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What truly makes a Christmas film?

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What truly makes a Christmas film?

Blakelee Sutton, Editor-In-Chief

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Christmas movies are a genre of film that are adored by an incredibly large audience. They are a great way for people to celebrate the beloved holiday with countless examples of great movies.
That being said, there is much debate across popular culture as to what constitutes a Christmas film. This cultural divide has caused a categorization of certain movies into the Christmas genre, while others claim that those movies don’t belong.
Many people have differing ideas about the qualifications for a Christmas movie. Some say that the plot merely taking place at Christmas time qualifies that movie, but I have a different perspective.
I think that in order for a movie to qualify, the themes and ideas present within the script must be synonymous with those that make up Christmas traditions.
They need to include themes about family and being appreciative of the time you have with them. It should contain a character that is reminded to never take anything for granted and make the most of the time he/she has.
A truly great example of a true Christmas movie that contains this central message would have to be “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The character of George Bailey is taken through certain events in his life, but as if he had never existed. He learns to cherish life and be appreciative of the people and loved ones he surrounds himself with.
But of course the genre shouldn’t be limited to deep character studies such as that; they can also be an incredibly comedic joyride.
An example of this for me would be “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Not only is this one of my favorite Christmas films, but it’s without a doubt one of my favorite comedies. The comedic talent at work here is brilliant and the character arcs at play highlight appreciation of family togetherness, even with the inevitable mishaps.
These reasons are why I wouldn’t qualify a movie like “Die Hard” as a Christmas movie, like many do. Although it takes place at Christmas time, the plot revolves around a New York cop as he yippee-ki-yays through obstacles of terrorists and a foot full of glass to save a group of hostages from an overtly insane Alan Rickman. It might be a good action film, but it lacks the qualities that I would define as the foundation of a true Christmas film.
Although many people have different ideas about Christmas movies, I personally think that the most important inclusion are the sincere feelings that go along with the holiday season. Other films might include Christmas imagery, but I believe the true qualifiers are the family-central plotlines that warm the hearts of us all.

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What truly makes a Christmas film?