Christmas Celebrations : A Cultural Phenomenon Essay

Christmas Celebrations : A Cultural Phenomenon Essay

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While consumers wake up at the crack of dawn the day after Thanksgiving to rush to the malls for the best deals of the year, the beginning of the holiday season is marked by the handful of movie marathons featuring holiday classics.

The Christmas holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in the Christian faith has expanded beyond its religious significance and transformed into a cultural phenomenon observed by both believers and non-believers. According to a Pew Research study conducted in 2013, 92 percent of Americans and 96 percent of Christians participate in Christmas festivities. The same study also revealed that 81 percent of non-Christians, including atheists, Buddhists, and Hindus, also observe the holiday.

“I do come from a family where a lot of them feel that there needs to be a focus on religion and Christmas now, but I do thank that Christmas as a religious holiday has been very disconnected from that,” said Renee DeLora, senior history major. “It’s a good unifying factor where the entire country can come together. It’s a celebration and it’s something that we can all potentially have in common.”

Religious affiliation aside, societal excitement and anticipation for the magical holiday season has inspired the creation of films that reflect the same spirit of giving and family bonding felt throughout the air during this time of year. Watching these films has become a Christmas tradition among many, creating irreplaceable memories with family and friends.

“They promote a magical sense,” said DeLora. “Because everybody knows Christmas as a time when you get to see your family, those movies build the anticipation and excitement. They get you in the holiday spirit and represent everything Christmas is supposed to...


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...with his kid. At the end of the day, he does it for his family, which Christmas is all about.”

The number of films that evoke the Christmas spirit continues to grow each year, with news ones released months in advance in anticipation of the festivities. Yet it’s films like these that continue to fit into the classics category, constantly favored over some of the remakes, sequels, or newer movies.

“The classic movies do a better job of actually spreading the true Christmas meaning,” said Collins. “They do show things that have to do with presents and the commercial side but they are rooted in the true meaning of Christmas and that feeling of family. It’s risky to say that people incorporate the Catholic meaning of Christmas, but the older movies did that more and they actually tried to teach kids what the meaning of Christmas is whether they believed in it or not.”

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Christmas Celebrations : A Cultural Phenomenon Essay

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