I’m going on the record: It’s a Wonderful Life is my favorite Christmas movie. And perhaps more than that, it’s one of my favorite movies, period.
I’m sad this year. In fact, if you’ll permit me, I’m unbelievably sad this year. The holidays are so bittersweet, and the older I get the more I understand the pervasive melancholy that creeps in this time of year for so many people. Loss seems more real when joy is on the agenda, and though you can count yourself lucky in so many ways, the ones you aren’t around to share in the holiday spirit is that much harder. I’m so fortunate; I have my parents still with me, my siblings with whom to share laughter, and I’m in awe of the man who chose me.
There isn’t one thing missing this year. No, not one. There are 150 things missing. My students, my lifelines, my energy and my excitement in life are missing. I miss the small moments, the every day banter, the drama and the teenage angst that they let me help them with in hard times. I miss my students so much it hurts, and around the holidays, it hurts even more.
Every year that I taught, I made a point to introduce my students to the legend that is James Stewart, the humanity that is found in Bedford Falls, and the history that can be learned under Frank Capra’s artful direction. I would take the opportunity to teach my students the basics of cinematography: why camera angles influence the impact of a character on the audience, how the soundtrack serves as auditory imagery, and how with careful writing and meaningful understanding of character depth, a film can touch hearts and influence generations of viewers.
That is how I would spend the holidays with my students.
If it sounds like I need a good stiff drink like Jimmy Stewart did as he sat in Martini’s bar, you bet I do.
So tonight’s Holidate is dedicated to my kids – the whole decade of students with whom I’ve shared It’s a Wonderful Life. Scott concocted an incredible cocktail to ground our date night in – and as I’m sure you can guess, is none other than his iteration of Clarence’s Flaming Rum Punch.
We used a martini glass to honor Martini’s bar from the film, and of course, our garnish is not in the glass per say, but rather on the table: a trifecta of perfect bells. Because, you know, every time a bell rings…
My heart goes out to anyone who is feeling the more nostalgic side of the Christmas season, and I hope for you that you find peace in the melancholy. In the meantime, sit down, make a Flaming Rum Punch, and know that in the end, it really is a wonderful life.
- 1 oz. dark rum
- 1 oz. gold rum
- .5 oz. Grand Marnier
- 1 oz cranberry simple syrup
- 1.5 oz apple cider
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz all spice dram
- Add all of the ingredients into a shaker with ice, and double strain into a martini glass.
- Cranberry syrup was 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups cranberries.