Our countdown to Christmas reaches another milestone with the passage of Mother’s Day. The celebration of Mother’s Day cannot bypass the great Moms of Christmas, can it?
They seem to be central to every story – whether in good or bad ways.
But who are the best?
After extensive review and exhaustive polling, here are the greatest Moms of Christmas movies:
Doris Walker in Miracle on 34th Street
She’s stylish, she’s modern, she’s hip, responsible and sensible. She is also a woman of the 1940s in what was surely a groundbreaking role for the time. Doris Walker, the pragmatic but stung-by-love Mom of Miracle on 34th Street, is played by Maureen O’Hara.
Doris lives in a NYC apartment with her little girl, Susan, and works by day as a manager for Macy’s, where the story of Miracle takes place. Spurned by Susan’s father – whose complete story we never learn – Doris has to balance her role as mother while tempering her bitterness over her situation. She is determined not to let her daughter grow up in a world of fantasy where women dream of becoming princesses and men are their knights in shiny armor.
Fortunately for us, we get to see all sides of Doris’ world especially when she falls in love again and comes to love a figure she cannot possibly believe is real: Santa Claus.
Mrs. Cratchit in A Muppet Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol is not filled with a lot of warm fuzzies from a motherly character. In fact, there are few precious moments where a mother role is even included in the story. The Muppets changed that in their unlikely version of the Dickens classic.
Miss Piggy plays Mrs. Bob Cratchit…and herself. She is at once the Victorian English mother and the take-no-prisoners Miss Piggy all at the same time.
While the Muppets do a great job managing the dark elements of A Christmas Carol the role of Miss Piggy isn’t one of them. Miss Piggy is as she always is – impulsive, reactive and, in a word, human.
I’ve often wondered what Charles Dickens would think of the Muppet’s version of A Christmas Carol. If he is anything like the rest of us, he would be charmed and entertained.
Mary Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life
Mary Bailey gets a long look from us as the story of It’s a Wonderful Life unfolds. She is seen as a little girl, as a teen, as a bride and ultimately as a wife and mother. She is the perfect match for George. She radiates hope while she cheerfully douses his wanderlust.
Mrs. George Bailey is no trophy wife though, and for the role of mother she seems ideally suited. We only see Mary in this role for bits and pieces towards the end of the film. But she’s the one who makes the miracle happen.
Mom in A Christmas Story
Melinda Dillon plays Ralphie’s mother in A Christmas Story and she may be the most relatable character in the entire film. Whose mother didn’t try the soap when none of her kids were looking?
From “You’ll shoot your eye out!” to “Oh, Ralphie” we’ve all heard those tones and remember those little nuances that make Mom memorable – and funny.
Of course, the lamp controversy is not without note. We all know she did it. Heck, if they were being realistic they would have shown her throwing it into the street. It would not have been out of character.
Marmee in Little Women
If ever there was a picture of perfection in motherhood it comes in the character of Marmee, the name the girls of Little Women call their mother, Mrs. March. She’s principled, disciplined, refined and nurturing.
Some are inclined to say this isn’t a Christmas movie and that’s a point well taken. But Christmas is a serious backdrop to this tale and Marmee is the heartbeat of Little Women. She would never fit in a Dickens tale, though the story is set nearly at the same time frame. Marmee is something of a maverick for a 19th century woman.
She doesn’t believe her daughters should marry for money, even though the family is poor. She believes the migrant family in need that she somehow finds time to tend to has as much to contribute to the world as anyone else. And she values education for her girls and demands they accept no excuses for their condition.
She is not only a mother of girls – she is a model for women in a timeless sense.