Analyzing Christmas in Film: Santa to the Supernatural

November 1, 2020
Analyzing Christmas in Film: Santa to the Supernatural

Film plays a vital role in the celebration of Christmas. Fordecades, it has taught audiences about what the celebration of theseason looks like – from the decorations to the costumes and to theexpected snowy weather – as well as mirrors our own festivitiesback to us. Films like It's a Wonderful Life and Home Alone havecome to play key roles in real-life domestic celebrations: watchingsuch titles has become, for many families, every bit as importantas tree-trimming and leaving cookies out for Santa. These filmshave exported the American take on the holiday far and wide andhelped us conjure an image of the perfect holiday.Rather than settling the 'what is a Christmas film?' debate –indeed, Die Hard and Lethal Weapon are discussed within – AnalyzingChristmas in Film: Santa to the Supernatural focuses on the howChristmas is presented on the deluge of occasions when it appears.While most Christmas films are secular, religion makes many cameos,appearing through Nativity references, storylines involvingspiritual rebirth, the framing of Santa as a Christ-like figure andthe all-importance of family, be it the Holy family or just thosegathered around the dining table. Also explored are popularnarratives involving battles with stress and melancholy, singleparents and Christmas martyrs, visits from ghosts and angels, bigcities and small towns, break-ups and make-ups and the tickingclock of mortality.Nearly 1000 films are analyzed in this volume to determine whatthe portrayal of Christmas reveals about culture, society and faithas well as sex roles, consumerism, aesthetics and aspiration.