When I think about Christmas movies, of which there are many that are both good and bad, I can easily narrow down the list to one particular film.
Pondering about why it is my favorite has made me realize that I like the movie because it relates to my own approach to Christmas.
You know that friend of yours that rolls his eyes when he hears any Christmas carol before Black Friday? That’s me.
This makes it only natural that I find my holiday spirit whenever I watch “Scrooged,” which celebrates its 25th birthday this year.
In the film, Frank Cross, a cynical television executive who, while in the process of making a live TV adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” is visited by the same three ghosts that Ebenezer Scrooge met in the classic tale.
Cross is the ultimate Scrooge. In addition to firing a producer who suggests that an action packed show featuring Lee Marvin blowing up Santa Claus’ workshop violates the sanctity of Christmas, Cross tells a production assistant to staple antlers on a mouse when glue doesn’t work, and when his secretary wants time off work to take her son to a speech pathologist, he quickly rebuffs her request because he decided to work late out of nowhere, meaning she apparently did too.
If you think about the fact these are the man’s actions on a single day, imagine what else Cross has done over the years that would warrant a retrospective of
his behavior and remind him of what is
So, when Cross is shown what his life was like, is like, and will be like, his outlook on life radically transforms, forcing him into become a caring and thoughtful man.
The reason that “Scrooged” resonates with me hinges on the final scene in the film.
Having been through the gamut only to find that his considerable power was wasted on negativity and selfishness, Cross risks career suicide to stop the lavish production of “A Christmas Carol” to give an impassioned speech about the true meaning of Christmas.
I do my Christmas shopping late every year. I can remember only one recent holiday season when I was a good enough son, brother, nephew, or uncle to apply my attention to buying gifts for my family.
I would like to think I do this mostly out of reverence for Thanksgiving, but I have to admit that like Cross, I can be a selfish, cynical, and sarcastic person who tends to think about himself more than others.
And like Cross, until I have Christmas shown to me in a way that focuses on everything wonderful about the holiday, I won’t pay attention to the real reasons for why we hold it special in our hearts.
When I came home Saturday, I pulled into my parents’ driveway and met a familiar sight, rejuvenating my Christmas spirit. If you know my mother, Jeanne Bragg, you know that she is an impeccable decorator, chef, painter, sewer, writer and mother, but you probably also know that she pulls out all the stops when it comes to Christmas.
In years past, she has had upwards of four Christmas trees, spun tinsel and lights down the entrance hall banister, embellished our front porch with ornaments and actual pine trimmings, and decorated her “main” tree in Radko ornaments that she chose because they correspond with events in the lives of my sisters and me.
While she has scaled back this year, I walked into our home to find her beautiful trees, a variety of cookies, carols playing on the player piano my parents bought to commemorate their 30th anniversary, and a reminder of all of the love and charity she has given to everyone over the years. And I was reminded why Christmas is something to be mindful of, cherished, and happily celebrated.