There's one movie in our household stack of holiday DVDs that has caused years of Christmas strife: Bridget Jones' Diary.
I love to watch Bridget Jones every December and as such, include it in the lineup. My husband steadfastly maintains that it is not a Christmas movie and as such, refuses to partake in the annual viewing.
After years of squabbling, we've reached something of an armistice. He's finally made peace with the fact that I'm going to watch Bridget Jones as part of my holiday binge, and I've finally, begrudgingly agreed that it's not a true Christmas movie. Unlike Die Hard. Which really is a true Christmas movie.
But it does put me in the holiday spirit, and here's my defense for making Bridget Jones' Diary a holiday tradition.
First, any discussions over the festivity of this movie need to begin with Mark Darcy's reindeer jumper. Ugly Christmas sweaters have had something of a renaissance over the past few years, but Mark's is the ur-jumper.
He's not trying to be normcore or wear the sweater with a hint of irony. (I'm not sure Mark could ever pull off ironic fashion, though he's great at dry wit.) He's just a man, in a reindeer jumper, trying to weather the indignities of family during the holiday season. A visual metaphor for so many of us.
And yes, the movie's timeframe stretches out over the course of a full year instead of squeezing specifically into the weeks surrounding Christmas, like Love Actually does. But it begins and ends during the holidays, which puts it squarely into my mental/emotional holiday reference file.
(This is also why I can't consider When Harry Met Sally a holiday movie, even though it ends at a New Year's Eve party. It doesn't begin there, so there's no bookend, and it covers way too much time in between.)
Finally, despite the movie running the course of a whole year, there are a number of small scenes—Bridget and her dad moping through the holidays together in their paper crowns—and flashbacks to other holiday moments—Bridget doing karaoke at the holiday office party—that reinforce the theme.
And there's Bridget's adorable penguin pajamas. We mustn't forget those!
All the signs are there, you just have to be in the right frame of mind to embrace them. Let Bridget Jones' Diary into your heart this Christmas, dammit!