I watched Elf this year pretty much the second it became socially acceptable, so it should come as no surprise that I love holiday movies and the well-meaning but ultimately misguided expectations they forced me to internalize growing up.
In fact, it wasn’t until I got older that I realized almost everything they taught me was a lie, including but not limited to these lessons:
1. That a young child or wayward ghost would teach me the true meaning of Christmas.
2. That candy canes are a good holiday treat rather than a shiv just waiting to happen.
3. That I would find myself snowed in on Christmas Eve, and become a better person for it.
4. That the jingle of bells would signal Santa’s arrival and not the fact that the cat jumped on the tree and got stuck again.
5. That I would put on a Christmas pageant against insurmountable odds.
6. That I would be the one to save Christmas.
7. That, indeed, Christmas would require saving.
8. That I would reunite with a long-lost relative, despite the fact that I didn’t actually have any long-lost relatives. (It’s a Christmas miracle!)
9. That the stranger with whom I experienced a meet-cute at the paper shop earlier would reveal himself to be a prince in disguise, and madly in love with me.
10. That I would skate on a frozen pond with the other be-mittened neighborhood youths.
11. That I, a holiday-hating miser, would see the error of my ways and finally learn what Christmas is all about.
12. That it would begin snowing at a climactic juncture.
13. That a conventionally attractive person would confess their undying love to me at the holiday party.
14. That snow is pretty and not something I have to shovel for two hours while the neighbors, with their walk-behind snow blowers, look on unsympathetically.
15. That my dad and the dad across the street would get into an all-out Christmas lights WAR, culminating in one or both of them falling off the roof.
16. That my flight would be cancelled due to inclement weather, and I would be forced to hitch a ride home with a stranger (and learn a few life lessons in the process!).
17. That taking a sleigh ride through the park is enjoyable and romantic when in reality it is simply uncomfortable and cold.
18. That I would put off Christmas shopping until 7:30 PM on Christmas Eve, yet still somehow find the perfect present for that special someone.
19. That I would eventually murder Santa and take his place, owing to the unyielding laws of Santa succession.
20. That Santa exists and nobody believes in him, despite verifiable proof including the fact that he’s standing right there and giving everybody the thing they asked for when they were a child but never received.