As you’re reading this, you’re probably either still in a walking tryptophan coma or you’re mid-way through losing your sanity in stores jammed full of overly-caffeinated deal hunters as tight as a can of frugal sardines. Either way, you’re about ready for this holiday to be over, I bet. As a Canadian, my Thanksgiving was a month ago and I can tell you that while it’s mostly lovely to visit with family and binge on stuffing and gravy, two days of holidays is PLENTY.
The good news is that the very second that Thanksgiving (yours, not mine) is over, Christmas season begins. That is, afterall, most likely the reason you’re wrist-deep in recently acquired credit card debt. With Christmas season, comes holiday movies, and with holiday movies comes more quality family time, this time with less gobble gobble and more theater popcorn.
This year, your choices for new legitimate Christmas holiday movies are pretty slim. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, which is rated R, and a solid R at that. I haven’t seen it, but if past Harold and Kumar adventures are any indication, this Christmas film is likely filled with all manner of naughty behavior, which is exactly what it’s supposed to be. It’s not a kid’s movie, so it doesn’t haven’t to watch its language. So if you want a kid’s movie, I’d recommend less Harold and Kumar and more Arthur.
Arthur Christmas is this year’s only choice for the kids, so it better be good or the holidays will be ruined. I’m joking, but only mostly. The reviews for Arthur Christmas have been pretty good. “It is so ingenious, endearing, and downright funny that it instantly joins the ranks of first-class holiday movies, intended for viewers young and old,” says critic Leonard Maltin, who I’ve trusted since I’d watch him as a kid on Entertainment Tonight. I liked the way he spoke and he always seemed to like the same movies I did.
Others have not been as kind. The premise behind Arthur Christmas, briefly, is that a mistake is made during delivery and one gift for one child is missed, so Arthur, who is Santa’s youngest son, and his grandfather set out to make sure that little girl gets her bike before the morning. Jonathan Kim from The Huffington Post is, apparently, repulsed by all this Christmasness:
“…there’s the message of Arthur Christmas. Do parents want their kids to think that if the object of their greediest desire isn’t waiting for them under the tree on Christmas morning, that Santa doesn’t care about them and that Christmas is ruined for every child on earth? The idea that the spirit of Christmas hinges solely on the happiness of a child receiving the present they asked Santa for would be disgusting in any year, but it’s even more deplorable in this economy and is sure to have many parents cringing, especially if they’re already struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table.”
He goes on for what seems like forever, all of which can be summarized by saying he doesn’t like this movie and thinks it’s the work of the devil. Those are my words, not his. Although, I do agree on some level — Christmas has certainly reached an incredible degree of commercialism, to the point where the real meaning of the season has been nearly completely lost. Even if Jesus isn’t your thing, there should be a general feeling of kindness and generosity at the forefront of our minds that we often forget to carry with us throughout the year. All of this has been clouded by what has become the need to spend a small (and sometimes not so small) fortune to prove how kind and generous we are by buying our friends and family stuff and junk and completely unnecessary garbage. So, to that end, I agree with Mr. Kim.
However. HOWEVER. Can we lighten up, please? Come on. I mean, come ON. It’s an animated children’s movie about Santa Claus. If you’re parenting your children to not buy into the commercial aspects of the holiday season, first of all, good for you and also please don’t take them to see this movie. It will completely ruin them irreparably for the rest of their lives. This movie will teach them that sometimes kids get stuff on Christmas and that the adults responsible for this gift giving take it pretty seriously. Sometimes adults give too much weight to the importance of getting exactly the right gift for the people they care about. Sometimes adults get crazy-stupid. There are millions of children all over this world that would sooner wish for FOOD on Christmas morning than some poorly assembled piece of plastic that they’ll grow bored with faster than it took for their crazy-stupid adult to shop for it. GRANTED, but this is why we are supposed to teach our children about kindness and generosity and to be genuinely grateful for what we have. But seriously. It’s a movie. It’s fiction. Even children who believe in Santa Claus will know that this is fiction because it’s an animated movie, not a story found in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Can we stop being so serious all the time and just try to enjoy ourselves a little bit? Laugh at the jokes a little. It’s good for your soul.
I, for one, am excited to take my two small, impressionable girls to see Arthur Christmas, which opened on Wednesday. We’re going to spend too much money on popcorn and nachos. We’re going to go straight from the movie theater to go meet Santa so they can tell him what they’d like for Christmas. Then we’re going to decorate our tree a full month early while listening to Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s Christmas album from some time in the 1980s. And I’m not going to feel guilty for any of it (except maybe Kenny and Dolly, which I sort of regret admitting) because I know that the spirit of Christmas does NOT hinge on what gifts we receive, but on spending quality time as a family doing things like watching silly holiday movies together.
Have you seen Arthur Christmas yet? If so, tell me about it. If not, do you plan on it? I’ve heard it’s good.