Home Alone: A Holiday Classic with an Important Message

Reading Time: 2 minutes
The popular holiday movie shares an often-forgotten lesson. (Image Credit: 20th Century Studios)

The holidays make up for what is easily the happiest time of year. As a kid, it always meant no school and hot chocolate while it snowed outside. But for me, what truly defined the holiday was the holiday traditions that always happened every year as a kid, which never got old no matter how old you got. With that said, every Christmas, my family always gathered together to watch a Christmas movie, and there was always one movie playing: Home Alone, which still to this day the perfect Christmas movie.

Home Alone tells the story of 8-year-old Kevin McAllister left home alone, trying to defend his house from a duo of burglars after he’s accidentally left behind on his family’s Christmas vacation. While there are many classic Christmas movies such as A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol, and more, what truly separates Home Alone from the rest of the pack is its ability to appeal to both children and adults: with both great comedy and sentimentality at the center. While children find entertainment in the slapstick comedy, adults instead focus on the emotional core of the story.

As a kid, the movie seemed all about how annoying and dull spending time with family was. It was easy to see yourself in Kevin’s shoes and ponder the thrill of having your house all to yourself, with your parents and family all gone, unable to bother you. What kid wouldn’t want to eat junk food while jumping up and down on their parent’s bed or sled down the stairs?

But now, as I rewatch the movie, it’s clear that the message of Home Alone is really quite the contrary. Once Kevin is finished fulfilling his self-indulgences, he is hit with the realization of how alone he feels and how much he wants his family back. Once Kevin’s mother realizes her mistake, she abandons the entire vacation plan, stopping at nothing to return to Kevin before Christmas morning. Finally, Old Man Marley, the intimidating neighbor next door, is soon revealed to be simply a kind elder who, like Kevin, wishes to be reunited with his family.

What’s truly fascinating about Home Alone is how it completely disregards elements similar to the Christmas mythos, such as the idea of Santa Claus, Rudolph, etc. Many may find this counterintuitive, with the holiday season being utterly incidental to the plot. The structure of a family leaving behind a child during vacation could have taken place over summer vacation, for example, or any other time of the year for that matter. The film correctly identifies that what makes Christmas unique isn’t the snow, the shiny red bulbs, or Santa Claus. By then stripping all that away, the film can focus on a simple story, with a simple message on the importance of kindness and family, which is, in actuality, what the meaning of Christmas is really about.

Written by Kevin Han

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