Recently, I happened to take a look at the calendar and realized, “Holy crap! It’s almost Thanksgiving.” Of course, I really shouldn’t be surprised by this fact because this holiday happens every year. It isn’t like I haven’t seen the ad frenzy on the television and the internet.  I guess I was trying my best to ignore it for a little while longer.  Much like the Borg, “Resistance is futile,” I must acknowledge that it is ‘tis the season and I need to embrace it.

No, that doesn’t mean the tree is going up in the living room and that my husband is going to have a near death experience putting up lights on our house. I am not going to jump into the mosh pit o’ craziness of shopping at the mall. More than likely, I will do my gift purchasing from the comfort of my couch and laptop (Shout out to Cyber Monday). I am really not in football shape to tackle people at Old Navy this year for that cheesy tee shirt.

The way I get in the mood for mistletoes and holly is really quite simple. I watch movies. I like to think of it as my pre-game inspiration. Athletes watch tape, I watch holiday classics. Spoiler alert! Some of the titles on my list are in no way shape or form classics but I enjoy the hell out of them. With that being said, let’s begin!

I present to you my list of movies to prepare you for the holidays because you are just too lazy to decorate.

  1. Christmas Vacation – This is a tradition in my household. Nothing puts you in the mood for a family gathering than seeing Cousin Eddie emptying the septic tank from his RV in front of the Griswold house.  Let’s face it. Everyone has that relative who shows up and does something totally unacceptable at every get together. The best moment in this flick is when Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) has a meltdown in front of his relatives because he isn’t getting his annual bonus. Instead, he has received a subscription to the Jelly of the Month club! Haven’t we all been there? We expect something fabulous only to find that we have received, yet again, another ugly sweater that is ten sizes too big and makes us look like an urchin in a Dickens novel. Once again, Cousin Eddie brings the laughs by telling Clark, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.” Yep. Just like my aunt’s infamous raisin spice cake.
  2. Die Hard – Okay. Quit screaming! I hear you. “Die hard is NOT a holiday movie!” It takes place on Christmas eve and the reason why I am citing it is because I think it is the perfect film to see before embarking on that underappreciated sport of festive shopping. This is my ultimate warrior warm up tape. I just replay the scene where Bruce Willis drops Alan Rickman from the building over and over again. It is inspirational! Then I am ready to take on an army of bargain queens at Target in the wee small hours of the morning. You are not getting that last pair of tube socks, Hans Gruber!!!!!!
  3. Elf – First of all, Jon Favreau has turned in to quite the director. He has come a long way from Swingers. This movie is delightful and always brings a smile to my face.  How can you not fall in love with Will Ferrell’s Buddy? He is so innocent and trusting.  Of course, I do admire what he has done for pasta. Nothing like spaghetti, sprinkles, maple syrup, mini-marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, M&M’s, and Frosted Chocolate Fudge Pop Tarts to start your day off with a rush. If I ate that every day for breakfast you would probably see me on a TLC television show. That is some carbo loading.  Then again, Buddy is going to need all the motivation he can get to save the Christmas spirit.  He certainly helps with mine.
  4. Four Christmases – The holidays are all about spending time with the family. For some people, it is lovely and for others it is a nightmare. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn have a great way of skipping those familial outings by telling their relatives they are doing charitable work in exotic locales. Except this time, when their flight gets cancelled and they are captured on the evening news. Busted! This leads to the couple reluctantly agreeing to attend all of their family functions. From fancy Cheez Whiz Hors d'oeuvres to getting put in a headlock by your cage fighting MMA wannabe brother, this film reminded me of some holiday parties I have attended in the past. It has also given me some ideas about how to skip future reunions and other upcoming get togethers.  So, in a way, it is a gift.
  5. Gremlins – What kid hasn’t wanted a pet for the holidays? That is the premise of this movie. Billy’s dad gives him a Mogwai as a gift. This is the lovable fur ball that is Gizmo. All you children of the 80’s will remember how everyone wanted a Gremlin. As we all know, there are three rules to owning a pet Mogwai. Keep it out of the sun or bright light, do not let it get wet, and never feed it after midnight. Of course, rules are made to be broken, right? Pretty soon, Billy has his hands full defending his town against gremlins led by the evil Stripe. The moral of this story; maybe a stuffed animal is the way to go. At least you won’t be stuck cleaning up a mess.

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed my suggestions on how to get in to the holiday swing of things. If you watch any of these films, you are ready to combat the pending snowstorms, traffic, crazed shoppers and that barista who always messes up your pumpkin spice latte.

Have you ever found inspiration in an unlikely source? I would love to hear your opinions on the subject!  Please feel free to post your comments or contact me at or hit me up on Twitter @SusanontheLedge.

Published by Susan Leighton Woman on the Ledge