One movie stands out as the ideal example of a time loop film: the 1993 romantic comedy Groundhog Day (available in special edition on Amazon). But since its release, there have been numerous reiterations of Groundhog Day. So, is there a Christmas movie like Groundhog Day?
Several Christmas movies are like Groundhog Day. Some examples are Christmas Every Day, Christmas Do-Over, and 12 Dates of Christmas. Each film has character(s) who must relive Christmas until they make a big change in their lives, which is usually the key to escaping the time loop dilemma.
It may sound strange to have a Christmas movie with a ‘Groundhog Day’ plot. But stick around and learn more about the Christmas movies with the ‘Groundhog Day’ time loop plot, what makes them interesting, and what makes a Groundhog Day genre.
As a Christmas movie fan, it was a pleasure to research this for you!
Are there Christmas Movies with a Groundhog Day plot?
Groundhog Day plot has come to be known as a plot centered around a time loop. In other words, the main character can’t escape reliving the day over and over.
There are many Christmas movies with a Groundhog Day plot. From 12 Dates of Christmas to Pete’s Christmas, Christmas movies with a time loop ‘do-over’ plot are quite popular. One can surmise that it’s just a twist on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life themes.
In the original film, Groundhog Day from 1993, character Phil is a weatherman who must cover ‘Groundhog Day’ in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, Phil gets trapped in the same day, essentially Groundhog Day has become his nightmare! That is, until he figures out the key to getting to the day after Groundhog Day(I won’t spoil it here by giving away what happens, but please watch it! It’s a classic copied for a reason!).
There are different Christmas movies in which the characters have to relive the day repeatedly. I’ve found several here and listed them to provide you with some joyful options at Christmas time. Considering there are over 93 percent of Americans celebrating Christmas every year, I imagine this info will come in handy!
Click the links included where applicable if you’d like to rent or purchase to watch (or read in some cases).
Christmas Every day: The 1996’s ABC family film is based on an 1892 short story (Christmas Every day by William Dean Howell). Erik Von Detten stars as Billy, a teen who has a very Grinch-esque outlook about Christmas. To get his older brother into the holiday spirit, Billy’s younger sister Sarah wishes it would be Christmas every day. Billy has to learn the true meaning of Christmas to get out of the time loop.
Christmas Do-Over: It’s a redo of the Christmas Every Day movie/book, from an adult perspective this time. The 2006 film stars Daphne Zuniga (Jill) and Jay Mohr (Kelvin) as a divorced couple. Kelvin tries to be involved with his son and ex-wife’s family during Christmas.
During dinner, Kelvin thought this Christmas day could not get any worse, only for his son to wish it was Christmas every day. After this, it becomes a regular Groundhog Day for Kelvin. Kelvin learns to sing and new dance moves, as well as an appreciation for (spoiler not here!) which is key to resolving his time loop problem.
12 Dates of Christmas: The 2011 film entails a character named Kate, a young, ambitious woman persevering in maintaining healthy relationships in her life. She’s given numerous opportunities, but she ends up messing up existing and potential relationships. Even so, the film has enough to keep you hooked during the holidays. And since it stars too very likable actors in the main roles, it’s been a quite popular every year.
12 Dates of Christmas is so popular that it’s even spawned a series on HBO with several seasons, although I recommend sticking with the likable Amy Smart and
Mark-Paul Gosselaar version!
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas: The 1999 film features all the original Disney gang, Minnie Mouse, Mickey, Duck, Goofy, among others. The direct-to-video Disney film entails the anthology segment “Donald Duck Stuck on Christmas.” It combines the idea of a time loop with Christmas as it tells three different Christmas stories.
Minnie and Mickey do a cute take on Magi’s gift, while Goofy and his son Max deal with the question of Santa being real or not. Louie, Huey, and Dewey have to keep reliving Christmas (after they wish for it) until they learn its true meaning. Finally, the three ducklings escape the time loop by finding the Christmas card from their uncle Donald.
Pete’s Christmas: The film sneaks some cynicism into the warm festive story. A high school student named Pete has to relive Christmas day repeatedly. But, unfortunately, Pete is having a terrible day that isn’t ending.
Many people have easily recognized the similarities between this Christmas movie and Groundhog Day. This one of course has a different setting, being at Christmas, and the main character is younger than Bill Murray’s, as he’s a teenager.
However, viewers can quickly surmise what’s going on. That’s not to say the film isn’t enjoyable, as it is! At time of writing, it has a 4.6 out of 5 stars on IMDB. Of course, keep that 4.6 in perspective as a ‘Christmas film’ which are often cheesy and ill produced. It’s certainly not a masterpiece, but our family found it funny and engaging through the entire film time.
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What Kind of Movie Is Groundhog Day?
Groundhog Day often stands as a cult movie in the modern-day cinema world. That’s because it employs the time loop theory so effectively on-screen. It also stars charismatic Bill Murray, which doesn’t hurt! Murray plays ‘Phil, a curmudgeon of a guy, who’s sent to cover ‘Groundhog Day’ in Punxsutawney. Only he soon finds out he’s stuck in repeating the mundane holiday.
Since he resented being sent there to cover the annual celebration, his resentment grows as he wakes every morning to the same day.
Unfortunately, Phil uses the time loop to gain knowledge and deflect the townspeople who annoy him, berate his coworkers, and seduce Rita. It’s until he overcomes his narcissistic ways that he escapes the time loop.
– Is Groundhog Day A Christmas Movie?
Groundhog Day is not a Christmas movie. It is set on February 2nd, which is actually ‘Groundhog Day’ each year (when we traditionally look to see if the groundhog will ‘see his shadow’ and thus, predict whether or not winter is over and when spring will arrive).
However, viewers will be forgiven if they make the mistake of thinking it’s occurring during Christmas time! The film is shot showing snow-covered ground and the cozy surroundings of beautiful Punxsutawney seem to evoke the Christmas spirit!
Moreover, there are genuinely tender moments throughout the movie. And the plot of ‘doing over’ our mistakes goes well with other Christmas movie themes such as with Scrooge from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
The underlying message that a little kindness goes a long way towards feeling fulfilled can resonate with everyone, especially during the festive season.
What Makes Groundhog Day Interesting for Christmas Movies?
You may at first think it would feel weird to watch a Groundhog Day movie on Christmas. But actually combining a time loop plot with drama, romance, and festivity works well. Movies with the Groundhog Day format, timeline, and tone usually feel closer to the Christmas festivities’ agenda.
Amid the redo actions, the characters ask themselves if they can help themselves or those around them or even change the story of Christmas. Groundhog Days also show that each day is a gift, and it’s up to you whether you use it selfishly for personal gains or to help others.
Besides, much of Christmas is about tradition and repetition; we eat the same foods, sing the same songs, and even watch the same movies every year. Some might call that a ritual, while others call it boredom to be stuck in the same continuous loop every year or Groundhog “year.”
Hence, it makes sense for Christmas movies to have a Groundhog theme!
Can We Call ‘Groundhog Day’ A Genre of Its Own?
The time loop of ‘Groundhog Day’ features a main character who gets stuck randomly and coerced to relive the same day over again. Usually this character is flawed and has a lot to learn as far as his or her personality goes! The supporting cast is often unaware of the time repetition, and the contrast is emphasized heavily throughout the plot.
A Groundhog Day Genre could be a conflict and a solution genre in which the protagonist sees his or her situation as an opportunity for self-improvement through a time loop.
While Groundhog Day wasn’t the first of its kind, its success turned time loops into a fiction trope that several filmmakers and authors have revisited over the years. However, while time loops are a subgroup of the time-travel genre, their significance has grown significantly. Therefore, Groundhog Day could as well become a genre of its own.
Wrapping Up Groundhog Day Christmas Movies
Wrapping it all up, yes, there are many ‘Groundhog Day’ Christmas movies you can watch and enjoy. The original film, Groundhog Day, with Bill Murray contained the time loop plot of its main character reliving a day over and over until he learned a lesson.
Christmas movies seem like a natural film to incorporate a time loop, with the main character learning a lesson about love and family. Some of these Groundhog Day Christmas movies have already become ‘classics’ for our family!
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