Saturday, December 12, 2009

30 Days of Christmas: Eloise At Christmastime...

Growing up as a young girl in New York City, my mother would take me to FAO Schwarz and then walk me down fifth to look at the lights and wreaths and all of the holiday festivities and decorations. And it was then, clutching my new Eloise book or doll, that I would gaze up at the majestic Plaza Hotel and wish I, too, could live inside-- in the penthouse-- and use the elevator and various halls as my office and playrooms. My imagination was great back then, but my expectations were more than matched in 2003, when Eloise at Christmastime first premiered.

Starring Julie Andrews, Jeffrey Tambor, and Medium's Sofia Vassilieva, Eloise at Christmastime follows the titular heroine Eloise as she prepares the hotel for Christmas. She gives input on how the tree in the lobby should be decorated, advises her Nanny's beau on what perfect gift to get her, convinces the crabby owner not to evict an elderly, long-renting neighbor, and even match makes her favorite waiter with the girl of his dreams.

Eloise at Christmastime is full of magical mischief, not unlike young Kevin McAllister in Home Alone, and it is fantastical enough that a child could be at the center of such things and pulling all of the strings. Add in the holiday element, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the city on a shopping adventure, instances of breaking out in joyous and spontaneous song, and of course a Christmas surprise for the main character, and Eloise at Christmastime becomes a holiday tale onto which even those who didn't grow up in the vicinity of the Plaza will latch.

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