Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Secular Christmas Media

It is written:
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think Die Hard is a Christmas movie and those who are wrong.
and that happens to be true.

Lethal Weapon is also a Christmas movie.  Even the bad guy knows it:

What must be remembered, of course, is that while both of the movies are, definitively, Christmas movies they are not religious movies.  They could care less about the birth of the famous long haired radical socialist Jew (who probably didnt have long hair and was almost certainly born at a different time of year, but was totally radical, socialist, and Jewish) and merely use it as a backdrop.

The final fight scene in Lethal Weapon is lit by a strange combination of Christmas decorations and cop-car lights.  John McLain attaches a gun to his back using festive present packing tape.

In music we also see things where Christmas is a setting, but not a focus.

Fred Clark of Slacktivist introduced me to Fairytale Of New York :

It was Christmas Eve in the drunk tank, and later the bells will ring out for Christmas day, but it's not about religion or Santa or the spirit of giving or any such thing.

My mother has always liked Same Old Lang Syne:

It is a true story.  The fact that it takes place on Christmas Eve is probably important but not because of anything Christmasy.

The reason that it matters is that the chance meeting described probably only happened because most stores were closed.  Only one store was open in that area that Christmas Eve.  If more stores had been open they might have gone to different stores, and thus not bumped into each other.


My point here is is that I've just listed two Christmas movies and two Christmas songs that are somewhat removed from, you know, Christmas.

What are some other good bits of secular Christmas media?


  1. That's a stumper. The first two things I thought of - Pieces of April and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - are Thanksgiving movies, and the former is about the holiday, not just shaped by its existence.

  2. I think A Christmas Carol is fairly religion-free. Scrooge doesn't change his ways because of anything to do with Christ, or fear of going to hell, or whatnot. He changes his ways because he learns empathy and learns to value human connection.

  3. No, wait - this one! Just heard it on the radio, as I do every Christmas Eve


  4. Virtually any anime Christmas episode is going to fit this definition, but that's because anime Christmas is purely a time for gift-giving, dates, and the wearing of Santa hats. So I'm not going to count any of those.

    I'm also not going to count things like Hogfather, which are about something very much like Christmas but with a different name.

    So, stories where Christmas is just a setting and not the focus? Where it "just happens" to be Christmas. About half the Doctor Who Christmas specials are this--specifically, the Tennant half. IIRC Iron Man 3 happens around Christmastime, but it's kept mostly to the background, that's another. Unless I'm thinking of a different MCU movie.

    The Batman the Animated Series episode "Christmas with the Joker" uses a Christmas special as its setting, does that count? As in, the fact that it's Christmas is absolutely central to the story, but only in the sense that celebrity Christmas specials in a variety-show format are an established genre that the Joker can create a lethal parody of.

  5. It is indeed Iron Man 3 you're thinking of. It's directed by Shane Black, who has form in this area: most of the action movies he's written or directed are set at Christmas - beginning with Lethal Weapon.

  6. Running Scared (the Billy Crystal vehicle from 1986) is a Christmas film.
    I Come in Peace/Dark Angel is a Christmas film, though it's fairly subtle about it. (The only subtle thing about it, really.)
    Trading Places. Brazil. Strange Days. RED. Love, Actually, though maybe that's a bit blatant about it.