Some things I eagerly anticipate every Christmas:

Die Hard
Never was I happier than last year, Christmas 2009, when I came home from doing our final Christmas Eve service (probably around 11:45pm) to find my family wrapping presents and just starting Die Hard in my living room. Nothing puts me in the mood more than hearing Run-DMC starting “Christmas in Hollis” as De’voreaux White exclaims, “This IS Christmas music!” And then, of course, brilliance ensues. Villains are villainous, heroes are heroic, and the Nakatomi building is saved. Just the way Jesus would do it.

“The Night of the Meek” – The Twilight Zone
As a child, we’d watch this episode of the classic TV show every year, as we tried to put needle and thread through popcorn…a tough job. In the episode, a laid-off (and alcoholic) department store Santa comes across a bag of gifts lying in an alley. Moved to give the gifts, he is as happy as he’s ever been until they’re gone. Depressed again, he slumps back into the alley…where elves and a sleigh await. They say that they’ve been waiting for him, and that they’ve got a lot more work to do. He is Santa Claus. The act of giving has, in fact, turned him into the ultimate gift giver! Just a hugely comforting childhood memory, and a reminder that a laid-off drunk can be the recipient of the greatest gift ever. You can watch the full episode HERE.

A Christmas Story
An obvious classic. And one I’m protective of. I watched this every year as a kid, sometimes more than once. I sort of hate the fact that everyone knows and loves this movie. It’s mine! I feel the same way about Monty Python and the Holy Grail…I can’t watch either with people who will quote along with them…they’re sullying my childhood! But, whatever the viewing situation, nothing is better than Darren McGavin shouting, “Not a finger!”

A Christmas Memory
A story by Truman Capote, this is a sweet little Christmas tale. Capote narrates, and is wonderful. Again, just a warm memory from my own childhood. Mismatched misfits care deeply for one another, and commiserate over terrible Christmas presents: socks.

Bushfire Moon
Seen on U.S. TV as “Miracle Down Under,” this is another little-seen classic from my childhood. Man, Christmas really brings back the childhood memories, doesn’t it? Could you guess that this is a Christmas movie set in Australia? Where Christmas happens in the SUMMER? It’s just crazy enough to involve dingos, an authentic yule log shipped all the way from England, and a full helping of familial warmth.

Year-End Lists
One of the most entertaining things about the Christmas season is reading other people’s year-end lists. My favorite so far is The A.V. Club’s 15 Worst Films of 2010. Enjoy!

Sheltering from Christmas Music
And finally, maybe my favorite entertainment of all comes the day after Christmas (Boxing Day to you Brits) when I can finally turn on some regular music and escape the repetitive droning that is Christmas music without being called an insufferable Scrooge. Happy Holidays!

What are your favorites?