How did Santa Claus come to be? Many films, stories, and songs have attempted to answer this eternal question. Historians say that Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop, who from a young age made a promise to devote his life to Christianity. He gave generously to the poor and specifically is honored for giving dowries to three young women so they would not have to become prostitutes. Nicholas’s remains are in Italy, but his spirit lives unto this day.
The Finnish movie Joulutarina (Christmas Story), takes on the classic tale of Saint Nick with historical accuracy. Set in Lapland, Finland, this touching and inspiring story showcases how a poor little boy goes on to change the world.
It starts off with Nikolas’s (Nicholas) family tragically dying. This puts the entire town in a major dilemma. No family can financially take him in, which leads the town to decide that each family will host Nicholas for one year. Despite this troubling situation, Nicholas perseveres and keeps himself busy by making toys for the families who have taken care of him. Shortly though, another problem arises. Every family has now done their part in taking care of Nicholas, but now no one can take him in for another year. The poor boy is forced to live with an outcast, crazy man, Lisakki (Isaac.) Nicholas becomes Isaac’s slave for a year. Despite Isaac's cold heart, he softens due to Nicholas’s loving actions. Major spoiler alert, with the help of Isaac and friends, Nicolas becomes the legendary Santa Claus.
This movie may not be a Hollywood film, but it is wonderfully produced in every aspect. The cast is talented and did an amazing job in portraying the atmosphere of that time. The only negative to this movie is that viewers watching the film in English may have to deal momentarily with sound that is off a bit from the lip movement.
The Christmas Story also comes with a special feature about how the movie was made. This goes into incredible detail and gives the audience a new feeling of respect for the film. Viewers will not believe the harsh climate that the movie was made in, which created many unbelievable challenges!
Amazon sells Christmas Story for $6.99, and other nearby select stores carry the movie as well.
One thing that sets apart this movie from other films is that it gives viewers an opportunity to believe in Santa Claus forever. It presents Claus as an eternal angel of Christmas. He does not spread commercialization, but he spreads the true meaning of Christmas. This is what makes the Christmas Story, in my opinion, the greatest holiday film of all time.
Photos from public domain