Since 1990, Home Alone has been etched into my brain. I remember watching it in my childhood family room when I was seven. As Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin) outsmarted Harry and Marv, I felt powerful, as if I could do the same despite my age and size. Two years later, I sat in the movie theater as Kevin used his father’s credit card to pay his way through a luxurious time in Home Alone 2. Once again, I felt as if the world were mine to explore. They became my holiday movie staples, and now I watch them with my children.
There’s something magical about watching a movie I love with my children. Seeing them laugh at the same priceless scenes and respond to characters in ways I once did feels full circle. My kids have been watching Home Alone since they were three and six years old. What once was my childhood holiday tradition has become ours. Every year as the air becomes crisp and the first frost blankets the grass in white, we gather in our family room to watch the McCallister’s celebrate Christmas. No matter how many times we’ve seen Harry’s head ignited by a blowtorch or Marv tumble down the icy stairs, it’s never enough.
As a child, I saw myself in Kevin. Endlessly chasing a good time, he turned sticky situations into every kid’s dream. Years later, Culkin's character has had the same impact on my sons.
Kevin taught my children the importance of planning. My little ones have used Kevin’s Battle Plan as a guide to map out their own proposals for defeating Harry and Marv. From toy cars on the floor to nails protruding from the stairs, the drawing renditions of their battle plan are nothing short of genius. In a Three Stooges kind of humor, watching the bad guys fall victim to Kevin’s booby traps is not only entertaining but downright hysterical. While my sons don't have bad guys to take down, they keep the spirit alive: “This is my house—I have to defend it,” they announce.iStock
Kevin promotes creativity. In 1992, the Talkboy handheld voice recorder was on every kiddo’s holiday wish list. We all wanted to order takeout, book a room at the Trump Plaza and embark on a vacation without parents à la Kevin. In his uncle’s New York City home currently under renovation, he turns everyday construction materials into useful props of protection. A tool chest and bricks become slingshots and paint cans, once again, become a deterrent. Around every corner, Kevin’s innovation saves the day.
As if Home Alone didn't make enough of an impact on our youth, it also teaches them the power of their words. “I wish they would all just disappear,” Kevin declares in a moment of frustration. The next morning, he discovers his words have come true. As he processes his family’s disappearance—from initially appreciating his independence to then discovering—he genuinely misses them. It's important for children to appreciate their loved ones!
In Home Alone 2, Kevin sets a great example of why we shouldn’t judge someone based on their appearance—a vital lesson for everyone. While the pigeon lady initially frightens him, he quickly realizes that appearances can be deceiving. If all these pigeons like her, she must not be so scary, he concludes. It's the perfect example of acceptance and how two people can be the positivity they need at the moment.
As a mother, watching Home Alone is a whole new experience. No one leaves a child behind, I thought as a kid. But as a mother of two, I feel the pressure on Kate McCallister’s shoulders. A mother’s job is all-encompassing and when the family is headed on holiday, responsibilities multiply.
Watching Home Alone with my children takes me on the ultimate nostalgia trip while delivering the best of '90s movies to them. It’s the perfect way to spend a winter afternoon during the holiday season.
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