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    14 Holiday Movie Fan Theories That Will Positively Blow Your Darn Mind

    Also, yes, there is a Die Hard theory in here because, yes, Die Hard is a holiday movie.

    Happy holidays to one and all! In the spirit of the season of giving, we once again took to our absolute favorite subreddit, r/fantheories, to collect some of the wackiest, wildest, holly-jolliest holiday movie fan theories, guaranteed to blow! Your! Darn! Mind! And compiled them into this easy-to-enjoy list. Ready? Here we go:

    1. In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), Hermey is not an elf at all — he's Santa's rebellious son.

    NBC

    "If you look at Hermey, the 'elf' who wants to be a dentist...he really does not look like the other elves at all. No pointy ears, no big nose like the other male elves, etc. BUT, if you look at Santa, the ears and nose look exactly the same.

    My theory is that Hermey is actually Santa and Mrs. Claus' rebellious son.

    Santa's crabby attitude is unusual in this film. Why is Santa so unhappy? Is it because his son is not going along with the culture of the North Pole? Maybe he was training him to be a great toy maker, and that is why the leader elf is so hard on him — because he was specifically hired to train him to be the next Santa? Another, smaller thing is that Mrs. Claus always refers to Santa as 'Papa.' I don't think many married couples call themselves 'Mama' and 'Papa' unless they have children.

    We also see the theme of rebellious sons throughout, as we see Rudolph also having father issues and he regularly has his father telling him to 'be normal' and to conform to everyone else."

    u/PawnMicama

    2. In Jingle All the Way (1996), Myron doesn't exist at all and is a manifestation of Howard's stress while he experiences a full mental breakdown trying to find that damn doll.

    20thcentfox / ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

    "Watch the movie again, people! Myron (Sinbad) only shows up at the most stressful moments for Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger). That's a classic sign of psychosis!

    Myron also hardly interacts with the outside world. He's clearly a figment of Howard's increasingly disturbed imagination."

    u/GreenCountryTowne

    3. The elves in The Santa Clause (1994) didn't react to the death of the former Santa because they simply weren't allowed to by North Pole law.

    Buena Vista Pictures / ©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    "I always hear people asking why the elves didn't seem to care when the previous Santa died. Well, I think maybe it's because they didn't care...or, at least, not that much.

    There is a scene in The Santa Clause 2 where Santa ~jokingly~ tells Bernard that the most important thing is for him 'not to touch Santa.' Well, I think that there maybe was a rule or law at one time that specifically said the elves could NOT get emotionally attached to their boss.

    When you think about the framing of the films, being 'Santa Claus' is a business. It's not really a person, so much as a title and a role that gets passed on to the next person, and the next person, and so on. Christmas CAN'T be disturbed under any circumstances, so the elves need to move on and continue working with no time to grieve. Feelings would just get in the way of that. I also think maybe that's why Bernard was so sassy and frustrated when Scott first arrived and was asking all of those interpersonal questions. Bernard had gone through that procedure a hundred times in his eternal elf life, but Scott changed all of that.

    Scott actively began developing friendly relationships with each of the elves, caring about each of them, showing true appreciation for their hard work. He even included them in his private life, introducing them to his family and allowing Charlie to get close to them. So that's when Bernard warmed up to him and started seeing in him more than just a boss. Santa became his friend, and Bernard himself became a role model to Charlie, gifting him that special snow globe (which I also think was the first time such a thing had happened, as the Santas would typically leave their old lives behind and never look back).

    So, basically, I think when Scott became the Santa he changed everything."

    u/maybe_im_dark

    4. While Elf (2003) seems like an innocent Christmas film on its surface, it's actually a giant allegory for religion and loss of faith.

    New Line Cinema

    "Was anyone else creeped out at the appearance of the Four Horsemen at the end of this seemingly innocent movie, and the reference to the broken 'Seven Seals,' (seven levels) that Buddy goes through in the beginning of the movie?

    Buddy says, 'I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest, through the Sea of Swirly Twirly Gum Drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.'

    It's almost as if Buddy was a mortal who found his way into Heaven (The North Pole), but he wanted to go to where humanity was (New York City) to find himself, his purpose in life, and most important, his real father, leaving behind his adoptive father who raised him his whole life. In order to get to New York City, (a city of Sin) he had to go through seven trials just to reach where humanity lives.

    Toward the end of the movie, Buddy is close to losing his Christmas Spirit because his father shunned him away. After his father shunned him, we see Buddy (someone who always had the highest amount of Christmas Spirit) lose his faith in Christmas, and in this very moment, Santa's sleigh falls to the Earth.

    It was obvious that Buddy was the last strongest believer. I always thought that maybe this whole bit represented humanity's loss of faith in God, thus nearing the possibility of darkness to taking over. When you think about it further, after Santa's sleigh plummeted to the ground, The Four Central Park Rangers (The Four Horsemen) appear out of nowhere and chase Santa in a rage. It takes a while, but — with the help of Buddy's love — belief in Santa (the Spirit of Christmas) is restored once again, thus saving Christmas (and, quite possibly, saving Earth from the Apocalypse).

    Why, yes, I DO like to overthink things..."

    u/ScruffleMcDufflebag

    5. Mary's wish on the Granville house accidentally doomed George in It's A Wonderful Life (1946).

    RKO Radio Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

    "First, let's look at the wishing scene. Mary and George each break some glass in the old Granville house — George speaks his wish (to explore, to build, etc.) aloud, while Mary refuses to tell George her wish, but it is heavily implied it has to do with George.

    My theory is that the old Granville house is, in fact, a sort of The Monkey's Paw situation, and consists of ironic wish-granting.

    George's wish is disqualified because he speaks it aloud, which is a classic wish rule. Mary keeps hers a secret, but we as the viewer can certainly infer what she wishes from her actions and motivation in the rest of the film: She wishes to marry George and have him stay forever with her in Bedford Falls.

    While the wishing scene might just seem like an establishing character moment (Mary being faithful while George is frustrated), we see that many awful coincidences happen to poor George to keep him in town and align him with Mary. Right after the wishing scene, his father dies and he is forced to stay to take care of affairs, then he becomes entangled with job prospects and marriage, and finally, there's a stock market crash on George's wedding day.

    While all of these coincidences provide Mary with what she wants, the wishing house is playing the long con, as we can see George begin to mentally dissolve in which only true contrition and the grace of God can prevent. All this to ironically twist Mary's truest wish into a nightmare.

    TLDR: The Old House is a Monkey's Paw, Mary's wish was to keep George in Bedford Falls with her forever, and everything bad in the film comes out of that wish."

    u/truncatedChronologis

    6. Christmas Vacation (1989) has a much sadder backstory hidden within, as Cousin Eddie is actually a disenfranchised Vietnam War vet.

    Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    "Think about it: Eddie is the only one to stand and put his hand over his heart when the pledge is recited at the dinner table, but when the national anthem is sung, he salutes. This is the correct salute for active military personnel.

    It gets sadder when reflecting on his line explaining why he doesn’t want to sled with Clark and the kids, as there's 'nothing between the ground and my brains but a piece of government plastic.' Plastic provided by the VA after he had complications from the metal implant.

    So we can infer he was shot in the head during Vietnam, and miraculously survived. When you think about it this way, all anyone in the film really does is mock the disability he received while serving his country."

    u/JuvenalCole

    7. Most of the events of Home Alone (1990) didn't happen at all.

    20thcentfox / ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

    "We establish early on that Kevin has an overactive — sometimes straight-up hallucinatory — imagination. We have a few key shots, all from Kevin's point of view, that we know don't literally happen. Obviously, the basement furnace doesn't come to life and speak. More subtle, yet equally important, is the way Kevin recalls his family speaking to him during the 'I made my family disappear' scene. We saw (most of) these moments authentically, and, while Kevin recalls the wording, he adds a level of hostility to these exchanges beyond what he truly experienced. Even the early shots of Old Man Marley are exaggerated — notice how much his demeanor, and his hand wound, are softened when Kevin finally meets him in the church.

    With this in mind, why should we limit ourselves to assuming Kevin's detached-from-reality moments only affect these throwaway moments, and not the overall plot? On the contrary, I assert they ARE the plot and that most of the movie doesn't happen in reality. In the scenes where no adults are present, we are seeing Kevin's highly exaggerated, outright fabricated interpretation of more mundane events.

    Kevin doesn't really use superhuman timing with a VCR remote to trick a teenage pizza delivery driver. No, instead he's blasting disjointed audio and refusing to open the door. Having been well-tipped at the same residence the night before, the teenager rolls his eyes, cuts his losses, and leaves.

    He does shoplift the toothbrush, and the clerk and cop probably do call after him. But the resulting physics-bending chase on the ice? No...the cop isn't going to abandon a traffic stop to pursue an unaccompanied minor absconding with $3 worth of merchandise. Kevin hears the cop yell, barely looks back as he runs for a bit, gets lost in the crowd, and sulks home.

    And the death-defying (or inducing) Rube Goldberg house of booby traps? Nah. That doesn't happen...or, at least, most of it doesn't. What really happens? Same thing that happens when the (real) cop knocks on the door, and when Kevin encounters Marley performing his nightly neighborhood safety service. He's hiding under the bed.

    Final confirmation of the veracity of this interpretation are in the 'milk and cookies' scene that follows. There is no evidence of the Wet Bandits incursion. Their arrest couldn't take more than a few minutes, and there's nary a feather, a micro-machine, a shattered ornament, or dangling paint to be seen. The house is spotless. I firmly believe this is because nearly all of Act 3 doesn't happen."

    u/Torren7ial

    8. Santa Claus allowed the Grinch to "steal" Christmas in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) because he knew it was the only thing that would lead to the Grinch's redemption.

    Courtesy Everett Collection

    "Santa Claus knows when everyone has been bad or good, so you can be sure he'd be very aware of the Grinch's naughtiness in intending to rob a whole town of their presents.

    Now, depending on your interpretation of St. Nick's omniscience, you could say that he wouldn't have seen the caper because The Grinch pulled it off on Christmas Eve, but — as the Grinch had been planning his yuletide heist for some time (making the suit, the sled, etc.) — the Jolly Old Elf would have had him pegged. So why not intervene?

    Well, what if Santa's ability to see all niceness and naughtiness actually contains an element of prescience? If he can see everything going on all over the world...is his ability to glimpse into the future such a stretch?

    Santa Claus could have easily defeated the Grinch, but he did not intervene. Why? It could be that Santa Claus was aware of all the different paths the Grinch could have gone down. Maybe if he had stopped him, the Grinch would become angry in defeat, return to his bitterness, and keep hating the Whos. As it played out, the Grinch stole the presents, but discovered the Whos still celebrated without them. Thus, he learned the true meaning of Christmas, and his heart grew three sizes.

    It's a roundabout unusual path to redemption, but I think Santa allowed Christmas in Whoville to be threatened because there was no other way to save the Grinch."

    u/lawangel

    9. Burgermeister Meisterburger from Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970) and the Heat Miser from The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) are the same person.

    Rankin/Bass Productions

    "The Rankin/Bass stop-motion Christmas specials were interesting in that they had some subtle connectivity between them, establishing most or all of them in the same universe (if you want to learn more about this Quinton Reviews has a great YouTube video on it).

    So recently, I was thinking about this universe, and came up with an interesting theory: I think the Burgermeister Meisterburger later became the Heat Miser.

    If you look at their designs, the two are very similar. They also have similar voices and personalities. We never see Burgermeister Meisterburger's death, we just know he eventually fell out of power and died like a normal man. BUT what if, at some point, Mother Nature resurrected his spirit to create Heat Miser? No real origin story for the Heat Miser (or his half-brother, the Snow Miser) is ever mentioned, so I could see this being part of the story!"

    u/coaldiamond1

    10. No one in Love Actually (2003) is actually as beautiful as they seem, as we are seeing each character through the eyes of someone who loves them.

    Universal / ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

    "The movie tells multiple stories of love between beautiful people, but I think, perhaps, that 'beauty' is more meaningful than we realize.

    There are clues that point to several characters being represented in the movie as looking different than they should. The main explanation for this could be that we see people in the way they are seen by the person whose story we’re currently following. Here are the examples:

    Daniel (Liam Neeson): This is the most obvious one. Daniel jokes about how much he is attracted to Claudia Schiffer, and how his wife instructed him to bring her to her funeral. At the end of the movie he bumps into Carol, played by Claudia Schiffer. She is not the REAL Claudia Schiffer, but looks identical to her. This represents the fact that Daniel is immediately attracted to her in a big way. While this may be obvious, it also supports the idea that other stories have something similar going on.

    The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant): The PM falls for Natalie after working closely with her. There are multiple times when others talk about Natalie in a way that suggests she is very overweight. While Natalie is not portrayed as extremely thin, it seems bizarre that she is considered big enough that her ex calls her fat, her coworkers say she has huge thighs, and her dad calls her 'Plumpy.' The PM is baffled by this because he can’t see it...and maybe we can’t either? Perhaps Natalie isn’t quite as conventionally attractive as we see her (through the PM’s perspective).

    Sarah (Laura Linney): Sarah is obsessed with her coworker, and is very awkward about it. However, we find out that he is also interested in her and is equally uncertain about how to pursue it. What seems unusual is that her love interest, Karl, is stunningly attractive. It seems unusual (admittedly not impossible) that someone that handsome would be so socially nervous and attracted to Sarah. Sarah is obsessed; it makes sense that she’d be seeing Karl as much more attractive than others find him.

    Colin (Kris Marshall): Colin goes to America and meets (initially) three extremely beautiful women who want to sleep with him. Even if you keep the ridiculous premise of the story, it’s possible that these women are just portrayed as so attractive because they want to sleep with Colin, making them beautiful in his eyes. What are women this beautiful doing hanging out in some dive bar in Wisconsin? And just picking up the first British guy who comes in?

    Love Actually is a movie about love, and we know that love can make people experience things very differently. The movie focuses on the different forms love can take, and we see it change and affect people in a variety of ways. I think this is just another subtle way that the movie draws you into the individual stories of the characters, and lets you see things through their eyes."

    u/captainmadrick

    11. Klaus (2019) is actually North from Rise of the Guardians (2012)'s origin story.

    Netflix, Paramount Pictures

    "In Rise of the Guardians, it's established that all of the seasonal spirits were real people before they were chosen. In Klaus we see the origin of the legend of Santa Claus as a real man and — even after he dies of old age — he still delivers presents at Christmas and visits Jesper.

    In Rise of the Guardians they refer to him as 'North'...but one of the kids calls him 'Santa Claus,' so that is how the people know him. Plus, the children of the world already believed in Santa before he died, so he would have no issues being seen like Jack did.

    They also have some visual similarities with the darker eyebrows and cylindrical hat instead of the classic Santa hat.

    As for the differences in accent, the seasonal spirits don't have any memory from before they were reborn, so he may have picked it up after he was chosen!"

    u/MicooDA

    12. Also, the entirety of The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) is actually just Santa recounting the nightmare he had.

    Rankin/Bass Productions

    "So during the final song of the special, there is one quick part where Santa looks at the audience and says, 'I dreamed unhappy things.' I found this line weird (but also a little funny because of the delivery of it). It made me wonder about what Santa could have dreamt of while he rested? Then I realized:

    The whole special could have been his dream.

    Hear me out: The beginning song explains how Santa felt unwell and went back to sleep. The ending song picks up with him getting out of bed after resting. My theory is he stayed in, but he had a horrible dream about what was going to happen now that he called off Christmas. He then dreamt that the children would be so sad, about how Jingle and Jangle would be attacked by the Misers, that Vixen would get sick, all because he wasn't feeling up to going. When he woke up and realized how much could go wrong if he didn't make the trip, he decided Christmas was back on.

    I know this doesn't make total sense, but I thought it was a fun idea to make sense of that one specific line."

    u/RoyalBlueWriter

    13. Hans Gruber never intended to leave with all of his men alive in Die Hard (1988).

    20th Century Fox

    "I was thinking about this article from Cracked. It mentions that Hans's plan never would have worked anyway, partly because their intended escape vehicle wasn't big enough to carry the entire crew.

    I think that was entirely the point.

    Hans never meant for his crew to survive the roof explosion. This is why he freaks out when John McClane comes across the detonators. It's not because they won't be able to murder the hostages and use all the chaos and death to cover their escape, but because the longer McClane has the detonators, the less likely it is that the roof will blow. If that didn't happen, Hans would be forced to explain to everyone why he didn't get a vehicle big enough for all of them.

    Retrieving the detonators is a pretty big plot point of the movie. It's interesting when you think about it, because this means that — while Hans's men were working to recover them — they were actually working toward their own deaths, they just didn't know it.

    The computer hacker, Theo, seems to be the only one meant to survive at the end, so he could drive the getaway vehicle. I think Hans meant to murder him, too, once they got clear of the cops. An entire dead team means that the FBI would think they all died in the explosion, and Hans would get all the money from the job with little to no consequences, since there was a pretty good chance no one would be looking for him if they thought he was dead.

    This is all never discussed in the movie, but I think it makes Hans an even more devious villain than what you might initially think."

    u/TeamStark31

    14. And finally — all of Tim Burton's original films are connected, culminating in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

    Walt Disney Pictures/Warner Bros.

    "I have come to a conclusion that Tim Burton's animated/stop-motion movies are actually all centered around the same character at different stages.

    In Frankenweenie, Victor (the main character) attempts to resurrect his dog Sparky.

    Then, in Corpse Bride, the main character is also named Victor. He encounters his skeletal dog named 'Scraps' in the afterlife. Now, while the dog may have changed names, it isn't completely unbelievable that he may have renamed it later on after its resurrection or given it a nickname.

    Finally, when we get to Jack Skellington, he bears a striking — if exaggerated — resemblance to Victor. Jack is also closely followed by his dog, now a ghost, as the majority of its body has decomposed.

    I think it could be that after Victor dies, he may have become more and more a part of the afterlife, until he finally becomes the Jack."

    u/Nilliak

    Which of these wild fan theories was your favorite? Do you have a theory of your own about a holiday classic? Share yours in the comments below! Oh, and of course, happy holidays!!!

    Some theories were edited for length and/or clarity. H/T Reddit.

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