What is the memory you associate most with Christmas, if you celebrate? For me it’s pancakes. My dad, in pajamas and a robe and bright red reindeer antlers, flipping the sweet breakfast treat at the stove.
For most Christmases, my whole family gathers at my parents’ house in the Philadelphia suburbs. My sister and her wife fly in from London, one of the only times we get to see each other with so much distance between us. My other sister and her family make the trek from Michigan. Last Christmas we fit eight adults, five dogs and one toddler in one house.
Like the rest of you, my Christmas will be drastically different this Friday. I won’t get to see my sisters or my niece or new nephew. We won’t be able to open presents in the same room in our pajamas (as a staunch traditionalist, I never let anyone get dressed before unwrapping a box). But we are doing our best with the situation we have. There will be a Zoom, there will be too many presents for my niece because we’re all missing her so much, and I will definitely be making pancakes.
I know that all of you are making huge sacrifices this Christmas, forgoing tradition and the comfort of hugs from your loved ones to keep them, yourself and all the rest of us safe. It won’t be easy, but hopefully next Christmas we’ll be back together next to the tree.
To quote old Saint Nick himself, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all good night!”
Today’s movie recommendations (100 of them)
2020 has been a rough year for the movies.
Production and cinema shut downs have caused unprecedented upheaval in the film industry, but amid all the bad news and delayed film releases, there were still some truly beautiful, entertaining and eye-opening films this year.
Our film critic Brian Truitt pivoted his approach to covering movies as theaters closed, focusing on streaming releases either filmed before the pandemic began or under strict safety protocols. As he writes, “We’ve been doing “what to stream” weekly guides for a while now, highlighting high-profile films, hidden gems and everything in between.”
He combed through all the movies he’s watched this year, and he watches a lot of movies, to find 100 that will bring some joy during your holidays, especially if your regular traditions have been canceled.
Here are five recommendations from the “yuletide cheer” category in Brian’s story. Once you get through them, there are 95 to go!
“The Christmas Chronicles 2” (Netflix): Kurt Russell (again) proves he’s the best Santa around. This time with a saxophone.
“Christmas on the Square” (Netflix): Dolly Parton sings like an angel and plays one, too!
“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix): The rare holiday flick that boosts Black voices and puts an emphasis on female ingenuity.
“Dear Santa” (VOD): Good luck not tearing up watching this documentary after hearing kids’ letters to the Man with the Bag.
“Happiest Season” (Hulu): The lesbian Christmas rom-com that proves Kristen Stewart’s funny and Aubrey Plaza rules.
You can see the full list here.
Speaking of pets all dressed up for the holidays, please peek at this precious kitten with a jingle bell collar.
“Meet Arnold,” write humans Todd and Amy Ofenbeck of Fort Myers, Florida. “He’s a 4 -week-old kitten our dogs found in our backyard! He’s named after Arnold Palmer.”
Would you like a bowl of half lemonade, half iced tea, sweet kitten?
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: A very Merry Christmas, no matter what it looks like