Christmas movies throughout the decades

Between the increasingly cold weather and impending semester finals, it’s apparent—Christmas is near. For those wanting to catch up on the classics, here are some iconic films that capture the true meaning of Christmas. 


1940s: It’s a wonderful life 

The movie tells the story of George Bailey—a man thinking of ending his life on Christmas despite all the good he has done for his town. He is soon visited by an angel who manages to show Bailey his significance and impact on others’ lives.

Following the end of World War II, many Americans were searching for a purpose while mourning the aftermath. As a result, “It’s a Wonderful Life” echoed the importance of serving one’s community and reinstilled a sense of unity among its viewers. Its popularity has surged since its 1946 debut and continues to touch generations.


1950s: a christmas carol 

Adapted from Charles Dickens’ critically acclaimed novel of the same name, “A Christmas Carol” tells the story of a stingy businessman, Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by ghosts that show him his wrongdoings, inspiring him to become a better person. This film is a blatant critique of the Victorian Era, using Scrooge as a symbol to show the lack of morals in society. Despite the story being over a century old, this classic has taught audiences the beauty of redemption and generosity, showing how even a greedy miser like Scrooge could change for the better. 


1990s: home alone

Family members were left in shock when eight year-old Kevin McCallister was accidentally left at home during a family Christmas trip, having to  fend for himself when two burglars tried to rob his house. Escaping the traditional family dynamic and leaving behind stereotypical gender roles, the 90s emphasized its independence among its youth. The idea of being independent manifests itself through Kevin, as his charismatic character is isolated in his humble abode. “Home Alone,” reinforces the cheesy-esque jokes popularized during this time period. Between the iconic jokes and nostalgic time period, “Home Alone” doesn’t fail to make a family laugh.


2000s: polar express 

A title familiar to most students, “The Polar Express” shares the story of a skeptical boy’s journey to confirming the existence of Santa Claus. Because we live in an era where children grew up with the Internet, many of us lost that childhood innocence early on, realizing the suspicious nature of Santa Claus quicker than prior generations. This computer-animated film captures the bittersweet reality of growing up with that innocence, then the gradual loss of it when maturing. Whether you believed in Santa or not, this classic film will take you back to the nostalgic feeling of sitting in a classroom with the lights dimmed.