I am firmly of the opinion that Hallmark, ABC Family and the major Hollywood studios are attempting to corrupt the “Dickens” out of Christmas movies. They are intentionally distorting the genuine meaning and spirit of the season Charles Dickens captured in his immortal book, A Christmas Carol.
It’s not through evil forces or paganistic propaganda, it’s drip-by-drip via the charming faces of actors of yesteryear such as Dean Cain, Mario Lopez, Candice Cameron and Melissa Joan Hart. Playing off our nostalgia magnified by the powerful feelings created by the season, directors, producers and actors take just enough of the truth to twist it around and push the products their sponsors provide.
Dickens’s message has been watered down from finding redemption and using what you have been blessed with to finding that lost love and giving up a good career and wealth to supposedly make life better for you. Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from humbug to enthusiastic philanthropist is the classic story about it never being too late to change your ways and find happiness through giving, but Hollywood has made it about sacrificing everything for the greater good.
Scrooge vowed to use his wealth to change as many lives as he could. DJ Tanner gives up her high-paying career to settle in mediocrity with Superman in Anonymous-ville, USA. What makes things nearly intolerable is the mixing of Christmas classics to come up with a slightly different take on what the true meaning of the season should be.
Jimmy Stewart’s classic role in “It’s a Wonderful Life” lives on because it’s a chance to look at what life would be like had you not ever been born, but you mix that with A Christmas Carol and you get a bad “Saved by the Bell” meets “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” after-school special.
If this all weren’t bad enough, Santa has become sanctified and is darn near deified. Losing faith in the secular saint has become the travesty of the ages while there is barely a whisper spoken about the birth of Jesus Christ. Whether you are a Christian or Atheist or anything in-between, there would be no Christmas without that first nativity.
Christmas as we know it has changed, But I have found the antidote to the movie star Christmas: Give liberally of whatever you have been blessed with to those in need, forgive and be forgiven. Whether you have stacks of Scrooge money or all you have to offer is a shoulder to cry on, nothing is more precious than time spent serving your fellow man.
When you can find security in knowing who you are and you surround yourself with those you love, everything else is gravy. Really good Christmas gravy.
Jonathan Boldt is the Editor-in-Chief of the UVU Review at Utah Valley University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jboldt24. www.uvureview.com www.boldted.com