Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas often involves travel - and that's true of many seasonal movies, too

If you have to fly in December, you might as well fly a biplane.
Christmas travel and I are old friends.

From the time I went to university, until the time I graduated, every Christmas would involve travelling from UNB in Fredericton, New Brunswick, home to Toronto, then back again two weeks later.

That didn't change a whole lot when I graduated and moved out west to Alberta. Every other year, I'd fly home to Toronto to spend time with family. When I moved to Fort St. John, B.C. that continued, in fact, it increased. It seemed every third year I'd go to Fort Nelson to visit Ann's family, followed the next year by a Toronto trip, then one year at home.

I'm really glad I don't travel too much at Christmas, any more. The last time I went anywhere in December was 2004, when I spent a wonderful week in the Titusville area, paddling among alligators, riding in bi-planes, visiting the Kennedy Space Centre and birding.

I love spending Christmas at home with my human-parrot flock (Ann, Coco, Einstein, until this year, Nikki, and now newcomer Congo).

I really enjoy watching many of the Christmas movies that come out every year. It dawned on me just recently that many of them involve travel - including five of my favourites.

Here they are in a countdown...

5.  It's a Wonderful Life. At first glance you might say, "Where's the travel?" It's hinted at, more than actually done. Jimmy Stewart's "George Bailey" wants to travel, buys a big suitcase to go - but can never leave, because of family commitments coming up every time he's about to catch a train. His honeymoon  is spent in a rundown house festooned with travel posters. And then there's those classic quotes: "Do you know the three most exciting sounds in the world? ... Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles," and, "I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum." So yeah, there is a strong element of travel in the story.

George Bailey would've used a suitcase like this. (

4. Christmas in Connecticut. A romantic comedy featuring Barbara Stanwyck as a magazine food columnist who is not what she appears to be. It revolves around a trip from New York to Connecticut to convince the publisher she is a married woman on a farm - not a writer in Manhattan. Lots of gags and funny lines, great watch for couples and families.

3. Christmas with the Kranks. A daughter travelling to South America (then back), a Christmas cruise - it has travel written all over it. Hilarious physical comedy scenes with Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis (especially the restaurant scene!), and Dan Akroyd as well as some very heart-warming moments make it a funny flick as well as good holiday fare. Good fun for all.

2. Home Alone/Home Alone 2. A trip to Paris. A trip to Florida. A trip to New York. Yeah, it's all based around holiday travel. But that's not why I watch them yearly. It's the incredible physical comedy by Macaulay Culkin, Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, reminiscent of the Three Stooges shorts. Some great supporting actors pitch in, as well, like John Candy and Tim Curry. And when you watch it, don't forget to order the cheese pizza...

And the Number 1 Christmas movie that involves travel is...

1. A Christmas Carol (1951). There are at least 15 different movie versions of this Dickens story, and that's not counting cartoons or those flicks based loosely on this story. The Alister Sims version is the best in my opinion.
While the travel consists mainly of visiting locations in England, it ALSO involves time travel, back into the past as well as into the future.
And that would make it "king" in terms of travel in any Christmas movie.

Merry Christmas!

Who can forget some of the classic airport scenes in Home Alone and Home Alone 2?

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