One of my favorite holiday traditions is curling up on a chilly night and settling in for a Christmas movie. The Christmas movies which are passed down from generation to generation are timeless, and their messages are universal regardless of age. Christmas movies of course have been produced and reproduced sine the very beginning of movies and television. Networks have now taken it upon themselves to create and produce Christmas movies with a twist. But nothing beats the classics.
Despite the valiant attempts made by various networks to create new and original Christmas movies, nothing can hold a candle to the classics. They are universal and traditional and they are the type of movies that parents are just itching to sit down with their kids and recreate the magic of the first time they ever saw it.
Of course, “It’s a Wonderful Life” has to rank up among the best holiday movies ever created. Well ahead of its time, it takes us through a personal journey and answers the age old question, “Do I really matter?”
Christmas movies have a magical way of addressing the human need for peace and hope at Christmastime. No matter what is going on out there in the real world, Christmas can be as sweet and kind and gentle as necessary when we tune out the stress and settle in for someone else’s Christmas story.
We have learned to count on Ebenezer Scrooge realizing the errors of his ways and decidedly becoming a much kinder and better human being due to his very own Christmas angels. Whether you are watching “Scrooge” in the old black and white version, a newly restored color version, the Mickey Mouse version of “A Christmas Carol,” or even the newer classic, “Scrooged,” it is truly evident and clear that when we are shown the error of our ways, we have the power to change our perspective and present to the world our very own Christmas miracle.
And of course, we all need a little “Miracle on 34th Street.” How could anyone possibly doubt the true spirit of Santa Claus? No matter how cynical or cold the world seems out there, Santa Claus is a basic, a standard, and he is part of our everyday Christmas lives. Naturally, focusing too much on what Santa may bring is not a trait we wish our children to portray, but knowing that Santa Claus can still be counted upon in Hollywood is forever a sound and fast holiday tradition.
In our household, no Christmas is complete without the traditional viewing of “A Christmas Story.” This tradition was introduced to me by my significant other, and for the first time I really watched the movie just a couple of short years ago. This movie covers Christmas in a delightful perspective of childhood struggle and joy. Everyone can relate to being the child who is forever “almost there.” Although, I have known a few children who aptly decided to see if their tongues would really stick to the pole in frozen weather after a viewing of “A Christmas Story.” Our holiday tradition now comes with a holiday suggestion of allowing Hollywood to create these marvelous tales while keeping our tongues safely in our mouths.
Newer classics are beginning to emerge, although they are really just remakes of older classics. “The Grinch” of course is the lovely tale of a curmudgeon who believes his own heart made of stone. The classic cartoon version compared to the newer Jim Carrey role is a hands down no brainer when it comes to in depth story lines and thickening plots. The remaking of “The Grinch” brought new life into a character who for this day and age, just wasn’t quite menacing enough. However, applause to Jim Carrey for his ability to make the green, self centered creature simultaneously despicable and endearingly loveable at the same time.
Of course we can’t forget the biography of the most famous reindeer of all, Rudolph. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” originally appeared as a department store gimmick, and soon won the hearts of millions of children. Who can’t relate to being different, an outcast, and striving to be given just that one chance to prove that we are equal to those who mock us? We’ve all been there at one time or another, and what better way to save the day than to be the one who saves Christmas? Rudolph has starred in many cameo roles as well as alternative spin offs in his time, but nothing quite touches the classic.
Let’s not forget Charlie Brown and his Christmas story. Charlie Brown has never led us astray, always understanding exactly where we are coming from and giving us the portrayal we need to see. His unassuming character and his wide eyed innocence touches each of us. No matter what else is going on in the world, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is an absolute must see for every family.
Christmas movies have become a staple of Americana, and for good reason. A good, touching Christmas movie can pull us out of ourselves, remind us of what we have and the importance of recognizing it for what it is. Even as the new classics slowly creep onto the scene to compete with the cherished originals, each story brings a message of peace and hope that sometimes we just are getting right in front of our eyes.