I’ve made no bones on this site about the fact that I’m not an especially nostalgic person. I am generally much more driven to pursue something new as opposed to falling into something familiar. I despair at the mount of people I talk to on dating apps lately who seem to want to rewatch Friends over and over again.
However, there is one big exception to this personal mantra, and that comes at Christmas time.
More than any other time of the year, Christmas is a time where we’re so much more readily willing to fall back into old habits, into comfortable nostalgia and familiar trappings. When we retreat into customary rituals; listening to the same music and watching the same movies we’ve been doing since we were kids.
And, at the end of the day, I suppose that’s what this is all about. Here in the U.K. at least, Christmas time is the biggest time of the year for family, about making the great effort to spend that period with people and be thankful for one another. And seeing those people you sometimes don’t see at any other point in the year; it returns you to a place of your youth.
For me, part of Christmas is thinking back and remembering the times were I was a kid and those Christmas mornings where I’d been so excited the night before I never got a wink of sleep. Any other time of the year, I’m less than interested in thinking about my time as a kid. Not because that was an unhappy time or anything. It’s just the weird way my brain works.
Christmas is the only time of year where I feel like I do want to relive those memories, and like so many others, I do that through the movies I watched as a kid.
As the years have gone on, and my time has been ever more fleeting around this time of year. Between work commitments and my increasingly morainic self imposed commitments for this blog leading up the final day of the calendar; the movies I associated with Christmas time have fallen through the cracks. I’ve found that it’s been a few years now since I’ve seen movies like Home Alone, Die Hard and (for some reason) the Indiana Jones series.
But. If there is one movie I always carve out the time to watch every year, without fail, it’s The Muppet Christmas Carol.
This is, by far, my favourite Christmas movie. Which might seem weird to some, but that’s nostalgia for you. One of just so many reinterpretations of the classic Charles Dickens story, this one retold a pretty faithful version of the story while adding several Muppet franchise elements to the movie. Adding Gonzo and Rizzo to play the part of Narrators, as well as putting Michael Caine into the main role and having him play Scrooge as straight as possible while surrounded by characters made of felt and a bunch of puppeteers with their hands up their rear ends.
I think part of the reason I associate this movie with my feelings on Christmas time more than any other is because it almost feels like watching a play more-so than a movie. The fact that the streets of London are so obviously made on a sound stage, or the very fact that it’s a musical all takes me back to the times of being young, when nativity plays were one of the biggest events of Primary School Christmases.
For those seven years I was in Primary school, around Christmas, one lot of kids would put on a play written by one of the teachers. They were always something Christmas related, taking place in a toy shop where the toys come to life and lament that they have nobody to play with them, only for Santa to show up and tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
They were always musical, and they were no doubt always terrible. But parents don’t care, they come to see their kid dressed as Micky Mouse of something (that was me by the way). And there’s something about that same energy of a clear stage performance around Christmas time that I feel Muppet Christmas Carol carries so strongly.
Obviously with performers of much greater ability than a bunch of little kids.
That might seem like some strange, meandering story about why I like this movie, and make the effort to watch it every year. But at the end of the day, that’s what Nostalgia is. It’s a warm feeling that takes you back to the time you were a kid. All these elements are pretty separate in reality, but because of the series of connections and associations in my head between them; this movie inspires a lot of Nostalgia in me and makes me feel like it’s Christmas.
I guess that’s a pretty detached and unemotional way to look at it really. But that’s just where my head is at these days. Being an adult with a job that basically prevents me from deriving any joy out of the holiday has probably done something to make me like Scrooge in more regards than I’d care to admit.
Despite all that though, once all the decorations are up, I’ve got presents under my tree waiting for Christmas morning, I’ll made the effort to settle in and watch Kermit, Gonzo and Fozzy again with a nice smile on my face.
Who knows, in the future, if I eventually have kids myself, then all the excitement and Nostalgia for my own childhood will come flooding back and I can really enjoy the holiday again, through them. Or, maybe I can just get out of retail and have more than three days off for the whole event. Either or really…