4 Things Hollywood Gets Wrong About the Holidays

I watch a lot of Christmas movies, and I've also had lots of Christmases. I've noticed some discrepancies.

To be clear, I'm not going to use this list as an opportunity to say things like "In Christmas movies, magic is real and, duh, no doy, in real life NO IT ISN'T." Because magic is real, it's everywhere and all around us and I feel bad for anyone who doesn't know how to look for it.

I'm talking about the other stuff.

#4. Family + Christmas + Meal = DISASTER!


As Seen In:

The Family Stone; Home for the Holidays; literally every sitcom where an extended family gets together for Christmas

Going strictly by what Hollywood tells me, I'd say that Christmas was the most dangerous time of the year with more domestic disturbances than any other day. You've seen it in movies and especially TV shows: a family gets together, (usually one with a lot of relatives that don't often see each other), and even though the sweet matriarch just wants "one Christmas dinner that doesn't turn into a huge fight," some kind of disaster will ensue. A horrible family secret will be dramatically revealed, someone's awkward new girlfriend will say something politically incorrect and wildly offensive, someone will crash a car through a dining room wall and the turkey that your mother worked all god damn day on will be ruined.

Or whatever hilarious misunderstanding is happening here, for example.

It's fine, because in the morning, everyone will have made up and learned lessons and grown and "Hey we're not so different you and I, Santa," but first, a flaming pot roast needs to be launched through a kitchen window, right in front of their shocked neighbors.

In Reality

I'm not trying to brag, but all of my Christmases have been, at best, pleasant and, at worst, slightly awkward, and that only happened when I saw family members that I knew very little about and with whom I had no common ground. And I'm not some fancy, super well-adjusted guy. I am, on my best day, a nervous pile of farts in a sweater, (I said it was my best day).

Oops, can't talk with presents. Right. Up. To your. Face. There we go.

I'm sure some people have very strained relationships with their families, and when those families get together at a big holiday, perhaps a fight breaks out, and for that I'm sorry. But the bottom line is that, for most people, a big, family dinner on Christmas is just a few, low-key hours with people you sort of know and sort of get along with who aren't necessarily your friends, and then there's pie.

#3. You'd Better Have Someone to Kiss at Midnight. You Don't? EVERYONE Does. What Are You, a Pussy? Some Kind of Pussy? Hey, Real Quick; What Sort of Pussy Are You?

As Seen In:

New Year's Eve; that one episode of How I Met Your Mother; that one episode of Friends

It's finally here! New Year's Eve! Time to get drunk, which you normally do at night, but this time there's counting! And when you're done counting, you get to make out with somebody. What's that? You don't have someone to kiss at midnight? You mean to tell me that you didn't bring someone along specifically to kiss when today turns into tomorrow? What were you thinking? How are you supposed to acknowledge the passage of time? What are you going to do when the rest of us-- literally, every single other person you know-- is kissing? Why did you even come to this party you stupid asshole?!

Gotta keep it together. Maybe let's crack open the champagne early.

In Reality

It's just a holiday, Freak Show. I don't know how many New Year's sitcom episodes I've seen where the entire plot revolved around one of the characters not having someone to kiss at midnight and feeling like shit about it. No one brings up the obvious burn, ("Look on the bright side: You also don't have someone to kiss at midnight tomorrow, or any other time of day."), they just agree that anyone who doesn't get that special midnight kiss will ring in the new year as a total failure.

I'm not against kissing. Why, I did it just the other day, and boy I'll tell you it was just grand. I just think Hollywood's decision to make the midnight kiss the most important New Year's tradition is kind of bizarre. I generally spend New Year's Eve with a large group of friends, and my concerns are less about what I'm going to do for the one minute where the clock strikes midnight and more about what I'm doing before and after that moment. Are all of my friends safe? How can I maximize the amount of fun we're all having? Will there be enough food? Which one of the guys at this party looks like he knows where the weed's at?

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Daniel O'Brien

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