Through films such as It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle On 34th Street and Home Alone, cinema has had a profound effect on the contemporary definition of Christmas as a social rather than religious festival. This volume of eleven essays explores the great Christmas films, as well as some of the lesser-known ones that highlight the ways in which Christmas has been celebrated, perceived and presented in American and European society and cinema. This book questions how films create and interpret what Christmas means to societies across the Anglo-Saxon and European world, examining topics such as Santa Claus in cinema, Dickens and Christmas, and Spanish and German seasonal creations.
Whether we love or hate it, Christmas has always played a special role in the cinema, and Christmas movies like "It’s a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street" have a special place in popular affections. They almost constitute a mini-cinematic genre. So what does Christmas in the movies mean to societies across the Anglo-Saxon and European world and what does it have to say about them? The contributors to this book take a good look at popular Christmas films, decoding the messages they convey about preoccupations and attitudes internationally and about the different societies that produce them.