It's that time of year. Every time we turn on the TV, there is a Christmas movie playing. You put it on even though you've seen it countless times because it makes you smile. You know what would make you smile more, though? Seeing something in this film that you’ve never noticed before. When you've seen a movie as often as you've seen the Christmas classics, you would think you know everything there is to know about the film. But it doesn't always work out this way. Sometimes, we watch a movie so much that we actually stop paying attention to the details of the film. They become sort of background noise and we simply wait for the major beats. Well, we want to break that habit. We want to give your eyes something fresh to look at.
Most Christmas movies, as with most movies, have little details hidden in the background or masked in obscurity. These treats are meant for people like us, those who are watching the films over and over again, year over year, but they're still hard to pick up. We thought we would help you out. We've gone out and collected some of the best hidden details from some of the biggest Christmas films and are bringing them to your doorstep. Now, some of these Christmas movies might not be in your yearly repertoire yet, but they should be. Here are 15 Amazing Hidden Details to Look For in Christmas Movies This Year
15 The Santa Clause And Hidden Elves
When you watch a film as many times as we have all watched The Santa Clause, new details are very rare. But there's something in The Santa Clause that not many people catch. Throughout the film, there are several elves hidden among the regular people. The first of these is a little girl looking in a store window as Scott Calvin drives into town. She's the hardest to spot because her ears are covered by her hair, but you can see that she's got elf ears still. Next, when Charlie and Scott go to Denny's, there's a boy putting on his jacket behind them. He's alone. He's tough to see, but his ears are very large and pointy, and he stops and stares at Scott in the background. Note that this is before Scott becomes Santa, almost as if they knew it was going to happen. Later, when the kids all line up to sit on Scott's knee at the soccer game, one of the girls in the crowd is an elf. This girl (and some of the others) are visible in workshop scenes as well.
14 Background Noise In The Muppet Christmas Carol
Aside from just being an amazing movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol is also filled with little references in the background. The most interesting ones that we’ve seen come near the end of the film. We see a hotel named "Statler and Waldorf." These are obviously the two famous Muppet hecklers who play Marley and Marley in the film. They were named for famous hotels, so it's fitting that they became the name of one. Also, near the end of the film, we can see an antique store called "Micklewhite Antiques." This is a nod to Michael Caine's (Scrooge) real name, Maurice Micklewhite. Finally, in another background scene, you can spot a lobster in a basement window. This is a clever little reference to one of the Charles Dickens' strangest metaphors in "A Christmas Carol." In a passage describing Marley's ghostly face, he wrote that it "had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar."
13 Polar Express
It might have taken longer than it should have, but it seems that Polar Express has made it way into holiday tradition territory. In case you aren't aware yet, this gem oozes Christmas, and, for the purposes of this list, it oozes little awesome details as well. For starters, there are the Back to the Future references. These films share a director, Robert Zemeckis, so the links make sense. When Hero Boy goes through his Santa stuff at the beginning of the film, we see a story in a newspaper clipping about Santa at the local mall, the Lone Pine Mall. Later, we see the flux capacitor in the train and we hear the line "I always wanted to do that," something that Doc says in Back to the Future III. Other fantastic details come when the train reaches the North Pole. We can briefly see a statue of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer as it enters the village. Also, pay attention to the giant tree. It sits on the exact North pole because the compass points surrounding the tree all point south.
12 Speaking Dutch In Miracle On 34th Street
In one of the earlier scenes in Miracle on 34th Street, we see Santa speaking Dutch to a little newly-adopted orphan as little Susan watches on. It's one of the sweeter scenes in a very sweet movie. Well, the dialogue is left untranslated in the film, but we wanted you to know what was said. After greeting each other, Santa Claus asks the little girl what she wants for Christmas. Her answer is that she wants nothing since she already got a gift by being adopted by her new mother. This is why she looks over at her mother and smiles. It's pretty much implied in the film, but you never know.
11 Home Alone And The Statue Gag
Like many of these films, we've all watched Home Alone so many times that there couldn't possibly be anything new to learn, right? Maybe not. But we're certain many of you missed the fourth statue gag. That's right, there are four accidents involving the statue out front of the McCallisters' house. We know that you saw two. The pizza delivery guy hits the statue twice, once at the beginning and once when he delivers Kevin's cheese pizza. The third incident is missed by a few people. The airport van driver is seen putting it back into place when the McCallister's are rushing to get ready in the morning. The fourth, however, is rarely noticed. This one comes later when the police check on Kevin. When the officer is seen knocking on the door, look on the ground behind him. There's the statue knocked over again.
10 Home Alone 1 & 2 And Uncle Rob
While this is definitely no "hidden detail," it is one that is often overlooked, so we thought we should mention it. In Home Alone 2, as in the first film, we hear that name again, Rob. Rob is Kevin's uncle. He was the one that the family was staying with in Paris. Well, he's also the one who owns the apartment in New York that is being renovated, the apartment that Kevin stays in throughout Home Alone 2. Well, the point of this entry is to talk about who Rob is. We all know him, but most just never paid attention. He was in the first Home Alone. Rob, his wife, and their child were the ones decorating that disgustingly ugly tree in the background when uncle Frank brings out the shrimp to eat.
9 Christmas Vacation And The Loose Newel Post
Christmas Vacation has several little interesting things in it, but most are fairly obvious or left ambiguous. There is one important scene that many people overlook, and it allows us to talk about It's a Wonderful Life as well, the greatest Christmas movie of all time. We're talking about the newel post. Both films feature a loose newel post as a symbol for imperfect life. Now, when George encounters the loose newel post in It's a Wonderful Life, it frustrates him at first. He sees it as reminiscent of his failure to become something great. In the end, after he's accepted his life, the post comes off in his hand and he kisses it. In Christmas Vacation, the newel post drives Clark mad as well. However, when he "accepts" his life, he's become maniacal. He takes a chainsaw and cuts the post right off and exclaims, "I fixed the newel post."
8 Elf And A Famous Cameo
This one isn't very secret anymore, especially since Peter Billingsley has remade his name on the other side of the camera. Still, not everyone has heard of it or seen it, so we've included it. At the beginning of Elf, when Buddy's work is being audited, the elf who is doing the productivity checks, Ming Ming, is a famous somebody. The actor, Peter Billingsley, is best known for playing Ralphie on A Christmas Story. Now, Billingsley also happens to be very good friends with the director of Elf, Jon Favreau, but we like to think his inclusion has more to do with his place in the Christmas movie Hall of Fame.
7 The Family Stone And The Ring
As a standalone film, The Family Stone isn't all that great. But, as a Christmas movie, it's quite good. Yeah, it's probably got two characters too many and it can't quite accomplish all it wants to, but it's a pretty solid film, all things considered. Either way, the important detail here are the rings. The rings play important roles in the film because they represent the mother in various ways. The eldest son wants the wedding ring to give to his new woman, but the family is against it, if only because they feel that he's rushing matters. There's also the large Onyx ring the mother wears. This one sort of hovers over the family throughout the movie, sitting on the index finger of the family matriarch. In the end, however, it's sort of forgotten about. But, in the final scenes, we can see it on the finger of Rachel McAdams' character if you look close enough.
6 Gremlins Foreshadowing
Gremlins is filled with cameos and little homages. The set is the same as Back to the Future and there's plenty of cool trivia, but we've dealt with all that before. We want to highlight one very subtle but powerful detail from the opening scene of the film. As Randall Peltzer walks to the Grandfather's curiosity shop in Chinatown, we see that a car has crashed into a street sign. The car is smoking and there's havoc all around. Either we're racist and we think this is normal Chinatown behavior or we see this as symbolic of the shop being in a general shady place, but there's more to it than that. The car that's crashed? Why that's none other than an AMC Gremlin. This simply foreshadows the destruction that the gremlins will cause.
5 Peter And Steve In Arthur Christmas
In a few years, we're willing to bet that Arthur Christmas will be much more popular than it is today. Although it has great ratings, it's still somewhat under the radar as far as Christmas films go. Though this isn’t necessarily hidden, it is overlooked. We're talking about the relationship between Steve, Santa's eldest son, and Peter, the head elf. Peter has a very clear obsession with Steve, and when you watch the film with this in mind, it's painfully obvious. It's also awkward because Steve brushes him off at every turn. Aside from trying to hold hands with Steve on several occasions and looking at him longingly throughout the film, Peter also sends Steve some suggestive emails, such as "you looked great today" and "I'm still up, just so you know."
4 Swingers In How The Grinch Stole Christmas
You know the party in How the Grinch Stole Christmas? There is a commonly accepted PG reasoning for the bowl full of keys. People believe that this is a responsible way for the hosts to ensure their guests aren't drinking and driving. Later, when we see some oddly s*xual partying going on, we assume it's just because everyone is drunk. But, the real reasoning behind this bowl is that this is a swinger's party or a Key Party. All the men (or women) put their keys in a bowl and then the opposite s*x (or the same, if it's that kind of party) draws a key. Whoever's key you draw, you get paired up with.
3 A Christmas Story And The Bowling Alley
When Ralphie's father believes that his major award is an entire bowling alley in A Christmas Story, we all laughed, much like the mother did. But the dad wasn't too far off in the end. Sure, the major award was only a leg lamp, but he did get a bowling ball for Christmas. Even better, when the family goes out to have Christmas dinner at the restaurant, check out the sign. The Bo Ling Chop Suey Palace sign is actually an old Bowling Alley sign. The "W" is simply burnt out. Seems like old pops does have a touch of the sight after all.
2 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang And Perry's Survival
When Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon 2, the studios and producers made a big fuss about his dour ending. He was forced to change it up and make it more upbeat, essentially turning it into a "Hollywood ending." Well, when it came time to direct Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Black was ready to take a jab at Hollywood. When the character Perry (Val Kilmer) survives against ridiculous odds, Black is having a little fun with trope. The narrator/protagonist even points this out. But this was hinted at all along. Listen to Perry's cellphone ringer. It's Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive."
1 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
In 1964, when Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first aired on television, it was quite different than many of the versions we have today. In fact, there are so many versions out there, we don't even know what you have or haven't seen. In the original airing, for example, the Island of Misfit Toys was left unresolved. Santa never came back. After the show aired, the network got tons of mail asking what happened to the distraught toys, so the scene with Santa returning and throwing the toys out of his sleigh with umbrellas was added later on.
Speaking of that scene, did you ever notice the one Misfit Toy that was thrown out of the sleigh without an umbrella? It was the bird, so it seemed okay. But think back to the Island of Misfit Toys scene. That bird was the one who lamented the fact that it couldn’t fly. It jumped in a fishbowl and swam around. To make room for this additional scene, there was a crucial scene involving Cornelius Yukon cut. In the original airing (and DVD/Blu Ray versions), it was explained that Cornelius wasn't licking his pickaxe to taste for silver and gold. He was searching for a peppermint mine. He found it in the North pole too!
Sources: Wikipedia; Reddit; IMDB; Youtube