With Christmas on the horizon, we’re all working our way through our holiday to-do lists. Once the tree is up, the halls are decked, and the mood is set, it’s time for the best part of the holiday season: Christmas movies. There are the classics, of course – A Christmas Story, Elf, The Santa Clause, etc. – but there are also plenty of must-watch movies that may not be packaged as Christmas tales but exude the holiday spirit. And at the top of that list? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the ultimate almost Christmas movie.
The first in the iconic Harry Potter franchise, the bulk of the film takes place during a regular school year (September to June). But while Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone technically takes viewers through three of the four seasons at Hogwarts, there’s something undeniably Christmas about each and every scene – yes, even the Halloween feast.
First and foremost, the movie (along with the entire franchise) is brimming with magic. It is, after all, about a secret and elaborate wizarding world, hidden but existing alongside our boring “muggle” one. Nothing is quite as synonymous with “magic” as Christmas.
Then there’s the film’s director, Chris Columbus: a master of spinning Christmas warmth into film. There’s a reason that only the first and second Harry Potter films have an undeniable atmosphere of Christmas – the remaining six films were helmed by other directors. The celebrated director’s credits also include Jingle All the Way, Home Alone, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the latter two radiating that same intangible holiday enchantment (while being actual Christmas movies).
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone should be considered as a Christmas movie 🎄 pic.twitter.com/lZmhAceh3W— Harry Potter Stuff ⚯͛ (@TheHPfacts) December 4, 2021
‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ is Full of Christmas Imagery
Most Harry Potter films have at least a touch of Christmas imagery, but the first film is easily the most Christmassy of all. We can assume Harry’s very first Christmas with his parents was a wonderful one. As he wasn’t even 5 months old at the time, however, he certainly doesn’t remember it. The Christmases he does remember were all “celebrated” with his neglectful aunt and uncle. Because of this, the audience essentially experiences Harry’s first Christmas with him as he enjoys thoughtful gifts, dazzling decorations, and a hearty holiday feast.
The synopsis of every Harry Potter story is: Harry goes on a death-defying adventure to vanquish evil, usually at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The first film, though, doesn’t feel quite as high stakes as the others, somehow. While the titular character’s confrontation with Quirrell/Voldemort does hold some tension, the film is undeniably cozy. And even in its tensest scene, Harry is wearing a rather festive red sweater.
To add to the cozy vibes, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has a cheery, bright soundtrack (including a song literally titled “Christmas at Hogwarts”). The film ushers in its Christmas sequence with Hagrid pulling a giant evergreen tree into the castle through a snowy landscape, Professor Flitwick using magic to add golden ornaments to one of the great hall’s many Christmas trees, and students hurrying through flurries sporting cloaks and fluffy scarves.
Ultimately, though the first Harry Potter film features plenty of snowy scenes and Christmas motifs, the secret to the movie’s unmistakable holiday is more difficult to define. It comes down to the overall atmosphere of the movie, the desire to snuggle up next to a fire with a mug of steaming hot cocoa that it never fails to inspire. It’s family-friendly holiday warmth in a movie.
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