Feminist Grinch Killjoy: Let Me Ruin Your Favorite Christmas Movie For You

When I was a wee tot, I loved watching Christmas movies this time of year. You know the ones. The classics they play on basic cable every year from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s. I’d don pajamas and curl up in front of my parents’ fireplace and watch Burl Ives’ stop-mation pictures, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Babes in Toyland and more recent films (well, recent when I was a kid) like Ernest Saves Christmas and The Santa Clause.

When I was a senior in college, I thought it’d be a good idea to watch the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for #nostalgia and… it was a bit different than I remembered. Here are your classic Christmas movie favorites, slightly tarnished like your childhood memories always will be. SORRY.


A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Charlie Brown contemplates late-stage capitalism and clearly suffers from seasonal affective disorder but no one cares.


It’s a Wonderful Life

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Literally 130 minutes of excruciating mediocre white man feelings.


Home Alone

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Uh, this is child neglect.


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

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Poor Rudolph is relentlessly bullied by peers, family, and Santa until he proves he’s good enough by saving their unworthy asses in an emergency.


A Christmas Story

a-christmas-story

If you think kids should play with guns, this movie is for you!


Elf

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A white man-child destroys property, acts out violently, generally seems unstable and is rewarded for it over and over instead of facing any consequences or, like, you know, jail time.


The Santa Clause

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SO MUCH FATPHOBIA.


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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A boring white misogynist is really worried about his year-end bonus, but somehow also unconcerned about the amount of energy consumed by the very unnecessary number of Christmas lights on his house.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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That poor abused dog has permanent PTSD. SOMEONE RESCUE THIS UNFORTUNATE ANIMAL.


The Muppet Christmas Carol

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Actually, this movie is perfect.

KaeLyn is a 35-year-old (femme)nist activist, word nerd, and queer mama. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, over-caffeinating herself, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, eating carbs, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Rochester, NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 204 articles for us.

82 Comments

  1. I just watched National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation for the first time yesterday and hated it so much!!!
    Like I am sorry, am I supposed to feel bad for you because you decided to spend 7500 dollars you did not have on a deposit for a freaking pool and then took out your anger on your family?? This guy keeps talking as if they are poor but lives in a house I could never afford in my life and wastes tons of energy! His wife was a paragon of patience imo in regards to his man-child tantrums.
    And that Pervy scene with the store clerk. Eww.

    • I watched Peewee’s Christmas Special last night on the strength of your comment – thank you! It was a lot of fun and surprisingly queer. I remember enjoying the show as a small child, but I naturally didn’t grasp how avant-garde it was at the time. It’s bizarre and a little overwhelming, which somehow makes it perfect for the holidays!

  2. I was about to have a level 10 freakout when I saw A Muppets Christmas Carol on this list but you didn’t have anything bad to say about it so phew!

    Christmas is my favorite holiday and I know all sorts of shit can be problematic but YOU WILL PRY MY CHRISTMAS SPECIALS FROM MY COLD, DEAD, CHRISTMAS-SPIRIT BRINGING HANDS!

  3. Muppet Christmas Carol is amazing. On repeat. All week.

    Additionally, my mom rented “Holiday Inn” on amazon and deleted it when 20 minutes in Bing Crosby was doing blackface. Awesome.

    • A childless, unmarried librarian, at that!

      Though now that I ponder it, is the truth that Mary Hatch was a lesbian in the alternate timeline? HOW DID I NEVER NOTICE THIS BEFORE?

      DEFINITELY GAY. GAY MARY. GAY MARY HATCH.

      • I always felt like alternate time-line Mary was the real winner

        Why would Original Time-line Mary have ever wanted that many children? Did disposable diapers exist yet? Like, what exactly was in it for her

        • That’s what most women did in those days, because sadly their weren’t a lot of other option available. Though it wasn’t until after the WWII that large families really started making a comeback. Now we seem to have come full circle, as more adults are living with the parents than anytime since 1940!

          Of course Violent never marries. For those who only sort of remember the film, she was the Bedford Falls bad girl play by ever exciting film-noir hotty Gloria Grahame. She may be a hooker in the alternate-timeline, but she’s still single when coming back to Bedford Falls despite whatever trouble Georges helps her out with. There’s an interesting fan theory that she had an affair with Ernie the cab driver! Thus the reason his wife left with his kids in Pottorsville is that George wasn’t there to intervene and say if marriage.

        • Here’s with I don’t get though. Why couldn’t Mary have just married Sam. Since he seemed to have no trouble getting rich without George’s help. He’s not even mentioned in the alternate-timeline! Did her brief time working on New York just scare her off to living their full time? Just what the heck did she witness!

          Speaking of which, Annie the family maid and only the black person of any consequence to the story isn’t in the alternate-timeline either. Which makes me wonder if she really wasn’t that much worse off in Pottersville than Bedford Falls! What was her line in the final scene? Something about how her donation to the Building & Loan was something to she’s been saving up “in case I ever find me a husband.”

          Ha Ha. Unfortunately, in historical hindsight that isn’t quite so funny. For a long time black women had even more pressure to marry an a man with a steady job, since they had even fewer working options. With the movie adaption of Fences now coming to theaters, maybe a younger generation can get a glimpse of why so many women in those days (black women especially) worked through some really crushing acts by their husbands just to hold on to the lives they’d worked for.

    • Library it up, Mary, and get the hell out of Dodge!

      I watched Wonderful Life for the very first time just a week or so ago and could barely get through half an hour of it before I gave up. Then when I noted my distaste for it on FB, a lot of my friends agreed, but I had a couple of people respond like I kicked their puppy or pissed in their cereal. To me, the message of the movie was that in order to be a Good Person you had to give yourself up to anyone else’s claim on you, ever. What nonsense. Stupid crap garbage martyr storyline.

      • No, having to settle for making affordable housing available to poor families over pursing your dream of building hi-rises isn’t martyrdom. It’s just ones stubborn in-abiltie to let got of what have been that makes George Bailey THINK he’s a martyr. We have such a lofty notions in America that wealth and status is proof you’ve obtained the American Dream. While this is more often assumed readily attainable to white males, anyone can get sucked into the same misplaced feeling of entitlement. That attitude of “I work hard, I make sacrifices, why I’m not treated as someone important!”

        I think the message is that if your lucky enough to have family and friends who appreciate you for what good at, than you’ve probably done something right and not appreciating them backs only makes the hard times worse. Now a days people can go on talk shows and social forums to revel the stupidest things and complain to no ends about their lives just feel important, not even thinking about who gets hurt in the process. Life can be wonderful because of the little matters of having family or community to come back to, more than the big events that receive more attention.

  4. Muppets Christmas Carol is so perfect that my second girlfriend/first love special ordered it from an actual store on VHS (I’m so old) for my Valentine’s Day gift because that film meant so much to her, and I had never seen it. The fact that we broke up in a brutal and hideous teenage nightmare way in no way diminishes my love for Muppets Christmas Carol – that is how good that movie is.

  5. I love a muppet Christmas Carol. It is perhaps my favorite film. However, upon watching this year, we realized that Scrooge is obviously a horrific Jewish caricature. Ebeneezer is straight old testament naming. Not sure how I managed to miss that. Yikes to me.

    BUT LIKE thats the source materials problem. Leave Michael Caine alone!

    • Sadly this isn’t new, books for centuries have been describing witches as eastern(many time Polish) Jewish women. In fact some of witches outfits were based on what was popular in Poland at the time. Disney generally does this with their evil witches and in general characters who are suppose to be the bad guy.

  6. My stomach dropped when I just saw the last one, without seeing what you wrote. NOT THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. I was about to just close my eyes and not look at the end but then TWIST. That was a good little twist KaeLyn.

  7. “Ruining the holiday” is one on my top five fave activities list. My partner’s mother is extremely bratty about holiday photos and family time, so I do little passive aggressive things each season to annoy her. Last Christmas I dyed my hair with grey and purple highlights, by my nephew’s first birthday I had gotten two large / visible Star Wars tattoos, and now I’ve cut all my hair off and dyed the remaining parts pink / blue / purple. I have to exercise what little control I do have in the smallest ways.

  8. This is my favorite game to play after drinking, get a bunch of friends over, start drinking, list the tv shows or movies or other popular culture stuff you liked when kids, proceed to list down why they are just terrible shows, showing the worst in humanity, lose your friends. Its almost like monopoly without all the dice throwing

    • True story: I originally included Miracle on 34th Street, the 1994 version with little-confirmed-not-straight-Mara. However, I had a hard time coming up with something brief and snarky to say about it. Also, I <3 little Mara in all her 90’s movies (MATILDA!). That, and the plot isn’t self-evident.

      Truthfully, though, I don’t hate it as much as others. I do wish the strong, smart, independent woman is a frigid bitch storyline wasn’t so prominent. I guess it’s the movie equivalent of telling women to smile and stop being so serious.

  9. I recently watched The Santa Clause and I was kind of shocked at how much really dark subject matter is present in what’s otherwise a straight up disney kids movie.

    I mean, for one they literally watch the old Santa FALL TO HIS DEATH at the beginning of the movie and they don’t seem that worried about it? And then he’s just like “let me put this dead man’s clothes on for my son!”

    Also, the child is AWFUL.

    Then there’s the incessant mocking of therapy/the therapist who is set up to seem weak, narrow-minded and condescending, even though there were major red flags re: his relationship with his dad.

    Ugh, god that annoying ass child.

    And then of course all the fatphobia and fat shaming from like, EVERY single person in his life as mentioned.

  10. I love A Christmas Story. I watch it usually two or three times through when they marathon it on TBS. Ralphie’s parents remind me of Grandma and Grandpa, and it’s sweet. But my favorite Christmas stuff is usually the various animated specials. I want to see if I can find the Garfield one, back from when Lorenzo Music was doing the voice (you know, the CBS cartoon that also had US Acres). The best one for me would probably be A Christmas Carol, not the Muppet version, but the Disney version. Scrooge McDuck is Scrooge, of course, and Mickey is Cratchit. Jiminy Cricket is the ghost of Xmas past, Goofy is Marley, man…I need to find that on TV or Netflix or whatever.

    Also, the other night, I watched Ernest Saves Christmas. It’s moronic, yes, but still hilarious, and what I love most about it is that it’s not cynical. In the end, everybody makes the right choices, and nobody made them. It’s just what was inside them. As former!Santa tells Ernest, “Trust people.”

  11. Love Actually should be on this list.

    AKA, Let’s edit out the lesbian storyline for more *COLIN* and general misogyny, fatshaming, and angsty man/boy feelings, while breaking the heart of the ONLY good thing about this movie, Emma Fucking Thompson who deserves better. Merry Christmas, Love IS all around us?

  12. WHERE IS THE UNCOMFORTABLE SUMMARY FOR WHITE CHRISTMAS?1!

    Why can’t you tell the sheeple how dangerous snow is? Unless you have some secret pro-snow agenda, Kaelyn. Now we must question your feminist killjoy credentials. I bet your apologism for that horrid piece of snow propaganda stems from your love of musicals.

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