Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top 4 Book To Film Christmas Movies

Now that Christmas is knocking on our door, most of us are going to be taking well-deserved time off from work to celebrate and relax after a long year. One of the main forms of family entertainment this time year is watching the Christmas movies played constantly on cable. However, there are some who enjoy falling in love with the books as well as watching the movies, and this list is for you.

Adapting books into films has been around as long as the film industry has existed, and chances are many of your favorite films have been adapted from a book, novella, short story, or other written work. As it turns out, Christmas films aren’t an exception from this rule. Many Christmas classics were first told in the written form, and below are some of the familiar Christmas works that first began on the pages of a book:

A Christmas Story

This film has become such a beloved classic that during a 2002 24-hour marathon of the film on TNT, a sixth of the country tuned in. The number has only grown since then after the film switched over to TBS, and the annual tradition of 24 hour marathons beginning on Christmas Eve continues today.

The 1983 classic began as a series of short stories that appeared in the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd. From these short stories, which were inspired by his childhood, came one of America’s favorite Christmas films. A Christmas Story has become such a part of American culture that all someone needs to say is “You’ll shoot your eye out!” or “Fra-JEE-lay, must be Italian” and we will all know exactly what they’re referencing.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This 2000 live action film was the first full feature film to ever be adapted from a Dr. Seuss book. Previously, there had been cartoons and television specials, but no one was  ambitious enough to take on such a beloved author’s work. Luckily, Universal Pictures stepped up, spared no expense, and created a live action Christmas masterpiece. Jim Carrey is spot on as the over-the-top evil Grinch in part thanks to the incredible makeup and prosthetics that took three hours every day to apply. Other notable actors in the film were Molly Shannon, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, and a then unknown Taylor Momsen.

The film was a smash success when it was released in theaters. It pulled in over $345 million at the box office and became the second highest grossing holiday film of all time, just behind Home Alone. Of course, since then many more Dr. Seuss books have been adapted into film, but this alone remains the gold standard that none have quite been able to live up to.

Christmas with the Kranks

I know that I was surprised when I learned that Christmas with the Kranks was adapted from the novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, better known for his high octane legal thrillers than his seasonal comedies. The film and book center around Luther and Nora Krank (played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis), who decide to boycott Christmas and instead go on a cruise after learning their daughter won’t be coming home for the holiday.

The neighborhood revolts and tensions arise as the couple remains defiant. However, when they get a last minute call from their daughter on the morning of the 24th saying she will be coming home panic ensues to ensure that everything is exactly as she remembers it.


There are more film, radio, television, and book adaptations of Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic A Christmas Carol than anyone could - or would want to - count. This one stands out above the fray as one of the best adult Christmas films. Bill Murray is pitch-perfect as a then-modern-day Scrooge who is as cutthroat as he is heartless. The offbeat cast of characters puts a comical spin on a story that has been nearly beaten to death over the years.

Despite being made in 1988 the film still brings big laughs today, since many of us can identify at least one person in our life who bears striking similarities to Murray’s character. It remains a Christmas classic for comedy buffs, and is appropriate enough that you can let the kids enjoy it too.

About the Author: Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, pop culture, and lifestyle blogger for http://directstartv.com. He has been known to spend entire weekends holed up in his apartment with his cat binge watching Christmas films and eating his weight in Christmas cookies. He lives and works in Chicago where even the frigid cold can’t dampen his holiday spirit!

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