.

So, what’s YOUR favorite Christmas movie? Let me know at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319.327.4640. Which “Scrooge” movie do you like the best?????