6 Movies That Celebrate (The Worst Parts) of Christmas
’tis the season and all that business. We do love Christmas, there’s really no part of it that isn’t awesome. Gift giving, over eating and enjoying the lovely sunny beach weather (did I mention I live in Australia?). We also love re-watching those Christmas classics. But have you stopped to wonder why some of them focus on the worst parts of the holiday?
Jingle All the Way
Commercialism and Toy Fads
In 1982 Coleco Toys created the smash hit ‘Cabbage Patch Kids’. When they arrived in the United States they were declared the “must-have” toy for Christmas. Cue hordes of parents descending upon toy stores nationwide with fist fights breaking out over the limited stock. People turned up with baseball bats to fight for one. This was the first of several incidents of madness over the must-have toys, such as Furbies, Power Rangers and the Nintendo Wii.
This could absolutely have been the premise for a comedic film, and Jingle All the Way ran with it. Arnie plays a dad whose relationship with his son relies entirely on getting a Turbo-Man action figure for Christmas. Turbo-Man is unfortunately sold out everywhere and fights are starting to break out over the remaining stock. Arnie and his rival, played by Sinbad, do everything they can to get one. What kills the concept is that everyone is acting like a terrible person to get the doll, something that will in no way solve their family problems. It turns out that trampling people because you rely on a toy to make your child love you does not reflect well on you.
Also, did you know there was a sequel? Yeah.
Office Christmas Party
Have you thought about how much time you spend with your work colleagues? More than you spend with most of your friends and family. It’s really just a coincidence that throws you all together, and consider yourself lucky if you get on with your fellow office dwellers. At the end of the year its time to let your hair down, drink from a plastic cup and make awkward conversation with your manager before you can finally beg off for a well deserved break.
Perhaps this movie is wish fulfilment for some. Because during that awkward conversation with the company CFO where you desperately try not to appear as drunk as you actually are you may silently pray for an armed gang of terrorists to take over the building in order to rob the corporation who owns it. This is only a small portion of the film, because John McClaine rocks up to sort things out, but think of the relief the guy from the mail room felt when the condescending middle manager slimeball gets plugged by Hans.
Family – Whether You Want Them Or Not
Christmas is a time when families come together to strengthen their bonds and share happiness. It…doesn’t always go to plan. When you get everyone in one house you’re going to get people stepping on toes and bringing up past slights. All it takes is a couple of cups of egg nog and a re-gifted sweater before the snark emerges.
Christmas Vacation actually deals with these problems in a restrained way. With everyone having to squeeze up and share rooms with the extended come to stay everyone gets put on edge. Uncle Eddie then turns up in his RV and raises tension further with his disgusting habits. Eventually Clark Griswold does crack, and we get one of the best angry rants in cinema history.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Depression and Suicide
Reports that suicide spikes during the month of December do get exaggerated on social media, but that’s not to say there isn’t noticeable increase in mental health problems during the holiday season, with more treatment sought for depression and anxiety than any other time of year. You may assume that this comes from loneliness for those alone over Christmas, but its more about the social pressures that come with the season. Reuniting with family, putting a strain on relationships, finical commitments and meeting social expectations can all instigate a mental health spiral.
It’s A Wonderful Life may be seen as the feel-good classic of the season but it all starts with an attempted suicide. Amid the preparation for Christmas Day, George Bailey is on his way to finish his life with only the intervention of his guardian angel to turn him back. It’s a classic tale of a Christmas miracle that, frankly, isn’t going to cheer up anyone who’s struck with depression.
If you do find yourself in crisis leading up to Christmas, or any other time, you can call Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 in the USA and 13 11 14 in Australia.
Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas
Claiming Christmas For Yourself
Here’s the thing about Christmas – it entered our society as a Christian holiday. It was, by many accounts, co-opted from Pagan rituals, but the incarnation we’re familiar with draws on both belief systems. Regardless of the origin the idea has become firmly established with modern culture worldwide and is celebrated different ways from country to country and even house to house. Some media outlets like to trot out the ‘War on Christmas’ garbage to rile up viewers this time of year, and some people get up in arms if Christmas isn’t all inclusive or restricted as they see fit.
Personally, I see Christmas as high time to invite people to join and share your traditions. Show your friends and neighbours how your family do things and perhaps they’ll share their own traditions with you.
Known lunatic Kirk Cameron takes it in the opposite direction with his infamous steamer Saving Christmas. The film aims to reclaim Christmas for the Christians with claims that Santa, Christmas trees and the like all have their origins in the Bible. Not only is this kinda barmy but its just mean spirited.
Giving Inappropriate Gifts
It doesn’t take much to give someone a good gift. If there’s nothing they want, get them something they need. Failing that, get them something you enjoy that they may enjoy as well. But you have to put some thought into it otherwise you run the risk of upsetting someone. A puppy may be adorable but it’s a lot of responsibility to put on someone as a gift.
Then there are mogwais. You have all the responsibilities of raising a pet plus some fun little rules to enforce. Like keeping them away from light, as it hurts them. Don’t let them get wet, as they multiply. Oh, and don’t forget the incredibly vague don’t feed them ‘after midnight’ (whatever that means) because they will morph into psychotic, murdering gremlins! Did you know there was a cut scene where they throw Billy’s mother’s severed head down the stairs at him? Whoever thought this was a good gift idea is a dumbass.
So happy holidays, I guess…