Let's face it: the Holidays can be depressing. Don't believe all the hype about families and friends, joining together to show love and appreciate each other, the Holiday season is not impervious to sadness. And, contrary to popular belief, Christmas movies don't always help lift those Holiday spirits. Christmas movies, while mostly full of childhood fantasy and family love, have a tendency to be thoroughly depressing. A lot of Christmas movies deal with themes of loneliness, unrequited love, or death. Not exactly what you associate with Christmas lights and hot cocoa. There are many different kinds of sad Christmas movies, but by far the worst are the ones that sneak up on you. Just in case you want to be prepared this Holiday season, here's a list of seven surprisingly depressing Christmas movies you might want to steer clear from.
Surprisingly depressing Christmas movies are tricky to define, mostly because what makes a Christmas movie can be tough to pin down. Is a movie a Christmas movie just because it has a Christmas scene in it? Or if it was released on Christmas? These films each feature at least one pivotal scene that takes place during Christmas. So, grab those tissues, and get ready to experience the most deceptively depressing Christmas movies.
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
It's A Wonderful Life is often considered an uplifting Christmas movie classic, but let's be real here. The movie's protagonist is a businessman who wants to kill himself on Christmas Eve. It's A Wonderful Life is about a man re-discovering his faith in his own existence, but it's really not a happy movie.
Annie has got to be one of the most terrifying and depressing movies I have ever seen. Not only is the story of little orphan Annie depressing, it is also completely insane. New Christmas movie rule: if at any point there is a little girl dangling off a bridge, then that movie officially out of the Christmas movie club.
Home Alone (1990)
OK, I'll admit, Home Alone isn't exactly depressing, but it does send shivers down my spine. Who exactly thought the story of an 8-year-old being forgotten by his parents and preyed upon by two murderous burglars was a good idea for a Christmas movie? Well, it turns out it was written by John Hughes — you know, the guy who wrote a different movie about a girl whose parents forget her sixteenth birthday, Sixteen Candles. Huh, I guess that makes sense.
Meet Me In St Louis (1944)
Meet Me In St Louis gave us one of the great Christmas classics, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." The song, while beautiful, also comes at a very sad part in the film, when Tootie realizes she's going to have to leave her life in St Louis behind if her family moves away. Meet Me In St Louis isn't a sad movie, but that one bittersweet moment is hard to shake.
I think this GIF of Susan Sarandon crying speaks for itself. If this movie doesn't dissolve you into a puddle of your own tears, then, congratulations, you are immune to human sadness.
The Family Stone (2005)
The Family Stone is the perfect Christmas movie for those of you who want to trade in your dysfunctional family for a fictional one. It seems unfair to call The Family Stone surprisingly depressing because it doesn't even try to hide the fact that it's a sad movie, but, it does rely on some traditional Holiday tropes, so it fits the bill.
Love Actually (2003)
Love Actually is the worst of the surprisingly depressing Christmas movie because it tricks you into forgetting all the depressing stuff with its sweet closing montage of people hugging at the airport! But, it also has a few heartbreaking story lines, like the one starring Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. How could you not give Emma Thompson the love and attention she deserves? Just thinking about it makes me sad.
Depressing Christmas movies aren't always a bad thing. Watching a sad Christmas movie reminds us that we should embrace the good with the bad, the family with the dysfunction, the gifts you want and the gifts you don't. What matters is that you find a Christmas movie that's right for you... and that with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it will soon be acceptable to watch as many Christmas movies as one could possibly desire!
Images: Universal Pictures; Giphy (7)