The neighborhood is adorned with bright lights. Children rush around in circles chasing each other and are barely recognizable owing to their warm mufflers, boots and jackets. You feel a spine-chilling breeze that just stroked your cheeks. It does not take long for you to realize that it is that time of the year. Any guesses?
You guessed it right! It is Christmas and the New Year week!
Christmas, one of the most widely celebrated festivals around the world, celebrates the spirit of togetherness, and rightly so. It is the time when everyone sits together leaving their differences aside, with the sole purpose of having a gala time.
In this article, we have compiled a list of some movies and novels that best encapsulate the never dying spirit of Christmas and New Year. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but it successfully manages to provide a small glimpse into some prominent entries in these two categories.
- Home Alone
This is a movie almost everyone immediately recognizes even if somehow someone hasn’t seen it. A simplistic plot sprinkled with salt of innocence and oddball humor is the recipe that goes into its making. Eight year old Kevin is in charge of the house after his parents accidentally leave him behind on their yearly Christmas trip. The prospect of being all alone in the house and getting to do whatever he feels like excites Kevin. When two robbers get to know this, they see it as a wonderful opportunity to rob the house. How a young Kevin takes it upon himself to safeguard his house from the robbers makes for the rest of the movie.
It might come off as a casual comedy film which it definitely is, but it invites you to get down to the soul of it where you discover innocence and a world perceived through the eyes of a child. It tells you that despite all the problems that you encounter in your life, sometimes not fretting over the problem too much and letting your inner child do the job can solve the problem wonderfully. Something might still go wrong; but you will never regret having used this way-because the intent behind it was pure. So go watch it, have a great laugh and if possible, take away a lesson or two. It is perfectly fine even if you don’t. Either way, it will make you feel good!
- It’s a Wonderful Life
No X-Mas and New Year’s Eve is complete without mention of this Frank Capra classic. It’s A Wonderful Life is so synonymous to Christmas movies that one might as well dwell over the fact that Santa himself takes a break from delivering gifts when this movie is on air!
At the core of this movie is a man named George Bailey, a modest man living in an even more modest town with dreams shining through his curious eyes. He wishes to travel the world and be an architect. It is not long before reality hits him and he has to give up all his earnings for the cause of others. Dejected, he attempts to end his life before an angel saves him and gives him a chance to look at the world without him.
Humanity exudes throughout the film and conveniently makes a comfy room for itself in the safest corners of your heart. You realize that despite you being dismissive about this world, there are people out there who genuinely care for you. You can’t help but shed a tear or two at the tranquil portrayal of what it means to be human. So, do yourself a favor and join George and his friends in this beautiful story. You won’t realize when you end up becoming a part of them. As George’s brother rightly says, “No man is poor who has friends.”
- A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story is a Christmas comedy film directed by Bob Clark and is based on a book, ‘In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash‘ by Jean Shepherd.
Being a family movie, it has been loved all over the world for its humour and the smile that it has brought to everyone’s faces. This is also the reason that since 1997, a marathon of the film has aired annually on TNT or TBS, comprising 12 consecutive airings on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day each year.
It is a movie full of madness and frolic which revolves around a nine year old boy Ralphie who has a pretty unacceptable demand of a Red Ryder BB gun as his Christmas present. His mother denies him the present, saying that he’ll have his eye poked out with it. Throughout the movie Ralphie gets to hear the same thing; first from his teacher and then even from Santa himself!
Quite ironically, Ralphie manages to get the present he wanted but from the person he least expected it to come from-his father! The movie tickles the funny bone of viewers too as Ralphie does manage to hit his glasses with his gun, which breaks them which, in turn creates a chaos as his mother leaves the door open to attend to him. The neighbours’ hounds enter their house, and devour on the Christmas turkey!
This movie also shows Ralphie’s struggle as a child, and how he manages to take down a bully bigger than him.
The movie ends on a happy note as the family enjoys the Christmas dinner happily together in a sophisticated Chinese restaurant. The movie provides the viewers with a sense of comfortability of being with family and brings out the importance of the madness that forms part of our lives.
- Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th Street is an Oscar winning drama-comedy movie which focuses on the effect a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa has. The film has become an all-time Christmas favourite over the years.
When the old man in the movie is hired to become Santa Claus, he takes the job too seriously. His sanity is questioned and he is even put on a trial. He still manages to prove himself as ‘Kris Kringle’. Regardless of the decision of the court, all those who were touched by his love and compassion in the movie have to decide his authenticity themselves.
Although not Santa, the old man proves to be nothing less than the real Santa.
This movie fails to acknowledge the exact birth of Jesus and is a little eccentric too. But it can be used to impart biblical facts by parents to their children, thus making it appropriate for all kinds of audience.
This movie is just clever and efficient storytelling which has been quaintly done with a correct mixture of sentiments and morality.
Watch this movie if you don’t believe in Santa. This doesn’t mean believers can’t watch it too!
- A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol can be safely considered as a textbook example of Christmas literature.
The wonderful festival of Christmas is all about sharing happiness with others; not necessarily in kind, but more importantly in kindness and empathy. This is also what the protagonist of this Charles Dickens’ classic finally comes to realize through the three spirits of the Christmas past, the Christmas present and the Christmas future. Scrooge, a rich man in town discovers that he is not as rich as he believed himself to be. He witnesses his innocent childhood, gets to see the possible consequences of his selfish and miser nature, and is shaken to the core as to what he has made of himself.
On the Christmas Eve, when the entire town is joyously spending their time with their families, Scrooge is all alone by himself with no one to call his own.
We also get to know the real meaning of prosperity and happiness in this movie. It reflects the true nature of redemption, “Even the worst of sinners may repent and become a good man.”
So, this winter and New Year, why don’t we silently resolve to maybe, be a little better every day, be a little more empathetic and a little more considerate?
- Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War-I
This novel, a romantic classic, deals with the events that changed the life of Evie, his brother Will and friend Thomas during World War-I. It beautifully depicts the transient nature of human relations and ironically, how love dissolves any barrier of distance or time.
The conversations of Evie and Thomas throughout the novel slowly reveal how suddenly life changes and how the lives of two persons are linked with mere memories of each other when one is at the front while other living a privileged life at home waiting to get married according to a predefined social structure.
Apart from displaying the ravaging devastation of war and the impact that it creates on common people’s lives, it shows the history of this major happening in the world with a string of beautifully exchanged letters between Evie and Thomas. The letters witness a changing England as more and more of the war begins to unfurl.
The gradual reality of loss, reality of love and the confrontation of change makes this novel a real gem and thus a must read.
Article by: Aarjav Teotia, Syed Mohd Faran, Shreyas More
Poster by: Kartik Choubisa
Collage by: Syed Mohd Faran