christmas books and their movie counterparts

I have never been a huge fan of books being made into movies; too often it ends in failure. When scriptwriters convert the author’s imagery and characters onto the big screen, something is invariably lost in translation. Of course, this is only known by someone who has read the book prior to viewing the movie. Others would never notice. And yet, movies have been and will continue to be based off books which is why I hold a long-standing vow to always read the book before seeing it in celluloid form. I like the images created in my mind far more than the ones crafted in Hollywood. Even more, I love having first-hand knowledge of a character’s thoughts and motivations rather than relying on some highly-paid actor to interpret them for me. That being said, there have been some movies that do surpass the printed version. Not many but some. In the spirit of the holiday, I have created a short list of books celebrating the season and their movie counterparts. You’ll be sure to find one to enjoy – either in hand or on the big-screen – so nestle beside a crackling fire, grab a steaming mug of cocoa, and pull your friends and family near. These, and the spirit that comes with them, won’t be around for long…

A Christmas Carol (Movie)

No holiday list would be complete without this classic from Dickens. I admit to crushing on him quite a bit. Two great things about the book version: it’s appropriate for children (ages 8 and up) as well as adults AND the kindle version is FREE! As for the movie, I know there have been a gazillion versions made, but the 1951 re-make with Alastair Sim is my personal favorite.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Suess (Paperback)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Cartoon)

Yet another man I secretly crush on – the Grinch. Again, this book is a GREAT gift for a child and yes, I know there is a full-length, digitized movie version, but I love the original 1966 cartoon so, so much.

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, Jean Shepherd (Paperback)
A Christmas Story (Movie)

Everyone has seen the movie about Ralphie and his quest for a Red-Rider BB Gun, but not many realize this silly holiday tale was based off of an actual book written by Jean Shepherd.

Skipping Christmas, John Grisham (Paperback)
Christmas with the Kranks (Movie)

This was one of the rare times when I actually watched a movie before reading the book. In this case, it was because I hadn’t realized there was a book. I have to say this movie is not stellar, but it is fun to watch over the holidays and the premise of skipping all of the hoopla is quite appealing to me.

The Polar Express (Hardcover)
The Polar Express (Movie)

This is a rare treat in that the book and movie are both amazing (at least in my opinion). The book is stunning with it’s water-color illustrations, and the movie does a fantastic job of re-creating those images along with the feeling of being a child at Christmas. One of the few times where the movie actually outshines the book, but only because it makes the story last longer…

What are your favorite holiday books and movies?

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