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Bah humbug to the traditional home-cooked Christmas dinner

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By Kelly LeVan

It’s hokey, old-fashioned and in some ways out of date, but that only makes me like the movie more. “Christmas in Connecticut” is like Christmas itself: A holiday that makes everyone feel a little like the 1940s never ended – like Bing Crosby is still exciting and falling snow the most interesting thing in the world.The ordinary becomes a little more poignant this time of year. Families try very hard to be together, regardless of how stressful holiday travel can be. Friends buy or make each other presents, wanting to show tangibly how much they care about each other.Meals also take on a heightened emotion. They become celebratory, and the holiday table in particular is the place where family and friends gather, sharing something much more sentimental than anything with calories.Peter Godfrey’s “Christmas in Connecticut,” a 1945 classic starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sydney Greenstreet, rejoices in the symbolism of a home-cooked Christmas feast.In an amusing twist of fate, Sailor Jefferson Jones (Morgan) is sent to the home of journalist and pre-eminent homemaker Elizabeth Lane (Stanwyck) for a traditional Christmas meal.Lane, however, is not at all the woman she has written herself to be – not a wife, mother or even a passable cook, let alone a gourmet chef. She doesn’t live a farm, and she doesn’t have any real idea what it would be like to live in the Christmas home she constructs so convincingly in her column.In fact, she lives in an apartment in New York City, receives her meals from a local restaurateur and is more likely to wear a self-indulgent mink coat than an down-to-earth apron.The plot requires some elaborate scheming on Lane’s part as she tries to not only fool Jones, but her boss, who would certainly fire her should he learn of her subterfuge.Unfortunately for Lane, she’s as bad at pretending in-person as she is at preparing the goose.Secret weddings, stolen horse-and-buggy rides, mismatched babies and other such frisky hijinks keep the laughs coming.But overall, I credit Stanwyck’s audaciously coy performance with keeping the whole film as sweet as a cup of cocoa.It’s not exactly a wonderful life for Lane and Jones, but it’s funny and clever, and Lane’s antics with a flapjack will make you hungry for the Christmas-happy ending."Christmas in Connecticut" is available for check-out at Mesa Public Library.