When It All Goes Wrong: the Holiday How-to Guide According to Movies
The determination to make each year’s holiday festivities better than the last only gets you so far. Whether it's buying the wrong present or getting stranded far from home, there's always something to bring down that holiday spirit. Thankfully we're here to make sure all is smooth sailing this season. Take a lesson from these movies on how to avoid Yuletide meltdowns.
By Perri Nemiroff
The Holiday Mix-Up - The Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack meant well, but kidnapping “Sandy Claws” is never the answer. Halloween Town is Halloween Town for a reason; it’s built for creepy creatures, vampires and mad scientists, not for making Christmas. Perhaps there are kids who’d prefer a late-night visit from the Pumpkin King donning a red suit with a creepy head in a box in hand, but, odds are, most would prefer the real deal – even if he still had candy caught in his beard.
Your Lack of Holiday Spirit - Elf
Planning on a low-key holiday sans singing, decorations and the four main food groups, candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup? Buddy the Elf will not stand for it! You better keep yourself off the naughty list and contribute enough Christmas spirit to keep Santa’s sleigh afloat, otherwise Buddy’s going to drown your spaghetti in syrup, make you hold hands and force you to sing loud for all to hear.
Your Inappropriate Holiday Spirit Instead - Bad Santa
Buddy the Elf would not approve of Willie Stokes’ manner of spreading holiday cheer. If you’ve got a serious drinking problem, run the risk of urinating on the job and refer to your you-know-what as a “f*** stick” then you’re probably not cut out to be a shopping mall Santa Claus. Fortunately, thanks to Thurman, there’s one less swearing, kid-shoving, drunk driving, temper tantrum prone Saint Nick on the kiosk holiday throne.
Leaving the Little Ones Behind - Home Alone
Running late for your flight to Paris? Here’s some priceless advice: take a deep breath, check that the garage is shut and, most important, make sure all your little ones are present and accounted for. And just in case you’ve got one too many kids to keep track of, make sure the one you do leave behind isn’t afraid of the furnace, has enough money to buy an ADA-approved toothbrush and doesn’t have a thing for films like Angels with Dirty Faces.
Kidnapping a Buddy - P2
No one wants to spend the holiday alone, but forcing someone to indulge in a Christmas dinner in the parking garage of an office building is just not the way to go. Perhaps if Thomas tucked away the chains and chloroform and let Angela spend this holiday with her family, he could have circled back around, courted her appropriately and scored an invitation to next year’s festivities. Sounds better than spending this Christmas with a car full of flames, right?
Forgetting to Buy a Present - Jingle All the Way
Sometimes presents aren’t just things; they’re everything. If your kid pinpoints a wish-list item that’ll make or break his or her holiday, don’t run the risk of battling a postal worker, getting arrested and dressing up as a superhero in the town parade. Get out of the office, head over to the mall and buy your son a Turbo Man before it’s too late.
Or…Buying the Wrong Present - Gremlins
When a wise man turns down $200 because the desired item is too much responsibility, sneaking it out of the store and taking it home is probably a bad idea. And if you’re lucky enough to get a second warning and take a Mogwai home knowing that it can’t be exposed to bright light, get wet or eat after midnight, you better heed the advice otherwise your one very special Christmas gift could turn into one too many.
OR…Buying the Right Present - A Christmas Story
When your son pours his soul into a school paper about a Red Ryder BB gun and still gets a C+, that’s a sign. It’s nearly impossible to deny a kid his or her ultimate Christmas gift and the thrill you get when Ralphie’s father actually surprises him with the BB gun proves it. But is it worth potentially shooting an eye out or smashing your glasses? Plus, who needs a BB gun when Nerf guns are bigger, better and don’t require half as much begging?
Meeting the In-Laws - The Family Stone
You may be able to get away with being uptight, prim and proper to the max back home, but when visiting your fiancé’s family for the holiday, you better relax a little. Good thing for Meredith all it took was a call to her sister and a little Stone brother switcheroo to get her to loosen up and find her place within the family.
Slaying Santa - The Santa Clause
Whether it’s Christmas Eve or not, if you hear someone stomping around on your roof, you don’t go up and investigate; call the cops! Don't risk running Kris Kringle off your roof, otherwise, not only are you hit with the responsibility of delivering presents across the globe, but also donning the bushy beard and big belly, too.
Dealing with a Hanukkah Scrooge - Eight Crazy Nights
You’d think Davey Stone would be thrilled to trade his jail time for a little volunteer work with Whitey Duvall, but Davey doesn’t really see much value in helping kids or dishing out technical fouls. It’s a good thing Whitey and his bathroom lobster bib-wearing wife, Eleanor, are persistent, otherwise Whitey may never have had "the happiest seizure of his life" that holiday season.
Burning Down the Tree - A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Want to avoid spending your Christmas ruining relationships, hanging with the Ukrainian mob, fighting evil snowmen claymation-style and blowing Santa Claus out of the sky? It’s simple; keep Kumar away from your father-in-law’s Christmas tree. But, then again, Harold and Kumar’s 3D Christmas shenanigans did land them a Wafflebot -- everyone’s better off with a Wafflebot.
When Hulk Hogan Comes Down Your Chimney - Santa with Muscles
If your Christmas includes this story of a bodybuilding supplement millionaire who uses a Santa suit as a disguise only to fall down a garbage chute, hit his head, get amnesia and start to think he really is Santa Claus, we judge you. Unless there’s an excess of eggnog involved, because that's the only way Hogan’s effort to take down an evil scientist and save orphans while suffering from an identity crisis actually starts to make sense.
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