As far back as 1898 in England the first Santa Claus movie was made. The silent black-and-white movie ran for 76 seconds. Since then, the list of holiday movies has grown each year.

The 1942 film “Holiday Inn” brought us Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas,” and it is believed the hotel chain of the same name was inspired by the film. 

One of the most popular holiday movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life” and who does not say when hearing a bell ring that an angel has received its wings? 

Then there’s the voice of Burl Ives narrating and singing the story of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in the 1964 stop-motion animated classic. The song was famous far before, hitting No. 1 in 1949, as sung by Gene Autry, who also recorded “Frosty the Snowman” in 1950. 

Most of the movies tend to start out somber and work their way up to the true spirit of the season — think “Miracle on 34th Street” or one of my lesser-known favorites, “Christmas in Connecticut.” 

Some classics, like “A Christmas Carol,” have been done over and over and sometimes end up taking different forms, like “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” whose main character is kind of a riff on Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Who wouldn’t want to be part of the Griswold family as they take us on their “Christmas Vacation.” Talk about a disjointed but loving family.

Ranking among the top for me is “A Christmas Story” — I did have a student get his tongue stuck to the flagpole while I was teaching at Mater Christi School. I will not mention his name. We simply poured warm water on his tongue instead of calling the fire department.  He was released but somewhat embarrassed. I love the phrase “You’ll shoot your eye out” from the movie. My brother had a BB gun. He didn’t shoot his eye out, but I didn’t run fast enough.   

My preference is for the older films, and I do have a favorite but I’m not going to tell you. However, if you look in the window above Riverside Plumbing, there is a clue. I don’t think you’ll be too surprised. Get the popcorn ready.