For the 25 days of December leading up to Christmas, Pittsburgh City Paper staff watched one Christmas movie each day. They ranged in quality from so-bad-it’s-good to so-bad-I-wanna-cancel-Christmas. As a staff, we’ve collectively learned a lot about the genre of Christmas movies designed to exude as much merriment as possible.
The most important aspect of a Christmas movie, specifically those on Hallmark or Lifetime is the age-old conflict of city vs. small-town. Urban vs. rural. New York vs. festively named town in Ohio. There are literally dozens of movies where a woman working a busy job in the city learns to slow down and remember her roots, and their roots almost always include a small-town boy who is vaguely rugged. It’s anti-urban propaganda!
Christmas spirit and the meaning of Christmas are also crucial concepts that crop up in nearly every movie. Rarely are they defined succinctly, but they can serve as a stand-in for falling in love, hanging out with family, donating to orphans, or helping Santa.
Finally, there is the snow situation. Christmas movies take the concept of a White Christmas very literally (and I don’t just mean with casting choices). It is constantly snowing on and around Christmas, with that perfect, fluffy, snowball snow. Obviously, it’s picturesque, but if holiday movies continue to portray Christmas in this way, it will only exacerbate the disappointing reality of a snowless Christmas, because the planet is dying.
Read City Paper's complete Holiday Film Advent Calendar at pghcitypaper.com.