In Their Own League Advent Calendar: 23. Miracle on 34th Street

By Joan Amenn

There is something about New York City at Christmas. Skating at Rockefeller Center under the huge Christmas tree, hot pretzels sold on the street corners to keep your hands warm and of course, the stores decorated for the holidays. Not too long ago there were a lot more department stores, each vying for the most exquisite window designs with the most complicated animatronic figures acting out scenes to delight children of all ages. Macy’s was and still is a big part of the Christmas season in New York, kicking it off with the Thanksgiving Day parade which is where “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) begins. Seems that a mysterious elderly gentleman has been making a big hit with the kiddies who sit on his lap at the department store. But who is he really? Little Susan Walker (Natalie Wood) is curious but not easily sold on the idea that Mr. Kringle could be the Big Guy in the Red Suit for real. After all, her mother (the radiant Maureen O’Hara) hires a new Santa for the Macy’s parade every year. “Miracle” is a must see for the holidays, even if you aren’t a cynical New Yorker who would “Bah, humbug” the idea of Santa being close by at your local mall. Edmund Gwenn deserved his Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor for literally twinkling onscreen. You’ll believe a reindeer can fly and that Santa can well, you know….so be good for goodness’ sake!

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