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Harry Potter: My Christmas Movies

If Harry Potter (movie poster)your family is anything like mine, movies are a huge part of the Christmas season. When darkness falls in the late afternoon, temperatures drop below freezing and the glow of electric candles fill the room, throwing on a blanket and firing up a movie is a great way to spend the evening—particularly when the kids and mom and dad don’t have to be anywhere in the morning. Sure, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Elf and Love Actually will inevitably make their appearances. But for my money, nothing says “it’s Christmas!” like the annual re-watching of the entire Harry Potter franchise.

As my wife is quick to point out, the Harry Potter movies are not, technically, Christmas movies. There is no overt holiday theme. Santa doesn’t make an appearance. I’m fairly certain there is no mention of Jesus anywhere. Yet they feel like holiday movies. Why is that?

At their heart, the Harry Potter movies are about family. And that, for me, is what the holiday season is all about.

Harry Potter - Great HallMy children are 4 and 5. They’re right in the “magical Christmas” wheelhouse. The lights, the decorations, the impending visit from that jolly old elf—these things are magical to them. So, too, are Harry, Hermione and Ron. My son has a snitch, a pair of perfectly round glasses and a wand. My daughter is convinced that if she uses her “Hermione tone of voice,” that her imperious commands become spells. They aren’t old enough to have read the books (and I’ll freely admit to having never read the books myself) but we’ve all seen the movies countless times. And we watch them every Christmas.

There is something to be said for tradition, and although it has only been a relatively short time, watching these wonderful films over the course of a few snowy December nights has become a tradition in our house because they are movies the entire family can enjoy together. And the messages of the movies—that family can see you through the toughest of times; that giving of yourself is the path to happiness; and that redemption comes through love—are in line with the spirit of the holidays, regardless of your race, creed or color. Christmas has become as much a secular event as it is a religious one, and the Harry Potter movies truly exemplify the spirit of the season.

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2 (movie poster)It is ironic that such commercial movies completely eschew the rampant consumerism that has engulfed the holiday season. Gifts are scarce and treasured, given from the heart with purpose. Money is, by and large, a non-factor in the films. As entertaining as A Christmas Story is, the “all I want for Christmas is a…” trope wears thin, particularly if you have young children watching. The Harry Potter movies temper the distasteful “I want…” of the holidays with adventure and whimsy in equal measure. For a parent, there are ample “teachable moments” to point out, without seeming heavy-handed or preachy.

As I’ve said to my wife a million times, the Harry Potter movies may not be “Christmas movies,” but they feel like Christmas to me; and with another child on the way in a month, I look forward to our tradition continuing for years to come.

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar Rob says:

    I don’t tend to watch the whole series, but the early movies especially to me feel well suited to Christmas (they have brief Christmas scenes at least). This is the first year in awhile I haven’t watched at least one of them this time of year. Glad to see I’m not the only who thinks so though!

    • Avatar Zack Matzo (@perch15) says:

      I agree about the early movies. But once I watch one, I want to watch them all. Only one more to go for this Christmas season!

  2. Avatar Xen says:

    I like the first Narnia movie for Christmas, not so much the others.

  3. Avatar Bibliotropic says:

    There isn’t any particular movie or set of movies that I watch around this time of year, but I did just start rewatching the Harry Potter movies, and there’s something about them that I can totally see associating with Christmas!

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