Christmas movies will always have a special place in my normally pretentious film heart. They take me back to elementary school when, over holiday break, I would sit in front of the television for hours watching rerun upon rerun of old Christmas movies. As a kid, the snowy settings of these movies transported me away from my living room in Los Altos, from which I could not even hope to see snow.
The part of “Elf” starring Will Ferrell that I remember the most vividly is the beginning. When the movie starts, we see a fantastical world: Santa’s workshop, the elves, the narwhal and the candy cane forest. It captured my young, impressionable mind. I believed that in real life, Santa’s list looked like the big book he had in “Elf.”
I also loved the “Home Alone” movies. For whatever reason, I desperately wanted to be Kevin McAllister, terrorizing Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. I wondered what it would be like to be in New York City by myself, stockpiling cookies and wreaking havoc on the hotel staff.
Then there was “Harry Potter,” which, for what seemed like a few scenes every movie, turned the Christmas dial way up. From Harry and Ron getting their Christmas sweaters before their voices cracked to Harry pranking Draco and his friends in the snow to the magical awkwardness of the Yule Ball, Christmas was sprinkled throughout the “Harry Potter” franchise, and I ate it up. I wanted to go to Hogwarts, and that meant celebrating Christmas like a wizard too.
By no means are “Elf” or “Home Alone” serious movies. Only some installments of the “Harry Potter” series are. I do not want to make Christmas movies myself nor am I interested in watching any new ones. Yet, I still find value in them. Christmas movies are not concerned with a deep, profound message, and they are a break from the dramas and think-pieces of films that I concern myself with now. They are fun and cheesy, much like the rest of the holiday season, and I do not have qualms about that.
Christmas movies remind me of my childhood and fill me with nostalgia for time spent with my family over the holidays. They allow me to escape from an often busy high school life and return to a much simpler time. Now, excuse me, I have to eat some spaghetti with maple syrup.