christmas

Nutcracker

NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS Family Movie Review

By Trina Boice WHAT’S IT ABOUT?    Based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T. A. Hoffmann, this coming-of-age movie adaptation feels partially familiar, yet also new and wacky.   It feels like a sugary cupcake that is beautifully decorated, but mostly fluff with no nutritional value. Very young girls may enjoy it.  Most everyone else will be bored or disappointed. IS IT ANY GOOD?   C+ Not ...[Read More]

grinch

The Grinch Family Movie Review

By Lindsi Neilson WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Based on the book by Dr. Suess, in this adaptation the Grinch lives a happily solitary life in his mountain home with his dog Max, wreaking passive aggressive havoc on the people of Whoville. When Christmas comes once again and the holiday cheer becomes too much for him to handle, he concocts a plan to take Christmas away for good. IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B+) A s ...[Read More]

“A Sacred Christmas” is Fantastic All Year Round

“A Sacred Christmas” is Fantastic All Year Round

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, media critic) On the hunt for new holiday music? Pianist Garth Smith teams up with talented vocalists and choirs for A Sacred Christmas, and it’s his best album yet. Combining traditional favorites like “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Away in a Manger” with obscure (but powerful) songs like “Gesu Bambino,” the album is a soaring tribute to Jesus Christ as t ...[Read More]

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS Family Movie Review

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS Family Movie Review

By Lindsi Neilson WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Rejected by publishers following the failure of his last three books, Charles Dickens sets out to write and self-publish a book that will revive his career in time for Christmas. Written and published in only 6 weeks, this movie tells the story of the creation of one of Dicken’s most popular books: A Christmas Carol. IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A) With the countless ...[Read More]

THE STAR Family Movie Review

THE STAR Family Movie Review

By Rachel Wagner It’s always tricky when a studio takes on a religious story. They can go mainstream and risk alienating faith-based viewers, or they can make the film overtly religious and turn off the more secular fans. This Christmas season, Sony Animation has taken on that challenge with their new movie, The Star. Unfortunately, the film gets caught up in the hijinks of an animal road trip mov ...[Read More]

Your New Favorite Christmas Album: “Merry” by NASHVILLE TRIBUTE BAND

Your New Favorite Christmas Album: “Merry” by NASHVILLE TRIBUTE BAND

By Jonathan Decker, Clinical Director, LMFT This past week my wife and I were fortunate to catch a Christmas concert by The Nashville Tribute Band, of whom I’d heard many good things but had never personally been exposed. I was so impressed that I bought their new Christmas album, Merry, upon exiting the show. Having listened to it all week, I give it my strongest recommendation for all who’re loo ...[Read More]

what jesus wants for christmas

The Forgotten Gift That Jesus Wants for Christmas

By Jonathan Decker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist I’m not sure how I’d feel if for my birthday, my friends gave gifts to everyone but me. Yet that’s exactly what Jesus wants, if the scriptures are to be believed. One of his most familiar teachings gains fresh meaning when applied to the Christmas season: “I was an hungered and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me to drink. I was ...[Read More]

Overlooked Gem: JOYEUX NOEL (2006)

Overlooked Gem: JOYEUX NOEL (2006)

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) It's Christmas Eve on the battlefront. Both sides have seen heavy casualties and soul-numbing violence. Amidst the cold and despair, someone starts singing “Silent Night.” Their comrades join in and, to their shock, so do their enemies in their foreign tongue. As hostilities cease for the night, enemies become friends as soldiers bond ...[Read More]

11 Christ-Centered Christmas Movies

11 Christ-Centered Christmas Movies

By Jonathan Decker (Clinical Director, LMFT) Few holiday traditions are as time-honored as grabbing some hot cocoa, lighting a fire, and cuddling up in front of a Christmas movie. While films like White Christmas, Elf, A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story have rightfully earned their place as annually-watched classics, none of them focus specifically on Jesus Ch ...[Read More]

CHRISTMAS ORANGES Family Movie Review

CHRISTMAS ORANGES Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) The famous tale of kindness among lonely children at an orphanage is brought to life in Christmas Oranges, the most accomplished film yet from director John Lyde. It has some terrific performances, from the gruff Scrooge-like headmaster played by Edward Herrmann (Redemption, Intolerable Cruelty) to the warmth displayed by Nancy Stafford (Matlock,C ...[Read More]