The True Meaning of Christmas, According to 80s Movies

Ah, it's a festive time of year.  So much hustle, so much bustle, but what does it all mean…? We've tapped into the eternal spring of wisdom--80s movies--to find the true meaning of Christmas.

Gremlins (1984): An out-of-touch dad finds a creature called a mogwai at an antique store…and gives it to his son Billy for Christmas, along with strict care instructions. Billy’s friend spills a glass of water on the mogwai, which spawns a horde of mischievous critters that transform into monsters and terrorize the town. We also hear a very dark tale of somebody dying in a chimney dressed as Santa… So what festive lessons does Gremlins hold? Is it an allegory for consumerism run amok? A cautionary tale about buying high-maintenance pets?

True meaning of Christmas: Presents are no substitute for presence.

Alternate true meaning of Christmas: Follow directions carefully.

A Christmas Story (1983):  Ralphie wants a Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun, which he eventually gets after much pestering…but it leads to him breaking his glasses. When the neighbors’ dogs eat Christmas dinner, Ralphie and fam end up heading out to a Chinese restaurant instead, and actually have a pretty good time.

True meaning of Christmas: When all your best laid holiday plans turn out disastrous, you can still have fun, just be being together.

Alternate true meaning of Christmas: Keep bothering your parents until you get what you want.

Die Hard (1988): John McClane attends his estranged wife’s office Christmas party in an attempt to make amends.  When terrorists attack the party and take hostages, McClane has to get the bad guys and save the good guys. The debate rages on as to whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not, but no matter the genre, it still has some ho-ho-holiday takeaways.

True meaning of Christmas: The best gift of all is not being a hostage. 

Better off Dead (1985): Lane’s girlfriend Beth dumps him just before Christmas, for Roy, the popular ski team captain. A distraught Lane tries a few half-hearted suicide attempts, before befriending Monique, a French exchange student, who helps him prepare for a ski race. Lane wins the race, beating Roy, and drives off with Monique.

True meaning of Christmas: Revenge is a dish best served cold and snowy.

Well, ho ho ho, there you have it!  Christmas has so many jolly teachable moments, brought to you by terrorists, monsters, suicide attempts, and bunny suits.  Happy holidays everyone!  


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