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Today is March 30, 2020


Christmas movies

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

As you are aware from past columns, I am a big fan of Christmas and all that comes with it. Over the last couple of years, with my wife’s prodding, I have really gotten into the Hallmark Christmas movie craze. Katlyne, my oldest daughter, refers to them as “happy sappy” movies. I like them. The plots are easy to follow: boy meets girl, they don’t like each other, they are forced to work together, they begin to fall for each other, some misunderstanding tears them apart, the misunderstanding is corrected, they confess their love for each other and share a passionate kiss. What’s not to like?

Paul, ECM’s head of government relations, also enjoys Hallmark Christmas movies. The other day at lunch, we were discussing them and picking our favorites. Also with us were two younger members of the team, and they were watching us with looks of disbelief and pity as we talked about plots and actors. (I guess 30-year-olds have more interesting lives than those of us in our fifth decade!) One of them, Hunter, chimed in with, “My favorite Christmas movie is ‘Die Hard.’" I quickly explained to him that “Die Hard” is not a Christmas movie; rather it is merely a movie set during Christmas, much like “Lethal Weapon.” Several minutes of discussion ensued, and the ultimate question presented itself to us: what makes a movie a Christmas movie?

After much deliberation, here is a set of criteria that I hope can help us determine if a movie is indeed a Christmas movie:

First, the movie must be set during the Christmas season; that is a given. Second, the movie must espouse some of the following virtues: love, hope, faith, joy, concern for others, belief in something and self-sacrifice. Third, it must contain a miracle. (Now by miracle, that could be a ghost, a visit from an angel, Santa Claus, talking animals or some miraculous occurrence of an unexplained phenomenon.) Fourth, lives need to be impacted for the better. (Seriously, if nothing good happens, how can it be a Christmas movie?) Fifth, no more than two people can die, which takes out “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon.” (After all, happy endings, while not a necessity, are preferred.) And lastly, the movie should be family-friendly.

I admit, not all of Hallmark’s “happy sappy” movies are Christmas movies — some are just love stories set during Christmas, but I enjoy them anyway.

A few of my favorite classic Christmas movies are “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Carol” (with George C. Scott as Scrooge) and, of course, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But, my very favorite Christmas movie is “Annabelle’s Wish.” Even though it’s a cartoon, it’s a great movie and I tear up every time I watch it. Heck, my eyes are beginning to water now just thinking about it!

This Christmas season, gather the family and watch your favorite Christmas movie — or maybe it’s just a movie set during Christmas. Regardless, what matters most is spending time with people you love.

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