Christmas Eve has always been sort of special for David and me. As teenagers, we went on our first date on Dec. 22, 1992, and then, two days later, I informed him that I wasn’t dating anyone else- and neither was he. Clearly, this wasn’t enough of a warning sign for him because six years later, he proposed on Christmas Eve. In his truck, in the middle of a snowstorm, because his elaborate plan to take me to the Christmas-lit gazebo was ruined.
Cutest, frustrated new fiancee ever.
So, now, after having Christmas Eve dinner with his family, it’s our tradition to put the kids to bed, put out the presents from Santa- (Who is totally real, kids. We’re just doing his assembly-work.) and then open our presents to each other.
Because we’re movie buffs, who enjoy somewhat “off-beat” titles, these gifts inevitably include some DVD of a slightly raunchy comedy.
And because we’re sort of weird, we spend our Christmas Eves, watching inappropriate movies, over-eating and drinking cocktails that taste like snowcones. Most wonderful time of the year, indeed.
Our Off-Beat Christmas Eve tradition began years ago, with Saving Silverman. A truly bizarre romp in which two lovable losery-goofs – Steve Zahn and Jack Black- try to assure their friend’s happiness by separating him from his scary controlling girlfriend, Amanda Peet. Low-brow, cringe-worthy and utterly hilarious. What other movie can offer iconic drill sergeant R. Lee Ermey playing Jack Black’s unlikely boyfriend?
And it makes us feel sort of uncomfortable that we can now watch Jack Black and Amanda Peet in a kids’ movie, Gulliver’s Travels.
So what do you need to create this tradition in your home? Besides children who sleep through really loud laughter?
Start with snacks. Sausage balls, bacon pinwheels, and Chex Mix are ideal. But once you pick a flavor group (savory and crunchy vs. sweet and gooey) stick with it. Mixing too many types of snacks with fruity mixed drinks will not lead to a happy Christmas morning.
Add any of the following titles.
The Hangover – I will admit, I did not expect to like this movie. I do not like Bradley Cooper, sexiest man alive or not. (I mean, he might be sexy or not. I’m pretty sure he’s alive.) But I was able to ignore him for the hapless charm of the rest of the weirdos in this movie. I do, however, duck every time I open my trunk. Because you never know.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall – If you can survive Jason Siegel’s uber-awkward prolonged frontal nude scene in the opener, everything else is cake.
Hot Tub Time Machine – I’m not sure about the time-travel science behind this movie, but it involves John Cusack being adorable and confused, so I’m in. Hide the forks from your angry girlfriend before watching.
Friends with Benefits- Funny, great chemistry between the actors, lots of well-choreographed sex scenes. Occasionally, it falls victim to the very clichés its mocks, but overall, very enjoyable.
Due Date – I can sympathize with Robert Downey, Jr’s., character since I have fallen victim to people capable of derailing one’s entire life while traveling. In my case, however, these forces of destructive nature were related to me and escape was impossible.
Dinner With Schmucks – Once you get past the creepiness of the mouse taxidermy, this is a really charming, silly movie. Lots of quotable lines, chaotic group dialogue scenes, and Zack Galafinakis in a dickie.
So, there you have it, a recipe for an irreverent, relaxed Christmas Eve. Taking a little bit of time for yourself really helps recharge your batteries before the marathon of “joy” on Christmas Day.