Lights, Camera…Christmas: A Cultural History of Holiday Films

LIM College

Amanda Hallay is a professor of fashion and cultural history at LIM College, a consultant for the Museo de la Moda in Santiago, Chile, and a consultant for the movie, TV, and gaming industries. She was formerly the European Trend Analyst for The Doneger Group, the International Fashion Editor for Couture and Men Mode magazines, and the Paris correspondent for International Textiles.



December 21, 2022, 4:00 pm

Add to Calendar

With the birth of the moving picture, so came our desire to use this new form of entertainment as a vehicle to mark the holidays. From 1898’s Santa Claus to the festive, formulaic, yet fondly embraced Hallmark Channel holiday movies, Christmas films have continuously been the mirror in which we view ourselves and the world around us – either how it really is, how we want it to be, or (more often than not) a mixture of both. Is 1954’s White Christmas an all-singing, all-dancing Technicolor confection of Yuletide cheer, or a somber observation of Postwar disenfranchisement? 2003’s Elf can be viewed as a good-natured, slapstick farce, but if you dive a little deeper, the movie is arguably an examination of new millennium melancholy. And while Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) is little more than a campy, sci-fi caper, the very fact that it was made speaks to Atomic Age angst and the threat of the Cold War.

In this lecture, cultural and costume historian Amanda Hallay will unwrap a sack full of holiday movies, examining each in its broader socio-economic, cultural, and emotional landscape.

Scroll to Top