Is Home Alone a Christmas movie or just a movie set at Christmas?

Jane Corscadden December 15, 2020
Is Home Alone a Christmas movie or just a movie set at Christmas?

Is Home Alone a Christmas movie? It’s Christmas season, which means the great debate is upon us once more: is this movie a Christmas movie, or is it just a movie set at Christmas? And, what’s the difference? Does it really matter?

Let’s take a deep dive into this festive favourite.

What makes a Christmas movie?

Before any analysis, we need to first figure out what makes a Christmas movie.

For Hollywood Reporter, the central aspect to what makes a movie a Christmas movie is “the meaningful use of Christmas in their storytelling.”

They go on to explain: “In a full-fledged Christmas movie, some aspect of the season informs our experience of the story in a significant way.”

Essentially, you need to think: would this movie work in the same way if it weren’t set around Christmas? Is Christmas, in some way, a kind of extra, hidden character?

Is Home Alone a Christmas movie?

This brings us to the central question – is Home Alone a Christmas movie?

The film’s tagline was “a family comedy without the family”, which doesn’t feel particularly Christmassy, right?

However, there’s so much to this movie that makes it Christmassy that it’s hard to argue against it.

For instance, the scene in Home Alone 2 where Kevin is alone in New York’s Rockerfeller Plaza wishing not for Christmas presents, but to see his family again.

And what about the Church scene in the first Home Alone movie?

There’s something about the mix of snow outside, the choir singing O Holy Night on Christmas Eve, and Old Man Marley meeting Kevin McCallister for the first time to wish him a Merry Christmas – it’s the holiday spirit all in one movie sequence.

Following the central aspect of what makes a movie a Christmas movie, in Home Alone, aspects of the holiday season do inform our understanding of the movie in a meaningful way.

Christmas is a time for people to get together, and yet the movie follows 8 year-old Kevin McCallister alone at Christmas.

If it were set at any other time in the year, it wouldn’t have the same feeling – and wouldn’t be the same movie!

So, yes, I think it’s safe to say that Home Alone IS a Christmas movie. And long may it remain a festive favourite!

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Jane is a freelance journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland specialising in news, culture and politics. She studied Politics at Queen’s University Belfast before completing a Journalism MA at the University of Ulster. Always trawling social media and keeping up to date with the latest trends and crazes, her main interest lies in digital culture and internet trends.