The holidays are a time for families to gather together to share and create memories. For many families the season's rituals include watching – and re-watching – a favorite holiday movie.
What will New Canaan be watching this weekend?
"'It's A Wonderful Life'," Kathleen Holland replied without hesitation. "It's a wonderful movie. It's a tradition in our family."
Holland, who is the Director of was serious when she said the movie means a lot to her family.
"My niece is named Zuzu," she told Patch. "after Zuzu's petals."
'IAWL' was the movie most often cited by people in the decidedly unscientific poll conducted by Patch. It's a favorite of all three Selectmen, Superintendent of Schools David Abbey, Board of Education Secretary Alison Bedula, Assistant Fire Chief Jack Hennessey and Town Clerk Claudia Weber, too.
"I cry like a baby every time," First Selectman Jeb Walker said.
Selectman Rob Mallozzi hesitated only briefly before naming his choices. "'It's A Wonderful Life' and 'Elf'," he said. "A classic and a modern."
"It's a tossup," Selectman Sally Hines said, "between 'It's A Wonderful Life' and 'Miracle on 34th Street.'" That would be the original, starring Natalie Wood, not the remake.
The 1946 Frank Capra classic tops holiday movie lists outside New Canaan, too. Digitaldreamdoor.com and classicmovies.org both put it in the number one spot for best Christmas movie.
The critics at rottentomatoes.org disagree. "Our pick for the top Christmas movie of all time represents the perfect marriage of the most unlikely pairing of holidays - Halloween and Christmas - in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," according to their website. "Really, the movie is so well-received by critics that it could potentially top off lists for both respective holidays. For now, we'll appropriately stick with Christmas." The site aggregates the reviews of movie critics across the country.
Tom Stadler, New Canaan's Administrative Officer, was quick to answer with his favorite, a decidedly unsentimental choice.
"'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,'" he said, referring to the 1989 comedy starring Chevy Chase. "My family watches it every year. I love it when Aunt Bethany says grace."
agrees with Stadler about 'Christmas Vacation,' and added Bill Murray's 1988 comedy 'Scrooged,' to his list that also includes 'It's A Wonderful Life.'
Fire Marshal Fred Baker's enthusiasm for his choice was palpable.
"'Holiday Inn,'" he said. "With Bing Crosby. It's the one that made 'White Christmas' famous. My wife and I try to find a time to set aside and watch it every year."
Stacy Miltenberg wasn't sure her choice, 'Love Actually' qualified as a holiday movie. Assured that it does, the administrative assistant for the enthused about the 2003 romantic comedy with the all-star cast.
Walt DeTour, a 18-year-resident in New Canaan was renewing his parking permit and said the 1951 classic 'A Christmas Carol,' as his favorite movie.
Kiwanis Club President Jenny Esposito choice 'The Bishop's Wife,' as her favorite. The 1947 movie stars Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven.
"Cary Grant is an angel who comes down to help the Bishop, David Niven," she told Patch. "It's charming. It's a beautiful story."
Add the glow of the electronic hearth to the lights that will shine on New Canaan families this holiday season.