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    Is Home Alone even a Christmas Movie?
    • EDIT: I apologise in advance for my inconsistant spelling christmas/xmas. I was typing in a way that felt easiest/quickest to me. Still translates the same...

      Its that time of year again. In my family, xmas lasts from at least the night of Thanksgiving to the weekend after new years. And I sure keep up the tradition! That is plenty of time to watch xmas movies, and a lot of them. But sometimes I go to other people's houses and what some consider "christmas" seems very technical and not at all in the spirit of xmas.

      We know there is a such thing as a plain movie that simply takes place during xmas time, such as Leathal Weapon, Die Hard, and Gremlins. So where do we draw the line? What makes a christmas movie a christmas movie? I know this will likely come down to opinion, as the very "spirit of xmas" is subjective. For example, I don't consider "The Nativity" a christmas movie; because it would be like saying "Passion of the Christ" is an Easter movie imo. Anyways!

      What I feel makes a christmas movie is simple: Simply taking place during xmas is not the same as being an actual xmas movie. To me, there has to be something the main character and his/her loved ones are doing that celebrates xmas while practicing xmas rites. Example:

      Christmas Vacation (Chevy Chase):
      Throughout the movie, the dad of the family constantly talks about xmas tradition and celebrating the holiday while the family does things like: Cutting down and setting up the xmas tree, installing xmas lights on the house, have xmas dinner with many of their family members, giving gifts to each other, and he even reads a christmas story to the kids at night. A lot of whacky stuff happens, but all that stuff - in the end - shows the dad that it ended up being a memorable xmas. That's a christmas movie.

      Another example:
      A Christmas Story:
      This one obviously has its subplots that could easily take place in January/February, but what holds it down to the xmas season is: The family goes to get their tree and set it up, they go to see santa at the mall, they go to their local xmas parade, and they not only have xmas morning with the kids but a quiet xmas night as they watch it snow outside. That's xmas af.

      And so, I don't get all the xmas hype around this one movie: Home Alone. Yeah it takes place during xmas. They have their house all decorated. But what else actually happens? "They're singing a christmas song at the church!" Ok. Its just a movie about a wealthy family too busy planning their vacation to be nice to each other and to pay attention to their kids. And while the family is gone, the kid doesn't do anything xmas; he just does a bunch of normal kid stuff. The only thing that keeps the movie reminding us that its xmas is the decorated backgrounds. Even at the end, the family comes rushing in and recedes straight to their normal lives again. If you ask me, if Home Alone took place during the summer it would still be the same movie. I don't consider it a christmas movie...

      Anyone agree or am I alone on this?
    • frosty could quite easily just be a winter movie!

      i used to watch home alone during the christmas time, but i suppose that's because of tradition rather than it really being a christmas movie.

      what about christmas horror? could those be considered christmas in a morbid way? i was watching shudder tv once and they were playing a movie that had all the "requirements" to be a christmas movie, and everything in the movie revolved around christmas. but the guy was dressed up like santa and killing people he thought were naughty! sure, it's horror, and it's dark, but it's still kiiiinda a christmas movie (it doesn't just take place during christmas, like home alone, the main theme is christmas)!
      -avatar created by RealmWings~
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    • I had this conversation with some friends a couple weeks ago.

      Obviously the stakes are pretty low with this question - people can watch whatever they want at whatever time for year for whatever reasons. If its Christmas tradition to watch Die Hard, watch Die Hard. BUT this stuff can be fun to debate/argue about because of how low stakes it is, so here's what me and my friends came up with:

      Basically, a movie is a Christmas movie if taking place at Christmas actually impacts the plot in a meaningful way. Writer/Director Shane Black sets pretty much all of his movies at Christmas, but that doesn't mean Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Iron Man 3 are Christmas movies - setting them during the Christmas season is just something he likes to do because it creates setpieces and character conflicts in a shorthand.

      I would argue that Home Alone is a Christmas movie, because if it wasn't Christmas, the movie wouldn't, or couldn't take place as it does. The McAllisters wouldn't all be going on vacation together, the Wet Bandits wouldn't be casing houses in an affluent neighbourhood where residents are likely travelling for the holidays, Mrs. McAllister might have an easier time getting home if flights weren't all booked up because of holiday travelling...all of these are important plot elements that only really work because the movie is set at Christmas. Hence, Christmas movie.

      The REAL question is if The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie?
    • @Winnie My stock answer is always that its both, but if I had to pick one I'd say its more a Halloween movie. It's not about Jack embracing the Christmas spirit as part of his journey in longing for something new, it's about him realizing that he needs to find the joy in his own life and work rather than attempting to co-opt or attempt to replicate something he doesn't really understand. In other words he learns to re-embrace the Halloween spirit.
    • Galedeep wrote:

      if it wasn't Christmas, the movie wouldn't, or couldn't take place as it does. The McAllisters wouldn't all be going on vacation together, the Wet Bandits wouldn't be casing houses in an affluent neighbourhood where residents are likely travelling for the holidays, Mrs. McAllister might have an easier time getting home if flights weren't all booked up because of holiday travelling
      First of all I gotta agree the low stakes make this kind of thing fun to discuss. I have nothing against other families who choose to watch movies like Home Alone or Die Hard for xmas. Its just something my family doesn't do personally. I know people who watch Saw around xmas time jist because its what they've done for so long lol - The holidays are fun lol

      Anyways, to the topic at hand: It could take place at Thanksgiving in that case. There are traditions of families travelling together to go to a place like a mountain (ie Aspen or something), a tropical place, or some other relative's who lives far away from the rest of em, usually a grandparent or something. And it is a time with lots of holiday travelling that clogs up the highways and airports. I can see how not every holiday works. No one really travels for New Year's. Valentine's, Sr Patricks, July 4, and Halloween are admittedly treated as "lesser" holidays by many families; time off isn't as extended so not as much travelling occurs. Easter is usually celebrated at home for most famlies.

      I admit, by that logic it could not take place in the summer like I said it could earlier because the wet bandits wouldn't have been expecting people to be out of town. Summer is usually the least likely time a family would travel due to most work schedules. Any time off during that time is voluntary by taking vacation time or something. So yeah, Home Alone is at least a holiday movie if not a christmas movie. However, in my opinion, Home Alone would be a weak xmas movie. Not enough xmas cheer for my taste. lol
    • Home Alone is definitely a Christmas movie, not only does it take place entirely during Christmas (which in my eyes is enough by itself to make it a Christmas movie) it deals with themes that relate to Christmas, such as the importance of family and being grateful for what you have (ie. Kevin learning to appreciate his family after first having his wish "granted" that his family would disappear and later regretting that and wishing for nothing more than for them all to return, as well as the subplot of the old man being estranged from his family and in the end reconnecting with them because of Kevin.) And is full of Christmas symbols (music, Kevin visiting santa, the religious aspects of Christmas, the consumerist aspects of Christmas.) You can make an argument that something like Die Hard isn't a Christmas movie, but Home Alone is definitely a Christmas movie.
    • I can definitely see both points of view. Like said before, what qualifies as a Christmas movie can often be left to the specific viewer in the case of some films. Obviously the Die Hard argument can be made, as well as Gremlins, Edward Scissorhands, etc. These films can all subjectively qualify as Christmas films because they all have elements of the holiday in them, but for every person who says "Harry Potter is my favorite Christmas movie" there will be 10 others that dismiss it's qualification as such.

      I do agree with @Galedeep and @Pietro. On the stance of Home Alone.

      But what about films like The Nativity Story? Does that qualify as a Christmas film? I can see arguments for both sides of that coin.

      I am essentially saying what's already been said, but I feel like when it comes to qualifying films in a specific category you can find yourself going down a real rabbit hole.

      EDIT: What do you guys think about Planes, Trains and Automobiles? I have two friends who say it's a Thanksgiving movie while I stand alone saying it's not really one. Thanksgiving is a plot point but not all necessarily what the film focuses on. The argument could be made that Neal learns to be thankful or something and in the end it was always about the Thanksgiving spirit but my opinion still stands.

      P.S. I don't mean to go off topic from the film in question but this is a fun and interesting point of discussion.
      Well, let’s just say it’s ironic how footage of someone being born can make you want to kill yourself.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Postman ().

    • Yeah, I totally understand what you're saying. Like I said, I don't have a problem with people making a tradition out of watching movies like Saw or Lord of the Rings during Xmas. The holidays are there for us to have fun and enjoy company, not to follow strict tradition if we find tradition too mundane. Its just personally I don't see the xmas in many of these movies, including Home Alone. To me, and in my family growing up, Xmas is far more than Santa and putting up decorations. And from that experience, I am a person who can't really pass a movie as a christmas movie simply for taking place during christmas. For my experience, for a movie to be a christmas movie - one that stirs my xmas cheer and really celebrates the actual holiday rather than just telling a compelling story that happened to take place during this wonderful time of year - there has to be parameters of some kind that don't merely tie it to the holidays but acknowledges and celebrates it like its proud to be a christmas film.

      The Nativity Story is a prime example of this. Jesus wasn't even born during this time of year, many christian scholars will agree as a matter of fact. That was just catholic Rome overtaking a pagan holiday to kill out the tribal culture in the land. The Nativity Story has nothing to do with how I was raised to celebrate the holiday season. Because we do practice pagan rites. We know what the tree was for, what the mistletoe was originally, or the Yule log. Its all a part of today's "christ"mas experience that 90% has nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever.
      On the other hand, I can see celebrating Jesus' birth around this time of year simply because we don't know when exactly he was born, and it being just a good time to choose to simply celebrate his birth. The Nativity Story could easliy be someone's xmas classic to watch during this time of year. Its just not xmas to me personally so I don't see the point of even watching it let alone sitting together with my family to watch it. Honestly, they would likely find it boring because like me they were raised to celebrate xmas in a different way than that.

      I'm that way about Home Alone. The family barely even celebrates Xmas, even Kevin. His family was just rushing around getting ready to go on their little trip, and quite honestly were all very cold to each other. Kevin doesn't even watch any xmas specials or movies on TV while at home. He just does a bunch of random stuff; went to see Santa sure but that's only important to the plot because he wanted to ask for his family, and he even doesn't really get much of a reply about it. Was a perfectly good opportunity to talk about that christmas spirit this movie is "supposed" to be about. But it isn't imo. To me Home Alone is a plain movie about a kid who gets left home alone by his rich and quite frankly callous family who was too busy planning a trip for said holidays rather than celebrating them at all. Like I said before, even at the ending they don't celebrate it. He reunites with his mother, and after that the family just comes barreling in and just ignores the fact that its xmas going back to their rooms to recede to their normal lives. Again, perfect opportunity for them to be like "But hey its xmas, let's all get together in the living room and make a day of it." But again, that kind of thing would happen in a christmas movie; not in a movie like Home Alone. It "displays" xmas, but doesn't really acknowledge it for 90% of the film.

      Nightmare before Christmas is a Halloween movie, btw. Its about sticking to what he knows; that being Halloween.

      I personally have never seen Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - though I have heard of it - so I don't really have much to add to that. But imo simply taking place during Thanksgiving alone wouldn't make a movie a Thanksgiving movie if you ask me.