Bubbles and “It’s a Wonderful Life”

We all have special holiday movies to look forward to each year; it’s a way to add sparkle to the season. My absolute favourite movie is Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire but It’s a Wonderful Life comes in at a close second.  And now, for a modern twist on holiday romance  you can’t beat – Love Actually, Serendipity and The Holiday; they have all made their annual screening along with a heaping bowl of popcorn and a cosy blanket.

I’ve watched these movies many times over the years and somehow I always pick up on something new each time I watch them. Last Sunday afternoon, It’s a Wonderful Life was on and proved to be a healthy distraction as I got caught up on a few domestic duties. I was intrigued by the scene where George Bailey and Mary had just gotten married and were en route to their honeymoon. Ernie, their cab driver, handed George a bottle of bubbly and commented –

” Float away to happy lands on the bubbles George!”

Now if you’ve watched this classic, you’ll know that George had always dreamed of traveling to faraway places but due to a family crisis and his unselfish nature of putting others’ aspirations before his own, he settled down and never really made it to any of those exotic destinations on his list. Later that rainy evening when George and Mary cancelled their honeymoon plans, Mary had set up a makeshift honeymoon destination in their dilapidated house, complete with South Pacific posters, an old gramophone, rigged with a spool and string, churning out some nostalgic song, chickens roasting over a fire and a beautiful table set for a romantic dinner.

As the movie progressed, George is overwhelmed with the challenges of life but with the help of Clarence, his guardian angel, he relives life as if he’d never existed and it is this experience that makes him realize that  he had everything  he needed at home, in the life he built with his family and friends – a moment of realization to celebrate in itself.

For me, sipping a glass of bubbly has always been one of my favourite ways to celebrate life’s most memorable times but it never really occurred to me that the bubbles can also transport you to somewhere extraordinary. It’s like a magical escape if only for a few minutes. And now, with the holiday season filling up our mental “to-do” list of gifts to buy, dinners to coordinate and family and friends to catch up with – a little bubbly indulgence may seem an appropriate distraction from all the hustle and bustle.

So I guess what I took away from the movie this year is that, yes – life certainly is wonderful with its grand occasions and its challenges, however bubbly needn’t be saved just for those special occasions but also for those unexpected moments when pouring those bubbles into a glass allows you to dream of somewhere exotic, somewhere special, somewhere just for you.

I’m sure George Bailey would approve.

© 2011 Ann Ivy Male

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