by Daniela Morales
‘Tis the season when night comes at 4 p.m and the stress is on for finding the right gifts for friends and family. In between all of the bustling of the holidays, you may find yourself enjoying the relaxing moment of kicking back and watching a good movie that spreads the holiday cheer.
Students and faculty at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) aren’t immune to the holiday movie spirit. It seems like everyone likes to partake in a yuletide film now and again.
Some holiday movie-watchers claimed to be true early birds.
“I watch them super early. I get bored. I watch them starting around August, and then really get into them in November,” said Nina Outlaw, a junior dancer.
Dance conservatory head Greer Reed, shared her unusual start time and how it was a very important tradition for her this quarantine.
“I usually start watching holiday movies on Hallmark in July as part of their jumpstart to the season. In particular this year, it was very important to me. It was very comforting in a sense. We were in the lockdown and things were all over the place with the uncertainty of Covid and whether or not it was safe to freely enjoy the summertime. It was just a way to escape and it made me feel good,” Reed said.
For others, holiday movies serve as a warmup for the coming holidays.
“I usually wait until after Thanksgiving. Post-Thanksgiving is when the tree goes up and I start getting into the spirit of things,” said English teacher Dan Duffy.
The general consensus regarding what qualifies as a holiday movie is that it has to take place in the holiday season. As Sidney Kemper, a junior dancer, put it, “Any movie that’s made around the time of December is a holiday movie.”
For Jennifer Archis, a chemistry teacher, a holiday movie needs to make her “feel warm and fuzzy inside. Something that’s about the Christmas spirit and bringing joy to other people.”
“My favorite thing is that a lot of holiday movies include family and a sense of enjoyment,” said Andrin Johnson, a junior dancer.
This sentiment was shared by fellow junior dancer Nandipha Dubois.
“My favorite part of holiday moves would be family; but the comedic side to it because family are your biggest critics, and they’re gonna come for your head no matter what,” Dubois said, adding, “So, just seeing that you can still be, like, family for somebody and joke about some different things, but they’ll still have your back at the end of the day—that’s my favorite part.”
As for the particulars, number one favorite holiday movies ran the gamut.
Archis said she loved “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” The Grinch” (the Jim Carey version or the original cartoon), and “Love, Actually.”
About “Love, Actually,” Archis said, “I know it’s not technically a Christmas movie, but it takes place around Christmas, and it has a lot of those really cheesy Holiday tropes in it.”
Duffy, on the other hand, opted for more adventurous fare, citing “A Christmas Story,” “Gremlins,” and “Die Hard” as his favorite.
According to Duffy, “Die Hard” is “a classic action-adventure movie with a feel-good ending,” adding, “I love that.”
Outlaw liked both “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2,” and also has a soft spot in her heart for “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
“I love claymation movies. They’re my absolute favorites,” Outlaw said.
Junior dance Kaleigh Mueller also liked “Home Alone,” and added “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas,” explaining that “White Christmas,” which came out in 1954, was her grandfather’s favorite.
Other favorites that came up from junior dance students included “Elf,” The Night Before Christmas,” “Coraline,” “The Santa Clause,” “Polar Express,” and “Book of Life.”