When I was a kid I asked my mom to let me rent Gone with the Wind. For reasons I still do not understand, she insisted that we rent West Side Story first. Perhaps it was a test to see if I could tolerate the hokey conversation of days gone by or maybe she wanted me to watch two guys get tragically killed before watching an entire city burn. Whatever her reason, watching West Side Story was like that first hit of musical movie crack and I was hooked. I can sing every word from The Sound of Music and may even do some of the choreography if pressed, and Meet Me in St. Louis is one of my favorite ways to pass an incredibly long, technicolor afternoon, leaving me hungry for corned beef and cabbage and longing for the days when nights were ended by turning down the gas lights.
My favorite holiday season classic, however, is White Christmas. Despite the poor decision to keep “Choreography” in the movie, White Christmas is two hours of pure magic.
Over Thanksgiving weekend we began to transform our house into a winter wonderland, and our favorite movie was in the DVD player while we tossed fall colors into storage and decorated our Christmas tree. All week long I’ve found myself singing “Count Your Blessings” quietly to myself as I chug along through incredibly taxing work days and little glitches like a six year old’s tooth extraction and a Christmas tree that decided to crash to the floor in the middle of the night.
For other White Christmas fans, “Count Your Blessings” is remembered as that moment when Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney finally get together over glasses of buttermilk and liverwurst sandwiches. It was a time when people still drank buttermilk and ate liverwurst, where no one freaked out that the pitcher of buttermilk was left out on the counter for the whole scene, and when the biggest concern in life was whether or not it would snow in Vermont. It was also a time free of the distractions of technology and an over-scheduled life. You could take time to focus on what really mattered and take Bing’s advice to fall asleep, not with the television on and the phone plugged in next to your pillow, but rather counting your blessings.
If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings
It’s a beautiful way to dance into the holiday season…counting your blessings.