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Quintessentially Christmas | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Leafing through winter

A Christmas CarolChristmas cliches are not cliches at all, we say. What can remind one of the holiday spirit better than sullen old Scrooge turning over a new leaf, or the Cratchit family counting their blessings over roast goose and apple sauce? The Charles Dickens classic is a tale of human fallacy, and, how there's always room for some fresh redemption — and pudding!

The Velveteen RabbitThis isn't a story about Christmas. But the protagonist of this gorgeously illustrated Margery Williams story, a raggedy toy-rabbit who longs to turn 'real' through his owner's love, is a Christmas gift to his human. One can't help but feel that the Christmas reference sets the perfect premise for the tale of love, endurance and miracle — where little children are taught in metaphors to hold on to the genteel values of the season, all year round.

Little WomenThe rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned, and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting. Louisa May Alcott’s timeless story about sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March journeying through the bittersweet epiphanies of adolescence in the backdrop of the American Civil War devotes substantial space to describing the family's unusual Christmas (Part , Chapter 2), where father is at war, 'Marmee' (Mrs March) hoping to pass on to her brood the family values of generosity, patience and loyalty — and the girls themselves caught between age appropriate acquiescence and their unique, budding individuality.

Also look for: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Season’s most hummable

Jingle Bell RockFirst released by Bobby Helms in 1957, the Billboard Country chart favourite keeps finding its way to movies decades later, as with Mean Girls and Home Alone 2. Perhaps that explains the appreciation the rest of the world has developed for the big American Christmas jam – it's catchy, easy to recall, and all over our entertainment itinerary. You might as well hum along.

Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasWhether you're thinking of a doleful Judy Garland crooning Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas to her little sister in the 1944 musical Meet Me in St. Louis, or Frank Sinatra belting out a revised, brighter version of the song, or the rendition in Karen Carpenter's snow-pure voice, there's something to be said about the tune, which, while not symbolic of the typical holiday cheer, manages to look forward and past the year's trials, into a happy tomorrow where, through the years we all will be together / if the fates allow.

Christmas Don't Be Late / The Chipmunk SongThis song where anthropomorphic chipmunks Alvin, Simone and Theodore (of animated musical group Alvin and the Chipmunks) plead for Christmas to be on time, because you know, they want a plane that loops the loop, or may be just a hula hoop..this is the part where the amusement of their nasal voices wear off, and we mentally add to the list of goodies our own Christmas wishes. And when the trio says, we've been good, but we can't last, we're assured they are one of our own.

Also look for: All I want for Christmas (Mariah Carey), Last Christmas (Wham!), War is Over/Happy Xmas (John Lenon), Thank God it's Christmas (Queen)

For the cold couch

The Polar ExpressAnother illustrated wonder (story by Chris Van Allsburg) adapted into a movie of enchanting visuals, the 2004 animated film traces the journey of a young Santa-sceptic on a train to North Pole, where he meets a bunch of other children, who join him in realising that the magical can very well be real, if you believe hard enough.

Home AloneThe epitome of 90s nostalgia, this one, while definitely predictable, refuses to be left out of a legitimate Christmas list. Chris Columbus's cult comedy follows the misadventures of Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin, of course), after he is accidentally left behind by his family when they leave town for a Parisian Christmas. The thrill of being home alone quickly turn high-octane with two wannabe burglars prowling around Kevin's turf.

SerendipityChristmas season and the cacophonic charm of New York is the old trope reinvented in this John Cusack Kate Beckinsale romance, where a sleight of fate leads two star-crossed could-be-lovers to embark on their personal journeys before meeting each other again — soft snow, trembling background score, this time in place. If you're still missing the feels, pay closer attention to the parts featuring Bap Kennedy's Moonlight Kiss and Nick Drake's Northern Sky. The songs smell of winter without talking about it.

Also look for: Love Actually, Miracle on 34th Street, The Shop Around the Corner, It's a Wonderful Life

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