#5. The Spirit of Giving
Giving and charity are the central points of the holiday, and many Christmas movies reflect that: In A Christmas Story, all Ralphie wants is a Red Ryder BB Gun. He is consumed by this desire, despite the inherent dangers of the gift, because he is only thinking of himself. Eventually his wish is granted, but it quickly turns on him, thus illustrating that selfishness is not the true meaning of the holiday.
Behold, the rotten face of avarice!
Similarly, in Die Hard, all that our protagonist, John McClane, wants is a peaceful holiday with his estranged wife; he too is only thinking of himself. But, unlike the selfish Hans Gruber who only wants to take, McClane eventually learns that giving is its own reward... in that he bakes a lovely bullet casserole for every god damn foreigner he sees. He becomes so charitable that, by the end of the film, he even presumably gives it hard and fast to his ex-wife in the back of the limo, despite her most closely resembling an orangutan with a jerry curl.
Now, I'm not saying that if you toss it and leave it, I wouldn't pull up quick to retrieve it...
In It's a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart learns that, despite all of his economic woes, he is both loved and needed in his community. By the end of the film, Stewart finds that his life really does have meaning and importance by virtue of his worth to the community around him. Though he faces some personal trials, Stewart realizes that it's the intangible things - love, friendship, and faith - which are truly important.
Pictured: The heart-warming aftermath of attempted suicide
In Die Hard, John McClane faces his own trials by virtue of his fear of flying. A nearby passenger with a dim grasp on foot anatomy advises McClane to toss away his shoes in favor of 'making fists with his toes' as an antidote to the fear, and he reluctantly takes the man's advice. After callously abandoning all footwear, McClane suddenly learns that what he's taken for granted all his life is what he needs most...when he has to run barefoot across fucking glass!
Does your Christmas miracle leave a trail of footblood? No? Your miracle sounds gay...
Both It's A Wonderful Life and Die Hard espouse the same philosophy, that you shouldn't take things - yourself, your value to the community, shoes - for granted, it's just that Die Hard does it in a much more effective way: With extravagant torture! A Charlie Brown Christmas doesn't teach Charlie Brown the meaning of the holiday by putting lit cigarettes out on his face until he learns to appreciate warmth, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer doesn't that learn that everybody is special in their own right by being thrown into Auschwitz, and The Santa Clause doesn't teach Tim Allen that he should've loved his son more by skinning him alive and covering him in ants.
"Some people don't even have a warm home at night, Charlie Brown! I'LL CUT YOUR FUCKING FACE UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND!"Die Hard is simply willing to go much further - willing to violently ream its characters in every orifice of their soul, if necessary - just to impart the true meaning of Christmas.
#3. The Importance of Family
All notions of giving and receiving aside, many movies hold that the real purpose of Christmas is to emphasize togetherness and family. We are here to appreciate our loved ones and bask in the glory of community, they say, regardless of our material possessions. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas learns this lesson when, after stealing all the presents in Whoville, still finds the Whos singing - actually singing! - and just grateful to be together on this holy day. Through the adversity of others, the Grinch learns family is most important, and his heart grows three sizes that day... at which point he immediately drops dead from an over-enlarged heart.
I don't know why everybody gives him so much shit. His grouchiness was a medical condition!
In Die Hard, the giant blonde terrorist, Karl, learns that all the untraceable bearer bonds in the world are not nearly as important as his dear brother. Unfortunately, he learns this after John McClane casually murders his sibling in the face until dead. Karl is so overcome by vengeance and grief at this realization that he abandons all thoughts of self-preservation and dies futilely trying to kill Bruce Willis. He was so torn apart by the loss of his family that he wasn't thinking logically, and was killed much easier. So you see, John McClane also knows family is the most important thing; that's why he makes sure to take them out first.
Giant, Blonde, Dead Karl: A man that valued family above all else.
#2. All Glory Be To Christ
Christmas is, by and large, a celebration of the birth of Jesus. It is a day to give all acknowledgement and glory to the lord. Bruce Willis screams "Jesus fuckin' Christ!" like eighty times in Die Hard. That counts. Mark that shit.
#1. Faith And Miracles
Which brings us to the final theme of the holidays: Faith. Whether that faith is in Our Lord and Fuckin' Savior, Jesus F. Christ, the goodness of human nature, or even just the existence of Santa Claus - belief in a greater force is an integral part of the Christmas experience. For example, in Miracle on 34th Street, Susan Walker learns that Santa Claus is real, because her unwavering belief in him makes him so.
"Now I have a Machine Gun. Ho Ho Ho"Die Hard, likewise, is absolutely riddled with Christmas Miracles: Hans Gruber has absolute faith that the FBI will cut the electricity to Nakatomi Plazaandthey do it right on schedule, Argyle has faith that he'll be the first jive-talkin' black sidekick in cinematic history not to die a horrible, disposable death, and he is (controversially) still alive as the credits roll, while John McClane regularly demonstrates remarkable faith that the laws of physics will temporarily suspend themselves every time he calls somebody a motherfucker, and he pulls off so many reality-bending shenanigans I'm almost certain he was using hacks.
Unlike other, slightly less terrorist-based Christmas movies, however, in Die Hard having faith let's you bungee jump through explosions on a fire hose, hurl office chairs that detonate with the force of an atomic bomb, and hang Germans with lengths of industrial chain. Unless there's a deleted scene in Miracle where Susan Walker parachutes through an inferno on the American Flag, DieHard's faith makes all other faiths look like pussies.
Pictured: The most moving example of personal faith you will ever see.
So when it comes time to choose that Christmas classic for the family to gather 'round this year, take your lessons from John McClane and make it Die Hard. If you run into any resistance, simply strip down to a tank top, accuse everybody present of copulating with their mothers, and shoot somebody two dozen times in the groin. Bruce Willis has done it in literally every movie he's been in, and look at him! He grew up to be Bruce Willis!
You can pre-order Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead on Amazon, or find him on Twitter, Facebook and his own site, I Fight Robots, or you can come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs!