30 Feminist Christmas Movies, Ranked

18 of 31

Miracle on 34th Street, Screencap via 20th Century Fox

Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street (the 1994 version) follows Dorey Walker, an events coordinator for Cole’s Department Store. When their Santa gets drunk before the Thanksgiving Day parade, Dorey, scrambling to find a replacement, hires a man she saw on the street, who identifies himself as Kris Kringle. Dorey finds it strange, but he ends up doing so well during the parade that they keep him on for the season. When Kris starts to make magical things happen, the people of New York begin to believe him to be the real Santa Claus. But when Kris is put on trial and his lawyer must prove his existence as Santa, it takes Dorey’s daughter Susan, a Santa skeptic, to save him.

The Good

  • The movie features two very independent, headstrong women. Dorey is a working single mom who raises her daughter and succeeds at her job all by herself. And her daughter, Susan, while very young, is a critical thinker who doesn’t go along with what anyone else says. Score one for characterization of women here!

The Bad

  • Though both the main women in the story are great characters, most of their interactions with each other are about Santa Claus, who is always presented as male.
  • All the lawyers, judges, and otherwise high-powered people involved in Kris Kringle’s case are male, which perpetuates the idea that women can’t have certain careers.

The Ugly

  • This is kind of complex, but stay with me here. Susan tells Kris that her three greatest wishes are to have a dad, a specific house, and a baby brother. He asks if she got all those things for Christmas, she would believe in Santa Claus. She says yes. Basically, the movie implies that Dory and Bryan are manipulated into having feelings for and marrying each other, and then buying a house and having a baby, simply because Santa wants Susan to believe in him. Santa used his magic to force two people to live together just so his ego could be stroked by another kid believing in him? That’s unsettling.