You always know when it’s that time of year. The air gets a little colder, the music gets a little more cheerful and you can’t watch TV for more than a minute without stumbling upon a Christmas movie. Every year, these festive flicks make their long-awaited return, but what is it about these movies?
Why is it that – beyond presents, trees and sweets – these movies stick with us more than anything else? Simple, really – because they remind us of the reason not just for the season but for everything leading up to the end of the year. Their messages resonate with us and offer hope for a new beginning.
Every Christmas, a mixture of old and new films come along to inspire and entertain families across the world. Listed below are five classics that span the decades and still manage to hold up to this day when it comes to spreading the Christmas message of cheer and good will.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
George Bailey is a man who gets the short end of the stick a few too many times one Christmas and decides to end it all. However, before he can take a flying leap, a guardian angel named Clarence intervenes to show him what life would be like if he never existed.
In the end, George learns just how much of a positive impact he’s made in the lives of others and that he truly is rich – his wealth counted not in dollars but in fellowship. Sometimes Christmas can feel like the loneliest time of the year and it’s important to remember just how important a person’s presence can be.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Doris Walker is a single working mom who serves as the marketing director for Macy’s and has no time for any of this holiday nonsense. However, she’s forced to choose between her duty and the happiness of the children (including her daughter) when she’s faced with firing an employee named Kris Kringle who claims he’s the real-deal Santa Claus. Ultimately, Doris favors the children, opting not to deny the joy and wonder of the belief in Santa.
Something tends to happen from when we’re a starry-eyed child waiting to catch a peek of Santa to when we’re adults. The struggles of everyday life can harden us to what little joy can be had in the magic of Christmas and all the precious moments that should never be squandered.
A Christmas Story (1983)
Dubbed by many to be the quintessential Christmas movie, A Christmas Story can be found on pretty much every classic Christmas movie list on the internet. There’s a reason for that – the movie eschews all the spirits, myths and fantasy to offer some contemporary magic we can all relate to.
Ralphie, the main character, does everything he can to ensure the perfect Christmas only to suffer the chaotic consequences whenever life throws him a curveball. It’s something that resonates with a lot of people. Try as we might, things usually never go entirely according to plan. Or, to quote the late-great John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Home Alone (1990)
After an argument with his family, Kevin McCallister wishes that his family would just disappear…and that’s pretty much what happens when they accidentally leave without him for their Christmas vacation. Initially pleased with being able to eat all the ice cream and stay up as late as he wants, the magic soon wears off when Kevin realizes just how lonely Christmas can be without family – and not just because of the two crooks trying to break into his house.
Among other things, the film exceeds at teaching us the tragic consequences of taking our families for granted. While Christmas can be enjoyed solo, it’s always nicer to be able to spend it with loved ones.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
A tale as old as time, The Muppet Christmas Carol puts a charming twist on the Charles Dickens classic. The story follows the avaricious and bitter Ebenezer Scrooge as he’s visited by three ghosts determined to change his tune.
With all the materialism and gift-giving that ostensibly makes up the Christmas season, it can be easy to forget about the small things that truly make the season great. It’s not all about a video game system that will be obsolete in five years or a toy that you’ll tire of a week later. It’s about the fellowship, joy and warmth a small act of selflessness can bring – these are what make the season truly spectacular and movies like these help us remember that.
A big thanks to Kevin Fischer for sending us this article. You can follow Kevin on Twitter – @Kevintfischer.