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nativity scene

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Memorable Christmas

A Holiday to Remember (TV Movie 1995) on IMDb

Plot Overview

A small town couple Clay Traynor (Randy Travis) and Carolyn Giblin (Connie Sellecca) have agreed to tie the knot once provincial Clay conceded to follow adventurous Carolyn to the big city to pursue her dreams. Clay's father, how­ever, has made him promise to take care of the family farm, so Clay stays and Carolyn splits. Living in LA she gets her doctorate, sets up a therapy practice, gets married, and has a girl Jordy (Asia Vieira) now in Junior High. Once Carolyn discovers that a guy philandering is worse than a fellow farming, she returns to May­ville, SC with a complaining but adapt­able Jordy in tow … after first divorcing Mr. Wrong.

puppy dogHer former fiancé & neighbor Clay is now Mayberry's sheriff living with his warm-hearted Aunt Leona (Rue McClanahan) who bakes pies. Carolyn and Jordy discover a run­away gamine in their base­ment: ten-year-old William Wright (Kyle Fairlie) and his dog Traveler. Clay becomes the boy's father-figure. There's a secondary, bumbling authority: Mr. Paul (Benedict Campbell) pastor of May­ville Parish Church who's trying to put on a Christmas pageant. Lassie gets a speaking part in the play and delivers a miracle in the crèche.


wise menIf we're looking for Bible themes we might take, (Psalm 107:40-41) “He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.” That could pass as Santa's naughty and nice list. King Herod in the pageant was characterized as “no good” for his slaughter of the innocents after the wise men misdirected him away from the Christ child. The poor orphan boy in the picture makes family ties for Christmas. We might also want to take a look at the origin of the naughty and nice list.

SantaWe start with Santa provisioning his sleigh with gifts manufactured by elves at the North Pole. Let's compare Santa's sleigh with Noah's ark. Researcher Mark DeWayne Combs working from Genesis and ancient sources tells us, “we can reasonably propose accurate proportions of the ark to be 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet in height” (27). That would dwarf the people working on it making them seem like elves. Further­more, “Christ him­self referenced the flood (Matthew 24:39) … that those out­side of Noah's immediate family ‘knew not until the flood came and took them all away.’ … This brings a detail that would impact the choice of location — the absolute necessity of isolation” (Combs 52). In our modern Santa telling, the elves' construction takes place at the supremely isolated North Pole.

Santa's sleigh is pulled by eight reindeer harnessed in pairs. Noah's ark was filled with pairs of exotic animals. (Gen. 7:17) “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth.” Santa's sleigh also floats up above the earth. The ark landed on (Gen. 8:5) “the tops of the mountains”, the roof of the world. The sleigh lands on the rooftops, too.

hearthNext, Santa comes down the chimney to take care of the families on his route. Noah himself collapsed in a drunken heap to deal with the families in turn. (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.” At this point he's to take care of all three children and the grand­kids, thus covering all the children on Earth while not violating any laws of physics.

Here's what happened. (Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husband­man, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.”

Noah sorts out his gifts according to his naughty and nice lists. (Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Shem and his brother Japheth were a nice pair as were Ham and his son Canaan a naughty pair. The blessings come down through the generations by means of what we call the Christmas spirit, and so do the warnings at least.

Herod was placed by the Romans to rule the Jews at the time of Christ's birth. He was unpopular being an Idumean, not Jewish, but the Romans couldn't tell the difference. Idumea is the Greek name of Edom, which was settled by the descendants of Esau who was Jacob's brother. That means he's Semitic all the same, but he didn't marry well. (Gen. 26:34-35) “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” These Hittites were Canaanites, Canaan being on Noah's original naughty list.

making a list“A Holiday to Remember” starts with Santa Claus (Don McManus) patrolling the board­walk of Santa Monica, telling the passersby that he'll bring them good gifts as long as they were good. It looked to me like the whole white bread crowd was good or aspired to be. Just want to pass that along.

Production Values

” (1995) was directed by Jud Taylor. Its tele­play was written by Darrah Cloud who was also a creative consultant. It was based on the novel, A Christmas Love by Kathleen Creighton. It stars Connie Sellecca, Asia Vieira, and Brenda Bazinet. Sellecca is hot filling out her role of disenchanted modern woman. Travis is good enough to remind one of Andy Griffith, though we'd never say Andy Griffith reminds us of him. The child star Kyle Fairlie is brash to the point of annoyance, but he does play a yankee—his idol is Babe Ruth. Rue McClanahan is a suitably down home Miz Leona. There aren't a whole lot of parts, but they all held up well.

This TV movie was kid-friendly; it doesn't have a rating per se, but no surprises either. It was filmed on location in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. What grabbed my attention for is excellence was its slick editing by Ron Wisman. If I were to make a movie, I'd want him for my editor. It does have hard fades for commercial breaks, though, which is unavoid­able in a made-for-TV movie. The plot and script are standard TV fare. It quickly transports one into the Christmas spirit. The ending can throw one for a loop, but that's okay.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I'm easy to please, so I liked this one, though I wouldn't go out of my way to rent it; it just showed up in a batch I purchased. Maybe I can give it away as a gift. It would probably be appreciated best by some­one who likes the old TV shows.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for children: Suitable for all ages. Special effects: Well done scene transitions. Video Occasion: Like watching TV. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print. Software.

Combs, Mark DeWayne. End the Beginning. USA: Splinter in the Mind's Eye Pub., 2014. Print.