I love December and Christmas (once I get past the stress). I love the way my house looks, so shiny and fun. I use to love putting up my Christmas tree, I still enjoy it but it’s more a hurry up and do it, than a look at the ornaments and remember where I/we got them from. My love of Christmas comes from my mom, we use to put up the tree together every year. I remember there was a string of years that no matter when we put up the tree (team fake tree here, I’m allergic to real trees) PBS would show this Peter, Paul, and Mary special. I don’t think anyone liked Peter, Paul and Mary but we would listen to Puff the Magic Dragon each year. In my current house I have two trees, one upstairs and one down stairs, I felt very extra until I saw a video on Buzzfeed of a lady with 8 trees in a one-bedroom apartment.
So, what I really want to talk about is Christmas movies. What makes a movie a Christmas movie, why do some really not that overly festive movies become so tied with the season? Since this is not a fact-based article, this is how I look at it, so if you have any thoughts on Christmas movies please let me know.
There are just some movies that are Christmas movies no argument, you are not going to see Elf in July (to be upfront I don’t like Elf, I’m sure someone I have never met will call me a horrible person for that, oh well). My favorite straight up Christmas movie is National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Mine and Dan’s tradition these past 14 Christmases is to decorate while watching it. But there are lots of other movies in this category; Polar Express, the Grinch, the Santa Clause, A Muppet Family Christmas and Ernest Saves Christmas to name a few. But what about the other movies that get lumped in to the mix but are not really pure Christmas movies, how so we decide if they are worthy of the category “Christmas Movie”. To me there are two ways I classify them, is Christmas central to the feel of the movie, and do I strongly associate that movie with Christmas for some reason.
For the first classification, think of movies such as Die Hard 2 or Home Alone. Though both movies are set at Christmas, they aren’t strictly about Christmas. For Die Hard 2 the feel of Christmas is really important to the feel of the movie more so than say the first Die Hard. The airport is packed and busy because its Christmas, more plane traffic, more stress (if you have ever flown at Christmas you know what I am talking about) and that tension is running as an undertone for the whole movie, something that wouldn’t be as believable as say in October or June. For Home Alone the Christmas of it all is brought up more but is not the main focus. However, the trimming of Christmas is heavily used in the movie to further the plot, think of the choir practice or the inventive use of glass ornaments. To me both of these movies are Christmas movies.
Give it to ‘em
For the second I have a couple of old movies, Little Women (the 1949 version) and Meet Me in St. Louis for some reason I always watch at Christmas, and I always have. They do seem to be Christmas favorites now on the classic movie channels but when I was a kid they would come on every Christmas on regular cable. Both movies are set over an extended amount of time, months or a year so Christmas isn’t a main feature, but they both have memorable Christmas scene. With Little Women starting at Christmas and using the holiday to set up the story and all the March family. Meet Me in St. Louis introduced the much-loved Christmas carol Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Since it gave us a Christmas song that we still sing 70+ years later, to me it’s a Christmas movie.
I hope you enjoyed my trip down Christmas movies memory lane!