I’d never seen the movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ until last weekend. I know, shame on me.
But a beautiful old cinema in Palo Alto called the Stanford Theater shows vinatge movies year-round. In December it totally devotes its schedule to nostalgic Christmas films, so last Saturday Alex and I settled into cosy seats in its auditorium with a carton of popcorn to enjoy ‘Miracle’, made in 1947.
Now you may be better informed than me but just in case you aren’t, the movie tells the story of a kind old British gentleman called Kris Kringle who lands the job of ‘playing’ the part of Santa Claus in Macy’s flagship department store on 34th Street in New York city. I say ‘playing’ because the truth is, he very likely is the real Santa, which even ends up being proved in a court case.
The movie is a delight and certainly worth seeing, specially at this time of year. However, having the luxury of the time to sit and watch a movie might seem far-fetched as we approach Christmas: it’s hard to avoid the feeling that you’re supposed to be rushing around in a buying frenzy, preparing for the holidays.
In the movie, Mr. Kringle provided a perfect example of the madness of this, though. Although he had to explain that he wouldn’t be able to attend a party on Christmas Eve (he’d other important work to do, after all) he was entirely at liberty during the run-up to the big day to take on his temporary Christmas job at Macy’s, generally spreading good cheer and bonhomie.
It was a timely reminder of the huge sense in picking just one, or at the most two or three, important goals which hold meaning for you.
So what will matter most to you on Christmas Day? I suspect it might not be having too much food in your fridge, but is instead more likely to involve truly connecting with the people closest to you.
If things get tough this week, if you feel stressed, if you start to panic that you’re running out of time, please stop.
You’ve almost certainly got a shorter To-Do list than the movie’s Santa, but even he restricted himself to just one night’s work, and spent the remainder of his time doing what really matters: connecting with other people and making them happy.
Why not focus on that instead?
And if you do want to sit down with someone special this Christmas to watch a movie, there’s one I can thoroughly recommend. Although it probably shouldn’t really be there for copyright reasons, the whole thing is even on YouTube.