‘Miracle’ is on TV – it must be Christmas

MiracleOn34thStreet.jpgI recently re-watched the original Miracle on 34th Street. I first discovered this film one late night when I was a teenager, babysitting for a couple in the neighborhood. That was long before home entertainment systems, so every year I would look forward to the winter holiday season with my eye fixed on the TV programming schedule. To this day, the 1947 film has never disappointed me, reinforcing all those romantic feelings of wonder and hope and belief — and love — that seem to be expressed more openly during this season than any other time of year.

Strange to imagine that, when it was released (in MAY of 1947), the studios tried to hide the Christmas aspect in their promotions and play it up simply as a feel-good movie. But then, it is a feel-good movie.

Another now-classic Christmas fare was likewise not a Christmas release originally. A Christmas Story was first released before Thanksgiving in 1983, but public outcry over it not running weeks later for Christmas resulted in limited screenings until after New Year’s. Although more slice-of-life than fantasy, it also establishes a wonderful sense of innocence — perhaps because it is an adult looking back on his childhood, but is it a coincidence that it, like Miracle on 34th Street, is set in the 1940s (the decade that gave us another Christmas icon — It’s a Wonderful Life)? (Parents note, however, that A Christmas Story’s through-line is a boy’s yearning for a BB gun.)

KIDS FIRST! names Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life on our “Top 100” list of films.
 
Christmas is not a holiday I celebrate, but I revel in the spirit of this season and enjoy the movies built around the “Christmas spirit.”  These are plentiful, and every year brings new ones to warm our hearts. Only time will tell whether some of these movies that are made for this season will become as indelibly tied to it as the ones named above that weren’t.

Here’s to miracles. Happy Holidays.

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