Christmas celebrations seem to start earlier every year, and 2020 is certainly no exception. If you are one of the people who will settle in this evening to watch Elf, A Christmas Carol or Die Hard (which, yes, is a Christmas movie), you are not alone.
During this holiday season, while many are diving back into their favourite Christmas movies, it may be important for us to ask ourselves about this modern tradition.
Are Christmas movies simply a product of big media companies solely seeking profit? Or do Christmas movies serve a greater purpose than the average 90-minute flick?
It is a simple fact that Christmas movies have become a staple tradition of the holiday. The origins of Christmas are built on a small religious celebration, in which, on a dark night, people came together and helped each other out in a display of kindness and generosity.
Christmas has since become one of the largest shared cultural events of the year, and by referring to the original Christmas story, storytellers have a universal experience to tap into that most people can relate to.
It is clear from box office figures that there is a lot for production companies to gain by making these holiday films. Many of the films can earn over $100 million worldwide, with Last Christmas (2019) earning $121 million and The Grinch (2018) earning a staggering half a billion dollars globally.
Despite the large income, both films have an average score of roughly 6 out of 10 from critics on IMDb, which shows that the average modern Christmas movie may not be a ground-breaking feature film.
There are exceptions to this, however. A modern example of this can be seen in the 2019 animated film, Klaus.
The feature family film about the origins of Santa Claus took five years to complete and used a mixture of classical hand-drawn animation and modern CGI. Animators and producers clearly put much work into the film, and this resulted in a nomination for best picture at the 2020 Oscars.
There is a reason that Christmas movies can expect to make millions of dollars every year. Whether it is waiting for Santa in The Santa Clause, reuniting with family in Home Alone, or the generosity of strangers in It’s A Wonderful Life, Christmas movies remind us of what makes this time of year so special, and how it brings out the best in us.
As there is a wide range of movies covered under the umbrella term of ‘Christmas’, there is a movie for everyone.
Like most products, a lot of Christmas movies are made for profit. However, this does not take away from the greater meaning of Christmas movies for millions of people.
While this year has not been easy for anyone, Christmas movies are bringing some much-needed joy into homes across the world. By going back to an iconic story of hope, Christmas movies allow us to celebrate each other and spend time together, and for that, they are essential.
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