But one great bauble for grown-up holiday spirits is the 1934 film The Thin Man. I don’t know why it isn’t on best Christmas movie lists across the land.
The oddly non-eponymous series (the Thin Man was actually the victim Clyde Wynant, not Nick Charles) began with this first of the six films, set during the holidays. Nick and Nora Charles are pulled into solving a mystery, but their real talent is throwing a Christmas Eve party in their hotel room---is there anything more glamorous than the rich staying in a hotel suite over the holidays, complete with a Christmas tree?
Nicky’s old crime buddies hear he is town and stop by. The suavest of hosts, Nick glides around the room with a tray or martinis offering his guests “Ammunition.”
Nick: Do you want a drink?
Nick: Oh, that’s a mistake
As the murder plot thickens, "Jingle Bells" is in the background, the gang sings a blurry “O Christmas Tree,” and Nora, in a chic dress with a candy-cane motif, calls down to the concierge to send up sandwiches for everyone.
After the party a thug comes by with a gun and Nick is grazed by a bullet. Scene up, Christmas morning. The Charles’s have opened their gifts. Nora is sitting in her new mink coat, Nick is recuperating on the couch, playing with his air gun, firing at the balloons on the Christmas tree. Their banter sparkles amid the gift wrappings. It’s a lovely scene.
Surely Nick and Nora Charles should be seen as much a part of the cinematic fabric of Christmas as that Bailey clan.