Should these movies still be considered Christmas classics?   

Should these movies still be considered Christmas classics?    

Maddy Sondermeyer, A & E

It’s that time of year again; time for Christmas music on every station and for Christmas specials on every channel. The holiday season is definitely the most wonderful time of year, with gift giving and joy and the colors red and green everywhere. People are cuddled up on the couch ready to watch the classics from when they were kids, but something you might not have realized is how disrespectful these characters really were. 

First up is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, which came out in 1964.  Don’t get me wrong; it is a good movie. The characters are funny and their little stop-motion animated fuzzy bodies are adorable, however, they don’t give off the right message.

 “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” should have been a movie about accepting differences and knowing that not everyone is the same, which I suppose it was, but not until the very end. Instead, the movie was more often showing that Santa acted as a dictator and bossed everyone around as if they were his little minions. He isn’t fair to the elves and makes them work around the clock while he sits on his throne eating food. 

Santa is also incredibly mean to Rudolph himself. When Rudolph is first born Santa goes to congratulate the happy parents, but quickly realizes that Rudy’s nose glows. He says to mom and dad that they have to do something about his nose or Rudolph will never be part of Santa’s sleigh team. Santa criticizes and belittles Rudolph once his glowing nose is revealed and he actually encourages the other reindeer to make fun of Rudolph. Rudolph tried to be like all the others, but it was no use. All the other reindeer made fun of him but one-Clarice. Only when Christmas is going to be canceled and Santa needs Rudolph’s light bulb-like nose to lead his sleigh through the storm does Santa decide to be nice to him.  Terrible? Perhaps. You have to decide. 

The town is snooty and the townspeople judge Hermey, one of the elves, because he doesn’t want to be like everyone else and make toys his whole life: he wants to be a dentist. He wants a change and to do something different to help the other elves. After being booed out of his workplace, he goes out on his own to prove them wrong and show how he really can study to become a dentist. Rudolph and Hermey were outcasts and were a little bit weird, and for that, no one accepted them. If Rudolph or Hermey wanted to be with everyone else, they needed to hide that they were different and had to blend in. 

Rudolph went off on his own and ended up meeting Hermey.  They became best pals and set off on their own. They end up on Misfit Island, where all the toys that don’t fit in with the rest of the toys go. There is nothing wrong with the toys, they are just a little different, like Rudolph and Hermey. Finally, the misfits return and prove to Santa that they could do anything. Eventually the show has a happy ending, but it takes a bit to get there and frankly, there are so many scenes that are just plain hurtful to Rudy and Hermey, that maybe those parts outweigh the good.  You will have to rewatch this beloved Christmas classis to see if your childhood opinion of the show still remains the same. 

Another movie that rubs me the wrong way is “Charlie Brown Christmas”, the 1965 film. In this movie Charlie admits to Linus that Christmas makes him feel depressed and out of place because he doesn’t feel the same way about Christmas like the rest of his “friends”. Linus tells him that he is the only one that can take such a good thing and make it bad. This movie shows the reality that for many people Christmas isn’t always “the most wonderful time of year”. Charlie Brown wasn’t sent any Christmas cards, even though he knows no one likes him, he just feels like Christmastime rubs that in and points it out. Everyone always picked on Charlie Brown in every movie, making him feel bad about every decision he made. For example, they let him be director and then they say he is going to ruin the play. They send him to go get a tree and when he returns with the little tree, they yell at him for picking a “bad” tree. In the end they all end up liking the tree. They never give Charlie Brown a chance; they just hate on him and pick on him for no reason, sometimes even setting him up for failure.  

Surprisingly one movie that sent out a good message was “The Grinch”, released in 1966. This one actually does teach viewers that Christmas is about so much more than presents and bows, and it’s a time to accept differences and set them aside. The Grinch was an outcast who was kicked out of the town, causing him to have a sour attitude toward Christmas. One little girl didn’t see that the Grinch was different and instead made him feel like he was perfect just the way he was. She helped the town see the Grinch as an equal and his heart grew and grew. He was no longer mad at the world he lived instead became happy, generous, and loving after his heart grew three sizes that day. 

When you are rewatching these movies, ask yourself what they really mean. Ask yourself if they are really sending out a good message. Maybe in the future more Christmas movies will come out and show you, like the Grinch did, what Christmas is really all about. It’s not about putting people down, but making them feel loved and appreciated, so many pick a different show for the little kids this year, or at least, talk about the show afterwards. Whatever you feel about these older shows now, the idea is still the same–to enjoy a cute little movie about Christmas, so hold on to that idea and be happy!