Do classic holiday movies hold up today?

Vincent Niewald News Editor

The holiday season has many traditions around the world. Many people celebrate Christmas, and even those who don’t can still enjoy the festive season that comes with Winter. Specifically, holiday movies are a large part of many families’ holiday traditions. There are movies that people consider to be ‘holiday classics’. The question is, do those movies really deserve to be called ‘classic’, or are they just old movies that everyone has seen? Some of these movies are “Dr Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” from 1966, “A Christmas Story” from 1983, and “Home Alone” from 1990. Let’s run through these  and see which of these holiday classics stand the test of time. The movies will be rated out of 5 points: mostly arbitrary, but just to give a standard of comparison. 

First, let’s take a look at “Dr Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” a movie that originally premiered in 1966. For those who don’t know the plot, or who need a quick refresh, “Dr Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Follows an angry hermit called ‘the Grinch’ (who has a heart 2 sizes too small), who decides to prevent the people of Whoville from celebrating Christmas, by stealing it. By the end of the movie, the Grinch has stolen every part of Christmas and plans to destroy it all, until he notices the people of Whoville have gathered in the town square and begun to sing, celebrating despite having no gifts or trees or decorations of any kind. His heart grows three sizes, and he returns all that he stole saving Christmas.

I give “Dr Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” points for the soundtrack, specifically because of the infamous ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.’ I also gave points for the movies’ take on the spirit of the holidays, as the most important part is who you’re with (demonstrated by the people of Whoville). It missed out on the points for the plot, and for visuals, because no matter how good it is, it’s still an animated movie from the 60’s. “Dr Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Gets a solid 4/5 on my holiday classic rating scale.

Up next is “Home Alone” from 1990. This movie follows a young boy named Kevin McCallister in a large family, who is accidentally left at home alone when everyone else goes on vacation. The twist is that a pair of dim-witted burglars have decided his home is their next target, and so he must prevent them from getting inside and stealing everything by creating a variety of traps and contraptions. This movie is iconic, from the moment Kevin wakes up to his home being totally empty, to the very end with his creepy neighbor playing the role of a surprise hero, this is a movie that is guaranteed to make you laugh. However, the holiday season very much feels more like a backdrop for this movie than a motivating factor, and there really isn’t any great revelation or moral to be learned by the end. Still, “Home Alone” deserves a 5/5.

Finally, we have “A Christmas Story “from 1983. This movie follows a young boy named Ralphie who desperately wants a “Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle.” However, everyone he talks to about it warns him that he’ll “shoot his eye out.” Following various high jinks, including a very well known scene where a kid is triple-dog dared to put his tongue on a frozen pole and proceeds to get it stuck,Christmas finally rolls around, and Ralphie gets the airgun he wanted so dearly, takes it outside, shoots it, and ricochets the bullet into his eye. Adult Ralphie says the gun was the best gift he ever got. This movie isn’t my favorite. There are several scenes that don’t age very well at all, from Ralphie’s mouth getting washed out with soap, to the entire scene in the Chinese restaurant. That, combined with a message that isn’t very clear on what it wants viewers to gain, leads me to give “A Christmas Story” a 2/5.

There are many excellent holiday movies out in the world, and many of them deserve to be called classic and remembered fondly. What really matters isn’t what movies you watch during the holiday season, but who you’re watching with, and how much you’re enjoying your time spent together.