Editorial board Christmas letter: ‘Wonderful’ ending every time

When it came to deciding my favorite Christmas movie, I didn’t hesitate. I knew immediately it would be It’s a Wonderful Life by Frank Capra.

It was released in 1946, so it is dated and a bit cheesy. Yet the story of George Bailey still brings a lump to my throat no matter how many times I see it.

No other movie does that for me. Usually, once I’ve seen a movie I can enjoy it a second or third time, but even the most touching stories lose their emotional impact after a while.

However, It’s a Wonderful Life gets me every time, and I’ve seen it so often I’ve lost count. I tell myself I know how it ends, so I should be able to see it through without getting choked up. But I never do.

I believe the first time I saw it was when I was in college. We didn’t watch a lot of television when I was growing up and we didn’t have cable. So the Christmas specials seemed limited to children’s shows like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph, which I loved, but was not particularly excited about as I entered my early twenties.

I still remember a conversation with college friends about Christmas movies and when they found out I had never seen It’s a Wonderful Life, they were surprised. So of course we all had to watch it and then wipe away our tears at the end.

For those who may not have seen it yet, I don’t want to spoil it. Just watch it sometime and have the Kleenex handy. For those who know the movie, you know it offers a message of hope, friendship and how a seemingly simple life can make a huge difference in the world, which makes it perfect for Christmas.