Hollywood holiday habits: Big games, small gifts and other joys

Actor Matthew McConaughey and wife, Camila Alves, arrive at the Hollywood Film Awards in Beverly Hills, California November 7, 2016. ― Reuters pic
Actor Matthew McConaughey and wife, Camila Alves, arrive at the Hollywood Film Awards in Beverly Hills, California November 7, 2016. ― Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Nov 8 ― We asked stars and filmmakers about their holiday traditions. Here are edited excerpts from their answers:

Gabrielle Union, Almost Christmas

My husband (Dwyane Wade of the Chicago Bulls) has been playing on Christmas Day for as long as we’ve been together. So I watch my husband play basketball. And how Christmas goes really depends on how the game goes. There was the infamous “Kobe shot” that ruined Christmas. And then there was the big Heat win over the Cavs, so we had a good Christmas. Before I started seeing Dwyane, (my family) would listen to the Broadway cast album of Dreamgirls and choose different parts. Some years, I got to be James Early, and some years Deena — but those were the rare years.

Matthew McConaughey, Sing

Our favourite thing in our family wasn’t really the presents under the tree. We loved the stockings, especially my mum’s. She loved to open things, (and) we’d wrap, like, six beautiful boxes, so she’d think she was going to get down to a necklace or something. After about 10 minutes of opening all these packages and getting down to a Tiffany box, it would be a cotton ball. We still do that. (My son) Levi wrapped a Q-tip in five boxes. And (my wife) Camila really thought she was going to get this awesome thing we found in our travels. You’ve got to have a sense of humour to live in this family.

Kyra Sedgwick, The Edge of Seventeen

I think one of the greatest Christmas movies of all times is It’s a Wonderful Life. As clichéd as it sounds, it says a lot about the idea that we don’t know the profound effect we have on one another’s lives. I’m also a huge fan of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My kids are 24 and 27, and we always used to make a family tradition of watching it. I love that the Grinch is such a miserable soul. We can all relate to that sometimes. We’re actually going to Cuba this year, and I’ve got The Grinch on a DVD.

Jacob Latimore, Collateral Beauty

When I was younger, Home Alone was one of my favourite movies to watch around the holidays. Something about being around family and watching a family movie like that just got me in the spirit. You watched so much that you knew it like the back of your hand. Christmas in my family is when everybody is dropping everything to come together. I live in Atlanta, but I always go back to home to Milwaukee, where I’m from, because a holiday without snow or cold weather is weird.

John Goodman, Patriots Day

My favourite Christmas movie is always It’s a Wonderful Life. But I like to listen to music more than anything else: The Phil Spector Christmas album (A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector), some Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, maybe make myself feel smarter with some Bach. In New Orleans, where I live, they have a tradition on Christmas Eve called the Réveillon, where they start eating about midnight, gumbo and all sorts of foods. I’m going to miss it this year. I’ll be in New York (performing in The Front Page on Broadway), which is always a treat.

Andy Garcia, Passengers and True Memoirs of an International Assassin

As a fortunate member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that is the time of year that we try to catch up on all of the different films that we hear good things about. My family is grown up now, so they’re in different cities, but we try to spend Christmas together. We have a screening room, and we light a fire and have dinner and watch a movie every night. Bring your pyjamas.

Mackenzie Davis, Always Shine

My sister and I come home (to Canada) and regress into five-year-old narcissists and make everybody watch home movies of us and applaud how cute we are. My mum tries to class it up with Miracle on 34th Street, but we’re not drawn to that as much as our recorded lives. I just got a house in Los Angeles, and now there’s a whole new world of people to invite over and be like, “Bet you guys haven’t seen this.”

J.A. Bayona, director of A Monster Calls

I celebrate Christmas in Spain, where my family lives, and we sit down to dinner with 20 (to) 30 people. (We also) go to the movies. We normally choose a movie everyone can watch, and it’s always a big argument, trying to get 10 or more people to agree. I remember when I was a kid, the first movie I saw was Superman, and my parents took me during Christmas. This year, I think for sure we want to see the Star Wars movie.

Megan Mullally, Why Him?

This year we’re going to go see my mum in Oklahoma City. She’s 95 and confined to a bed in her own home with 24-hour care, thanks to Will & Grace, so we’re going to arrange for her to get to a theatre to see (Why Him?). She wants to see it. It (will) be a bit of a production. She can’t sit up for extended periods of time, so (she’s) going in her reclining wheelchair, and we’re taking at least two of her beautiful caregivers with us. The movie is really dirty, but she liked a good dirty joke back in the day.

Carla Gugino, The Space Between Us

My boyfriend (writer and director Sebastian Gutierrez) is from South America, and so Christmas Eve is our big celebration. While cooking and (drinking) wine and opening presents each hour, we watch Raiders of the Lost Ark — just because it’s one of the best movies ever made. I love Karen Allen’s performance so much. You’re on fire with your cooking when that movie is playing. And in the ultimate Christmas spirit, Raiders is about Jewish artefacts that are going to defeat evil. So it’s appropriate to the day. ― The New York Times

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