Over the weekend my husband and I watched The Christmas Chronicles. Husband had started it earlier and thought it to be a typical cliché Christmas movie, but Kurt Russell added a nice new spin to it. So we settled down to watch.
And I eventually stopped watching after the movie inadvertently (or intentionally) insulted me.
Let’s start with the basics here, because just about every Christmas movie ever is guilty of this: the outside view of the street on Christmas Eve. Every single house will be decorated for the holiday, sans the one house where the Christmas spirit is lacking. While I’m sure there are neighborhoods similar to this, let’s call out the elephant in the room:
Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas!
On a normal street there is bound to be a house or two that doesn’t celebrate, or only puts up a reef, or will be going to family so doesn’t bother putting up decorations. But, this is a Christmas movie, so we go for the full on cheer, and by default disrespect every non Christmas celebrating person out there.
But, this is normal, we’ve come to accept this from Christmas movies (not holiday, let’s be perfectly clear because no other holidays exist, unless you’re watching Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, so holiday movies doesn’t apply). So let’s jump to the next issue:
Christmas must be saved or everyone will suffer!
Here’s a wild thought, how about saving Christmas for those that celebrate it? Because while I may celebrate Christmas with my husband as an adult, Santa never made a dent on my holiday celebrations as a child. (Except for that feeling of being small and insignificant because my holiday didn’t matter.) My parents purchased my Chanukah gifts, end of story.
Back to this movie. At one point, while the kids are starting to work together with Santa to save the day, he mentions how bad things happen when Christmas is ruined. For example, the dark ages.
Hold up a moment! Let’s ignore the fact that we’re blaming the dark ages on Santa having a bad day. We’re now saying that no other religions matter. That no one who doesn’t celebrate Christmas matters.
I will be the first to admit that the majority of people, at least in my country, celebrate Christmas. But there are people like me that celebrate Chanukah. There are people who celebrate Kwanza, or the Chinese New Year, or nothing at all. Or even another holiday that I’m not immediately thinking of, and my apologies for excluding you as I know it sucks to be excluded. These Christmas movies forget about us. Ignore us. And in the case of The Christmas Chronicles—insult our existence.
Just once I’d like to see a movie incorporate us into their cheer. Heck, Santa’s having a bad day, why not have a bunch of non-Christmas celebrators save the day? Because the rest of you are already celebrating or rushing around for last minutes gifts and treats. We’re the ones with not much to do.
This is why every year I say I’m going to write a Chanukah story. This is why this year I happen to have a solid concept outlined and even though I won’t have the chance to work on it for a few months, I’m going to work on it. And if I wrote screenplays, you can bet I’d be working on one of those. But I also know that regardless of the validity of my complaints, my ability to sell this novel will be challenging. Because the majority celebrates Christmas, to the point where they don’t see those of us who don’t. To the point where heaven forbid we say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
I digress. This movie insulted me and I started playing with my phone rather than watching, because the end all of Christmas dominating our world left the taste of bile in my mouth. To be clear, the movie did seem like a cute, cliché, typical Christmas movie, and Kurt Russell did seem to have a fun time in this role. But the wording, the acknowledgement, needed a lot of work.
I exist. And even though I now celebrate both, even though my kid celebrates both, he still is taken aback by how little Chanukah is represented.
Write your Christmas books and movies, please don’t stop. But keep in mind the rest of us and maybe toss us a little holiday cheer while you are at it. Because while you all are ringing bells and caroling and hanging lights, we sit in the dark corner feeling small, ignored and forgotten.