What a bright time, it’s the right time
To rock the night away
Jingle bell time is a swell time
To go gliding in a one-horse sleigh
-“Jingle Bell Rock”
I swear I do things other than watch television. I know you remember the times—hell, they weren’t that long ago—when I would go out with girlfriends, or by myself, and wreak havoc on the fragile ecosystems of Maui’s various bars and nightclubs. And I still do that, on occasion.
But this year’s holidays are taking a toll. Somehow it seems the tight-knit clusters of friends who had previously united for holiday merriment have scattered, given way to budding families of their own or finally making the long trip back to the mainland.
I recall endless holiday parties and mistletoe-kissing last year, pinatas filled with joints and condoms, baking chocolate covered pears with a DJ-crush, and happily cavorting around San Francisco—oh wait, that was the year before.
Last year must’ve been when I was chillin’ with the Sugar Shack girls in Lahaina, drinking whiskey on the beach and watching endless Sex and the City marathons. Hmm, no… that was three years ago.
Actually, I can’t remember what I did last year.
But anyway, this year’s been a little off. So when I found myself in hibernation mode on Sunday, I decided to tune into what the tube was offering in the way of Christmas movies. Yes, next week I’ll look into joining the neighborhood caroling crew but for now, this was my concerted effort to instill (in myself) some semblance of holiday spirit.
Naturally, I turned to the Lifetime channel.
I got sucked into His and Her Christmas (2005) before I knew what was happening. And really, how could I not? A small-town columnist (Dina Meyer) finds a way to save her paper from a big-city daily intent on swallowing it by infusing her column with heartfelt confessions and personal ruminations on spending the holidays alone.
Subsequently—‘cause it’s what happens in the real world—her popularity skyrockets, she’s mentioned on TV newscasts, gets tons of fan mail and her email inbox overflows with nothing but effusive praise. Also, the big-city paper’s very hot columnist dude (David Sutcliffe), with whom she’d struck a competitive rivalry, falls madly in love with her and they go off to decorate their Christmas tree with the billboards and Pulitzers of their young, hot, successful, writerly love.
Could happen. Couldn’t it?
Yeah, well… the cast of the next movie, Noel (2004), enticed me to press on: Susan Sarandon is a lonely woman caring for her Alzheimer’s-ridden mother, whose hospital room is across the way from Robin Williams, who plays an ex-priest; Penelope Cruz is the fiancee of jealous Paul Walker, who is told he is the reincarnation of the wife of Alan Arkin.
Of course, it all takes place on Christmas Eve in New York and Chazz Palminteri directs it. And it might’ve choked me up just a little. Cheesy, heartwarming holiday sentimentality generally does that to me. That, and a really good rack of lamb with mint jelly.
I thought I’d fare better with the movie that followed, On the 2nd Day of Christmas (1997), as it starred yummy Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, We Don’t Live Here Anymore) and adorable Mary Stuart Masterson (Benny & Joon, Fried Green Tomatoes). Uh, but no.
This one was about a conning young woman and her six-year-old niece who pickpocket their way into the heart of the department store security dude who arrests them. Oh, and it’s during the Christmas shopping frenzy. So naturally, they all live happily ever after. Or at least until the big New Year’s Day sale.
Needless to say, by Monday I was feeling decidedly more jubilant.
Samantha Campos is currently toasting her friends in San Antonio, steadfastly refusing their shots of Jagermeister, Redbull and eggnog. MTW