Everyone loves a good Christmas movie. Here are the top 15 clichés one can expect to find in almost any holiday flick:
- The foreign sports car breaks down in a blizzard and the city slicker gets stuck in a barn with a bucktoothed chicken strangler with an iq of 7 whom he decides, through love or delirium, he cannot live without.
- Santa becomes a prima dona, and holds Christmas hostage until his ego is stroked in the form of songs written in his honor or reindeer willing to sacrifice their very lives for the cause.
- Writer’s block? No problem! The solution: A little bit of “Christmas Magic.” “We can’t pay the rent.” “I’m sick.” “My boss is making me work on Christmas.” Poof! With a jingle of bells, problems solved in the form of a generous benefactor, aspirin, or a hit man!
- Each and every event, whether holiday related or not, is tainted through the loss of a dead relative. Ex: “Can I have a glass of water?” “Your, uh, (swallow) your grandmother used to drink water.”
- The sadistic Christmas-hating miser of the pathetic backwoods town, who makes his money grinding the faces of the poor, is inspired to a change of heart by a teary-eyed child, (who bears a striking resemblance to his own dead daughter) and donates all his money so that the ghost town can continue its wretched, grimy, poverty wracked existence.
- The girl from the big city with a job paying upwards of 8 digits comes back to her hometown and for some unexplained reason falls for a high school fling who still lives in a basement, but can make a mean cup of cocoa and says things like, “What can I say? I was stupid.”
- A Christmas pageant is in fear of flopping thanks to a lack of “Christmas spirit” (aka a debilitating absence of talent) but is revitalized by an energetic soccer mom with no life. *Bonus! At some point, some untalented clod is pulled offstage with, you guessed it! A candy cane!
- A deranged teen lowers the gun, and says tearfully, “I guess I forgot what Christmas was all about.”
- A sarcastic 12-year-old with surgically implanted ipod and cellphone, who’s dialogue consists mainly of “This is soooo lame”, is later seen “getting down” at a Christmas party complete with Santa hat!
- Animals that can talk. (Enough said)
- Christmas itself lies in jeopardy as Santa gets lost, rejected, sick, amnesia, and sued all in the same movie!
- Basic physics, not to mention common sense, are thrown to the wind as Christmas repeats every day, disappears from the calendar, or is hurled into the past or future.
- The 13 year old who commits middle school suicide by openly confessing his belief in Santa Claus at the movie’s tear-jerking climax.
- Some weird technical glitch is remedied just in time, and the Christmas tree in the center of town lights up, just as the guy and girl resolve their complicated emotional differences.
- Last but not least, no list of clichés would be complete without the great grandmother of all Christmas movie stereotypes: As the final crisis is resolved, everyone runs out in the street on Christmas Eve to discover that it is snowing! In Nigeria! During a drought!
And Now… For those who didn’t quite make the top 15:
—- The unexplained dilemma of parents who do not believe in Santa, and yet we, the wise audience who knows better, are left to wonder where they think these toys came from??? “Psst, honey, Santa’s not real, so from whence came these marvels???”
—- The gentle reassurance to street urchins that Santa loves them just the same (and yet the rich kid gets the pool, not you)
—- The children of the town gang together to stop the evil amusement park builder, completely overlooking the fact that children who live in poverty wracked ghost town’s would give their eyeballs to have a roller coaster in the back yard.
—- The snot nosed kid who melts department-store-santa’s heart by saying that all he wants is for “Daddy to come home for Christmas”, prompting the lifeless man to lead a mob to get the kid’s dad out of prison where he is serving a life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. Just to spice things up a bit, the kid’s mother has a recently divorced sister who’s been looking for a single Santa!
Jonathan Vars is a Christian fiction writer from New England, and founder of the writing website voltampsreactive.com. His latest novel “Like Melvin” is currently available on Amazon and Google Books. In addition to writing, Jonathan enjoys running, hiking, and trying not to freeze to death in the winter.
Don’t miss these other cliché compilations!