What makes a movie a Christmas movie?

There is an age old question that has haunted people since the 80s… Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? It takes place at the holidays, there Christmas decorations, Christmas music playing, so doesn’t that make it a Christmas movie? Bruce Willis himself answered this question at his celebrity roast earlier this year when he said:

“‘Die Hard’ is not a Christmas move! It’s a God Damn Bruce Willis movie!”

I know many who would disagree with that sentiment, but that’s where this idea originated. Besides an obvious holiday theme, what makes a movie a Christmas movie?

A great example is the classic Gremlins. It has all the elements of a Christmas movie, just like Die Hard, i.e. it’s Christmas time, decorations, music, etc. The cute little Mogwi is a present for the main character. So what if they turn into deadly little gremlins that kill, maim, and destroy everything in sight. It’s still Christmas, right?

Tim Burton likes making non-Christmas movies at Christmas time. How can you forget Batman Returns with “the Bat, the Cat, and the Penguin” amidst the Gotham City Christmas tree lighting. Then there’s Edward Scissorhands and his freakish hands carving ice to make it snow every Christmas. These have that holiday feel, but are never really considered a holiday movie. I could list dozens more… Trading Places, Lethal Weapon, Rocky IV, and You’ve Got Mail to name a few.

Is it weird to watch movies like this at other times of the year or does it make you one of those Christmas weirdos that watches White Christmas in June? (Hint, I live with one of those weirdos so I know what I’m talking about.)

There are even classic movies that have nothing to do with Christmas but are usually only seen at the holidays. This is because they are family movies and, since families gather at the holidays, it’s the best time to air them. The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory are some of the movies regularly seen this time of year.

So if you’re tired of watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the tenth time since Thanksgiving, I’ve got four words for you… “Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Fucker!”



Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

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