You might be familiar with the classic advent calendar in which you count down the days until Christmas in the month of December. Each day might be represented by a little box, whose door you open to reveal a surprise treat; a chocolate or a tiny toy. In the case of this advent calendar you can click on the dates one by one to reveal the surprise Christmas movie recommendation, or you can ruin all the surprises by clicking willy-nilly. You probably peek at your presents, too. Basically, you are on the path to felonhood because you can’t delay gratification, ya filthy animal.
If you are a nice a human being who likes surprises, don’t read on! SPOILER ALERT! But if you are naughty or Christmas is already over, here are a few words about the design of this advent calendar.
December first’s film was a no-brainer. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) is the only movie that bridges Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas is not the enemy of Thanksgiving, people. Although I know it may seem that way when citizens of our great nation (in decline) do not respect the rule about keeping the holidays in their proper order (everything Christmas commences the day after Thanksgiving and no sooner–it’s in THE BIBLE and the Constitution!)
After Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), the calendar follows with all the greatest eighties Christmas movies in chronological order. There are a few people who might debate that Lethal Weapon (1987) and Die Hard (1988) are not Christmas movies. Well, to them I repeat the wise words of some meme: “It’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from Nakatomi Plaza.” Being a child of the eighties myself, I get the most holiday nostalgia from movies of that decade.
It follows, logically, that by December 8 come the nineties movies, starting with the crown jewel of nineties Christmas movies, Home Alone (1990), (in second and third place for their decade; Elf and Bad Santa–both curiously from 2003.)
By Dec. 15 I throw in one of the least wholesome Christmas movies, Tangerine (2015) (includes sex work and drug use), to then submerge the viewer in a reverse-chronological order count-down to holiday wholesomeness that only the heart of the fifties (or thereabouts) could produce; the closer to Christmas, the more naive and sentimental, climaxing in Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).
But Alas, as I forewarned, I’m a child of the eighties and the coveted Christmas Eve spot has to go to what warms my personal cockles the most, and that is not even a movie, but a television special: “Christmas at Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” (1988). It doesn’t matter how shitty a Christmas Eve I might be having. If I can slink off to my room and watch “Christmas at Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” on my laptop by myself, happy childhood holiday memories flood my veins through my retinas and I fall asleep deeply satisfied.
Advent calendars end on the 24th, but I couldn’t wrap this thing up without throwing in a bonus: when you click on “Merry Christmas,” you reveal a special Christmas Day slot, held by an entirely predictable candidate (and coincidentally, a movie that mashes the eighties and the forties–a great chunk of the span of this advent calendar), A Christmas Story (1983). There’s a reason why TBS broadcasts this movie on loop every Christmas for the past fifteen years, and I respect that reason.
I hope you enjoy this Christmas Movie Advent Calendar. And if you don’t, I don’t want to hear about it, so I disabled the comments. Make your own damn list!