The Family Stone . . .

I want to praise the greatest holiday movie in the history of the genre and I'm willing to bet - nay - I will GUARANTEE many, many, many of you have never even heard of it.

Wayyyyy back in 2005, when we thought Hillary Clinton would be the Presidential nominee in 2008 and the idea of our nation's finances crumbling was something only a handful of people that gave us all mortgages anyway knew about - Sarah Jessica Parker (yes, our generation's most overlauded actress) joined with an amazing cast for a film adaptation of a play about an otherwise-dysfunctional but BEYOND charming and super eclectic (gay, deaf son in an interracial relationship, anyone?) family celebrating its first Christmas with the much-disliked fiancee of the eldest son while lots of tensions on the family itself hang in the air.

Pause for trailer if you're piqued (or skip it if you are piqued (did you know that piqued can mean both intrigued AND annoyed?)) . . .

You can not stream it on Netflix but you can get the DVD from them or you can find it, sadly, in a discount/clearance bin of any store near you that still sells the dinosaur bones that are physical copies of movies.

There are three moments in the movie that make my empty, angry soul spark the "holiday spirit" and they are (vaguely for those who've not seen it) - the bleacher scene, the late night TV viewing scene, and (tears welling in my eyes) the gift opening.

I love The Family Stone because it doesn't violate the "rules" of a Holiday Movie (capital letters to show respect). Your life will not be changed by it. Just about everyone gets everything they might want or need by the and the warm and fuzzies of love in late-December rule the movie by the time the final credits role. WHY does it stand out then? Simple - the entire movie reminds us that the best intentions, the most honest gestures, and the clarity of honoring yourself in the context of something larger (family, in this case) is not only the reason for the season but the reason we're all here period.

Also - the Stone family is way, way more attractive than any of our families. And their house far more lovely. And there is a Volvo in the mix.