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Why We Love Christmas Movies

3 min read

I don’t know about you but since I’ve entered my 50s, as soon as the holidays come around, I feel in the mood for binge-watching some Christmas movies. 

When I was in my 20s I used to consider them too sentimental and quite predictable and actually nothing has changed since then. They are still very cheesy and they keep telling us the same story, mainly of a beautiful young woman who moves to a new town and finds true love during Christmas and an entire community suddenly loves her too.

The Power Of Rituals

So, why did I change my mind? It’s probably because of brilliant modern films like “Love Actually“, “The Christmas Chroniclesand “A Castle For Christmas“. Now I’ve realised that there are deeper, more logical reasons for these choices which allows me to appreciate this Christmas cheesiness on a different level.

It’s all about the power of rituals and the comfort of predictability, something in midlife we long for. 

No matter how outlandish, unbelievable, or simplistic, Christmas plots can really tap into our emotions“, explains Pamela Rutledge, PhD, M.B.A., the Director of the Media Psychology Research Center at Fielding Graduate University. “Their predictability means we can enjoy re-watching favourite Holiday movies, like White Christmas, without getting bored because the familiarity feels good. We all want to feel connected and at home for the holidays and these movies can trigger memories and shared experiences that make the holidays more meaningful“.

We can’t deny watching Christmas movies can generally just make us feel good, bringing messages of hope and goodwill. They are instant mood boosters: they remind us of our childhood, they provide escapism and they bring lots of positivity. So, no wonder why streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix keep showing them year after year. 

But, let’s be realistic—there are some experiences that you can only get within the walls of your local cinema. A great film will always be amazing, no matter where and how you see it, but filmmakers always intend for their movies to be seen in a darkened theatre, on that big screen where you can’t pause in the middle of the climactic scene. This year, for instance, I’m sure I’ll pop into Curzon, a chain of cinemas based here in the United Kingdom,  where there is a festive film from pretty much every genre to watch over the holiday season as they cover a range of classics, from “Home Alone” to “Meet Me in St. Louis”. 

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The Movie Magic Formula

Whether you like it or not, behind these cheesy feelings, there’s a magic formula filmmakers know very well. These movies rate love over money, and family above gain, and add a little magic to the whole affair. Christmas films are also set against a snowy backdrop, relate to melancholy experiences or offer myriad enchanting yuletide moments.

According to BBC Culture, the best Christmas films put also their characters through the wringer: financial or physical dangers often provoking profound emotional trauma. Christmas is what pulls them back from the brink. In the end, who doesn’t love happy endings?

For me, holiday movies have a way of taking us back to the days when the holidays meant everything; a time when we believed in Christmas miracles and Santa Claus. 

Yes, the plot is predictable and cheesy but in a year so full of stress, loss, anxiety, and sadness, I think we are all in need of more positive feelings in our lives. So, now you’ll know where to find me each weekend leading up to Christmas. Are you ready to go ahead and enjoy bingeing on some holiday film candy this year, too? 

What’s your favourite Christmas movie? Do you cry watching them? Do you cry more easily as you get older? Drop a comment on our Facebook page.

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