When it comes to Christmas Specials, I’ve seen plenty of them over the years. I’ve watched A Charlie Brown Christmas countless times, and some of the other Peanuts specials. I’m familiar with Frosty the Snowman, seen it a couple of times. And I hold the Spongebob Squarepants Christmas Special as one of my favorite specials. Christmas movies, though, I don’t know that many.
I’ve seen several adaptations of A Christmas Carol, including one I wish I never saw. Nightmare Before Christmas was terrific, and every year my family loves watching A Christmas Story on repeat. My favorite Christmas movie, though, has to be 2003’s Elf.
I never saw Elf in theaters, but I love watching it every year. I don’t know why, but I just love it.
Let’s start off from the beginning: the movie’s about a human named Buddy. Buddy is a normal human who came to the North Pole as a baby and ended up being raised by Santa and the elves. But then the day comes when he realizes that he is actually human, and the elves tell him the truth. His mom and dad fell in love, his mom gave him up for adoption (and passed away), and his dad doesn’t know he exists. He’s living in a “magical place” called New York City.
I couldn’t help but laugh at that joke. So, Buddy, wanting to meet the dad he never knew he had, heads to New York.
The thing I like most about Elf is the fact that Buddy is clearly a fish out of the water, in a good way. Buddy is childlike and sees the good in everyone that he meets, greeting each day with a skip and a smile. In contrast, this is… well this is New York. It’s the city that never sleeps, and it’s an ocean of cynics. Almost everyone that Buddy meets either doesn’t believe him about being from the North Pole or is convinced he has an ulterior motive. Buddy just takes it in stride, though. And his optimism ends up rubbing off on everyone he meets. Plus there’s this.
Thank heavens for gifs. Everyone he meets ends up regaining their holiday spirit, and what it means to be nice in general. Everyone except for his dad. Dear old dad ended up on the naughty list for being the Scrooge of New York. And in spite of Buddy endearing himself to the rest of his family, Walter wants nothing to do with him. At the lowest point of the film, Walter snaps at him and tells him to get out of his life.
This was a sad sight, but even sadder was how it almost broke Buddy. But at that moment, Santa (played by Ed Asner. This is where I got my love of him as Santa) comes crashing into Central Park. The sheer lack of Christmas Spirit sucked his sleigh dry. So, like any good Christmas movie with Santa, Buddy has to save Christmas.
The way he ends up doing this is in one of the most heart-warming ways I have ever seen. Buddy ends up reconciling with his dad, who finally accepts him as his son no matter who he is, and they all team up to save Christmas through the power of song.
I loved the caroling sing the most. I’ve heard Christmas Carols sung better, but what gets me is how many people sing it. Everyone that Buddy has met since he came to New York ends up joining in to sing “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”. This moment goes beyond the plot of the movie for me, though. I think it shows just how much of a positive impact the kindness of one person can have on people. That’s something that a lot of the world desperately needs. And it works: Santa’s sleigh gets back up to full power on its own, and Ed Asner gives such a hearty “Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!”
I could keep rambling on about why this movie is great, but I don’t want to take away from your sugarplum dreams. I loved this movie, it’s my favorite Christmas film, and plenty of other people agree with me on it.
Don’t think for a second that my 25 Days will be done tomorrow because it’s Christmas! I’m going to be doing a double-header tomorrow as I talk about two more Christmas Specials I watched. And on December 26th, I’ve got a bonus story about one of the best Christmas Gifts that I ever got. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!