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The Suburbanite
  • Gary Brown: Christmas spirit begins with the script

  • A man who watches so many movies he can sum up life in lines from their scripts, that sort of says something about the modern celebration of Christmas.

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  • “Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind ... and that’s what’s been changing,” Kris Kringle says in the movie “Miracle on 34th Street.” “That’s why I’m here, maybe I can do something about it.”
    To me, a man who watches so many movies he can sum up life in lines from their scripts, that sort of says something about the modern celebration of Christmas. And the holiday — what it means, and how it’s changed — is reflected in a number of other lines from the multitude of Christmas movies that have been released through the years.
    Some of the roles in films have embraced an unending excitement about the arrival of the holiday — at least the Hollywood version of it.
    “Christmas was on it’s way,” the adult Ralphie says in the voice that narrates “A Christmas Story.” “Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved.”
    Although, other movie characters have not been so enthralled by the season.
    “Blast this Christmas music,” the Grinch complains in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas. “It’s joyful and triumphant.”
    TRADITIONAL CELEBRATION
    The rituals we follow each holiday season are quite evident in Christmas films. These movies are filled with Christmas music, for example — and not just Christmas carols.
    “What kind of Christmas music is that?” asks Lucy in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” when she hears what will be performed at the Christmas play. “Beethoven Christmas music,” Schroeder says. “What has Beethoven got to do with Christmas?” Lucy asks.
    OK, so maybe that was a bad example. But it’s not as unrealistic, perhaps, as what Clark Griswold says in “Christmas Vacation” when he sees his Christmas bonus. “It’s a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.”
    But other films almost echo the Christmas celebrations repeated by millions of families throughout the country each year. Take the traditional Christmas dinner, as an example, and remember the appropriate prayer of “Grace” before devouring it.  
    “Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner,” says young Kevin McCallister in “Home Alone,” “and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.”
    Bear in mind that traditions do vary among families.
    MORE COMFORTING THOUGHTS
    “Christmas is just about my favorite time,” Ernest P. Worrell admits in “Ernest Saves Christmas.” “Ever since I was a little kid, I always felt like it was my own personal holiday.”
    For many of us, Christmas is our individual celebration. And yet, it harbors a collective spirit.
    “It’s Christmas Eve. It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more,” Frank Cross explains after he has learned the meaning of Christmas in “Scrooged.” “For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Nice thought. Although others may be touched by the words of little Zuzu Bailey in “It’s A Wonderful Life. “Look, Daddy,” she says, when a bell on the Christmas tree jingles. “Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” In the words of her father, George Bailey, “Attaboy, Clarence.”
    Still, for me, there can be no more comforting ending to a Christmas film than Tiny Tim’s line in almost every movie that has ever redeemed the outlook on Christmas for Ebenezer Scrooge, all in the manner of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
    “God bless us, every one!”
    Well scripted. Well said.