With the last bite of turkey and last spoonful of dressing, Thanksgiving has come and gone once again. With its passing, come the telltale signs that Christmas is on its way, yet again.

With the last bite of turkey and last spoonful of dressing, Thanksgiving has come and gone once again. With its passing, come the telltale signs that Christmas is on its way, yet again.


Christmas movies and annual holiday specials have already started to appear on television for their annual visit, much like the jolly old elf himself. In the back of my mind, I can already hear the chorus of, "Bah! Humbug!" of Ebenezer Scrooge and, "I never thought it was such a bad little tree," from "A Charlie Brown Christmas."


With so many holiday movies and specials out there, it makes me ask myself: What makes for a good holiday movie?


I may be channeling my inner Scrooge, but many holiday movies seem to have themes that are interchangeable: a simple story about the power of Christmas and the innate joy it brings, or how Christmas can melt even the most frozen of hearts if they give it a chance. That route does evoke the perfect Christmas spirit, but is Christmas ever perfect?


To me, the perfect Christmas story is honest about the holiday, portraying its ups and downs.


Take "A Christmas Story," for example. It is a modern classic by most accounts, and gets the holiday right! (The film has also made its way to the Broadway stage in recent years.) Who hasn’t ever gotten a Christmas present that they absolutely dreaded, had a present not work as expected, or had a holiday meal go completely awry? Even if I have seen it countless times, it never loses its charm because of how honest it is about the holidays.


While not always seen as a Christmas movie, "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" does the exact same thing, only substituting Thanksgiving for Christmas. Who hasn’t had nightmares about holiday travel or not getting home on time for the holidays? It works because it is true down to Steve Martin’s impassioned rant at a travel desk.


Even "It’s a Wonderful Life," one of the most critically-praised movies of all time, has shades of this going on. While the overall them is uplifting, the movie doesn’t over idealize the season, and instead paints a thoughtful representation of the sadness and worry many people feel during this time of year. Sure, it isn’t as cynical as the other two are, but it still remains honest and sincere in the story it tells.


Happy birthday Sunday to Kathryn Jennings, Rosemary Taylor Capps and Christine Rush, all of Sherman; Larry W. Ertel and Willis Bishop, both of Denison; Dianne Smith of Abilene; and Courtney Clark.


Happy anniversary Sunday to Lee and Diane Logston of Sherman, 29 years; Thurman and Gwen Anderson Rickerson of Spring, Texas.