Christmas appears when you least expect it

I don’t remember seeing so many ‘dead’ Christmas trees out on the pavements ever before. It reminds me of that post-Christmas scene in Kramer vs Kramer where Dustin Hoffman’s walking along the street with his neighbourhood friend and the two of them are having to sidestep neglected pine trees all along the way.

But it reminds me too that Christmas isn’t technically over even though it looks and feels like it. Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas when the rest of us were taking our decorations down on the 6th. For the Church of England, the season of CHristmas isn’t actually over until Candlemass on February 2nd: I have a friend who is keeping out his nativity scene until then while all the baubles and sparkle are back in their box.

Similarly, Christmas pops up in films when you’re least expecting it. I watched Sandra Bullock in While you Were Sleeping the other night. I’d argue that it beats Bridget Jones hands down on character, humour, charm, Christmas glitter, and singleton truth. I also saw classic 1945 British horror movie Dead of Night . the one with poor Michael Redgrave as a ventriloquist tortured by his malevolent dummy. There’s a Christmas ghost story hidden away in that film, featuring the young actress, Sally Ann Howes who went on to become Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Those of us who read The suspicion of Mr Whicker will appreciate the Francis Kent reference too.

I went to see the very impressive The Impossible today. Set at the time of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and beginning on a holidaying Christmas Eve, it’s a brave cinema scheduler who puts that in their future seasonal programmes. The soundtrack is such that you feel engulfed. Worth catching – with young Tom Holland a highlight. His feature debut is reminiscent of that of Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun. Expect to see more of him.

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