It has been the same thing every Christmas for most of my life. Throughout the holiday season I will talk with various people about our favorite Christmas movies. Inevitably, someone will mention Die Hard. It should not bother me as much as it does – I am one of those that will sit through the A Christmas Story marathon – but over the years, it has become increasingly annoying. This is mainly because it seems like every year multiple people bring it up like it is a new thing. I even saw a host of a popular morning show react with absolute shock when their co-host named Die Hard their favorite Christmas movie.
It is time to put the argument to rest. (We actually reached that point at least a decade ago.) Die Hard never was and never will be a Christmas movie. But it makes sense why some people may think it is. Nostalgia is a powerful thing and people have confused their Christmas memories as Christmas movies. I get that the movie is set during Christmas and there is a tree and some lights, but it lacks the holiday feeling. It is a great straightforward action movie, but it does not bring candy canes and presents to mind. It sure did not make anyone at 20th Century Fox think of Christmas – they released it in July.
The thing is, a lot of people grew up watching Die Hard as part of their holiday viewing. For some, the first time they watched the Bruce Willis movie was during a Christmas movie marathon. A lot of people associate Die Hard with Christmas since all of their memories of the movie are tied around seeing it sandwiched between Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.
An argument can be made that this makes it a Christmas movie to those people. After all, when they think back on Die Hard their memories will be filled with Yuletide joy. But if that is strong enough to make it a Christmas movie, then every film is fair game to be labeled as a holiday movie. And there is certainly nothing wrong with making any film a part of your holidays. But that does not mean everyone else has to agree.
Case in point: I saw Spider-Man: No Way Home literally the day before I left town to see my family for Christmas vacation. Because of that, I will always associate it with the holidays. And I am not the only one. No Way Home is the biggest movie of 2021, so there will be many who tie it into Christmas. Not too many people will argue it is a holiday movie, however.
“But, Die Hard has a Christmas tree and presents.” So does Dario Argento’s Deep Red. “There is snow and pretty lights.” Check out The Wolf of Snow Hollow. “There are Christmas carols.” Watch the always funny Mean Girls. The point is, a person can call any film a Christmas movie. But a real Christmas flick has a special charm that is unique to this time of year. It may be your tradition and it may bring back Christmas memories for you, but Die Hard is not a Christmas movie.
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