We hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve! Thank you for a wonderful 2017 and we will see you next year.
DECEMBER 30TH, 2017
By LANA CARBON & JOHN LILIES
[John] This year, we each chose six movies to watch for our annual experience. We started off our 12 thinking it would be really easy to fit them all in, despite our days away for family Christmas gatherings. After managing our 31 movies for Hallowe’en, 12 seemed simple. Simple in concept perhaps, but the execution proved to be tougher than we had expected. At the end of it all however, by Christmas Eve we had accomplished our goal. All 12 movies completed. I can’t say we both thoroughly enjoyed each movie and we are still questioning how some of them are even classified as Christmas movies, but I am truly grateful for yet another Christmas movie experience with my guy.
[Lana] I always love combining two of my favourite things… movies and, more importantly, time with my handsome lady since it is a rare and cherished commodity. It always puts me in that festive mood, no matter what season we are in.
[John] So, without further ado, here is our complete list of our 12 movies for the 12 days of Christmas…
1. OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY (2016) – When an uptight CEO threatens to close their branch, the manager throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client but the party gets out of hand.
[Lana] I actually found this quite funny; of course, I have a slightly cruder sense of humour than John. I always get a kick out of seeing Jennifer Aniston stray so far away from her Rachel days on Friends.
[John] Yeah… this one didn’t really do much for me. It is definitely outside of my realm of humour but it was fun to watch Lana get such a good kick out of it.
2. REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940) – A prosecutor and shoplifter fall in love creating tension in their family lives.
[Lana] The story was touching if somewhat predictable. I really enjoy the older movies from the 30s-60s more than I thought I would. It did bring up a reoccurring theme that was really prevalent in this year’s selections… the non-Christmas Christmas movie. It could have taken place at any time of the year and not been affected at all story-wise. It just happened to take place during the Christmas season.
[John] As Lana mentioned, this wasn’t the most Christmassy movie but the typical themes were all there and it did take place around Christmas. It was a nice one to watch. I love the old movies so much.
3. THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS (2017) – The journey that led to Charles Dickens writing the Christmas classic “A Christmas Carol”.
[Lana] This was a truly unique telling of a famous author creating one of his masterpieces. I love how the characters came to life for Dickens as he perfected them in his mind.
[John] I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It held the classic feel I was looking for and did such a great job at giving exciting life to the story. Absolutely one of my favourites for this Christmas season and entirely worth it being our cinema experience.
4. THE ELF (2017) – A man discovers a cursed elf doll in an old toy store he inherited.
[Lana] I had high hopes for this when I saw the trailers. It appeared as though it was an elf on the shelf gone bad. The back story had promise but that was where the positives ended for me with this film.
[John] Ugh. That’s about all I have for this one. Unlike Lana, I did not have high hopes and thus, I suppose I wasn’t disappointed. This movie was awful.
5. HOLIDAY INN (1942) – At an inn that is open only for the holidays, a crooner and a dancer vie for the attention of an up and coming performer.
[Lana] Old time musicals are perfect for this time of year. Although this deals with all the holidays, Christmas is certainly among them so I suppose that is why they consider it a Christmas movie. Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire are great as rivals.
[John] I had really thought this would be a bit more focussed on Christmas than it actually was, but considering that it takes place in the same ‘Inn’ as White Christmas and is actually what led to White Christmas, I’m choosing to accept it as a Christmas movie if only because I was really missing the intense Christmas feels that we usually have with these movies. With that, I am a lover of the old musical numbers… though there are some heavy moments in this one that I will never be able to overlook even if they were acceptable at the time.
6. THE BISHOP’S WIFE (1947) – An angel enters a bishop’s life in order to help him build a cathedral and repair his fractured marriage.
[Lana] Cary Grant is the smoothest angel around.
[John] I enjoyed this one and I think it was actually my first Cary Grant film. I found it to be entertaining and there was more Christmas in it than in most of the others.
7. HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949) – A young widow is romanced by a sales clerk she inadvertently got fired.
[Lana] Another sweet romance story as long as you aren’t the man already engaged to the lady in question. It is certainly a culture shock in the way people were treated in those days compared to now.
[John] This was not a bad movie by any means, but I certainly did not get any of the Christmas feels that I was hoping for.
8. RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (2010) – An archaeological dig unearths Santa. Children soon start disappearing which leads a boy, his father, and a group of hunters to capture Santa in order to sell him to the corporation that sponsored the dig. Santa’s elves are determined to free their leader.
[Lana] This was so much better than I thought it was going to be. The elves are incredibly creepy and we were truly caught up in the action. This is one holiday movie I will be watching again for sure.
[John] I had no idea what to expect with this one but I definitely was not expecting to enjoy it. I honestly thought it was going to be horribly cheesy and involve the humour that I’m not so into. However, I was quite pleasantly surprised and truly did enjoy it.
9. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938) – The classic story of the miserly Scrooge’s ghostly visitations on the road to his Christmas redemption.
[Lana] Everyone knows the story of Scrooge. This version is okay. Reginald Owen fits both the miserly look as well as the jollier Scrooge fairly well. I still much prefer the 1951Alastair Sims rendition.
[John] I always enjoy watching different versions of this movie but definitely, Alastair Sims remains my favourite Scrooge. This version wasn’t bad though… just not the best.
10. IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE (1947) – A homeless man moves into a mansion and along the way gathers friends to live with him. Eventually he finds himself living with the true home owners.
[Lana] I’m not really sure why it is considered a Christmas movie other than it takes place during the season. Yes, there are heart-warming scenes and feelings of giving but they aren’t directly tied to the holiday. That being said, it was a very good movie which I really enjoyed.
[John] Lana said it perfectly.
11. IT’S A VERY MERRY MUPPET CHRISTMAS MOVIE (2002) – An angel petitions God to send help for Kermit who has lost all hope after losing the Muppet theatre.
[Lana] The Muppet’s take on perhaps my favourite Christmas movie of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life. Featuring some fantastic cameos, this is a fun family film.
[John] I love the Muppets. This is no exception. I enjoyed this one.
12. CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) – A food writer who has lied about being the perfect housewife must cover her deception when her boss and a war hero invite themselves to her home for a traditional home-cooked Christmas dinner.
[Lana] This is a definite contender for my favourite movie on this list (the other being Rare Exports). A romantic comedy that has true laughs for everyone and characters that are so engaging that you can’t help but become enraptured in the story. It was almost as fun to watch John stressing over the many near trip-ups in the labyrinth of lies that the story was built around.
[John] Truth be told, Lana watched this one two years ago as a bonus movie but as we hadn’t watched it together and I’d never seen it, we decided it could fit the roster for this year’s list. To tell an even deeper truth, the original movie we were going to watch was Joyeux Noël, however I didn’t realize how war-focussed it was and neither of us was really able to get into it at all, so we turned it off and chose the one that gave us some better Christmas feels. Lana is correct… Christmas in Connecticut entirely made me anxious over the lies and stories being told but it was all fun to watch and I did really enjoy it.
[John] Once again, thank you Lana, for spending this quality time with me over the Christmas season. I always enjoy watching these movies with you and especially at Christmas. Though the majority of these movies did not give us the Christmas coziness we were looking for, it was still a fun experience and I love the time we spend together on these endeavours.
[Lana] I always enjoy spending quality time with you John… especially around the holidays.
[John] I hope you all have enjoyed a great holiday season, regardless of what you celebrate. Here’s to a wonderful 2018 for everyone… we hope it holds much love and great health and happiness for you all.
By LANA CARBON & JOHN LILIES
From the Carbon Lilies family to yours... We wish you the Nerdiest of Christmases and an exuberant New Year!
December 12th, 2017
By LANA CARBON & JOHN LILIES
On December 3rd, we headed out to explore the Burlington Festival of Lights in Burlington, Ontario. We were previously unaware of this attraction and were really happy that we went to have a look. There were a lot of people checking out the event on this opening weekend, including families and puppies galore. We put on our big kid hats and mittens, and leisurely made our way through the various displays, enjoying every moment (and maybe wishing we'd had massive mugs of hot chocolate with us). We had a great time and decided to share with all of you our pictures from this magical evening. Enjoy!
Simply click on the right-hand side of the picture to scroll through our gallery of the Burlington Festival of Lights!