As I look back through the years, I think about the various gifts I have received at Christmas and how, so very quickly, they lose their identities as Christmas gifts and become just a normal part of my every day life. I suppose this is true of most of us, but if gifts could feel I wonder how they would react to this 'demotion". I mean really, being a Christmas gift must be a great honor among gifts because it is 'the' biggest holiday of the year for a large percent of the population. To hold that loved and cherished status in our hearts, however briefly, must be lovely. It must really be tough on the gifts that actually CAN feel themselves being replaced or shuffled aside like pets. Pets are the most understanding and forgiving companions that we have, and I think it is often a devotion that is taken for granted. Today's film, for example, deals with the gift of a pet and how that pet manages to change her family's life while also having hers changed in return. It is a sweet film, bookended by Christmas scenes, and which shows just what can happen from the end of one year to the end of another. For all you dog lovers out there, I present Lady and the Tramp.
On a snowy Christmas Eve in 1909, Jim Dear gives his wife Darling the gift of an adorable cocker spaniel puppy named Lady. Lady, Jim Dear, and Darling all spend several more months learning how to live with each other. Sometimes Jim Dear and Darling get what they want, and sometimes Lady gets what she wants. It is a beautiful co-existence until Lady begins to notice Jim Dear and Darling acting peculiar. When she explains their change in behavior to her neighbors, Jock (a Scottish Terrier) and Trusty (a Bloodhound), they explain that Jim Dear and Darling are expecting a baby. Around the same time, Lady meets Tramp...a stray who plays by his own rules. As the baby begins to change life as Lady understands it, Lady finds herself drawn to Tramp and his no-rules attitude. What then blossoms is an affection that has the potential to become something beautiful or something that destroys Lady's world.
I know, it seems as though I am cheating a lot this year by featuring films that don't take place largely at Christmas. But I thought that looking at how a gift goes from being a special Christmas gift to being an every day part of life would be an interesting perspecive to take. Frankly, few films examine this like Lady and the Tramp. It looks at how we take for granted many things in our life...not just pets, but how any of us (like our pets) can take for granted how wonderful and warm our families are and how safe they make us feel. Lady's journey comes down to realizing that, as long as Jim Dear and Darling are in her life, they will always love her....even if it isn't always shown. It's rather like the way we feel around our own families. I hope all our past gifts can understand this as they are added to the shelf with all the others, and I hope they won't be jealous of the new ones when they are reserved a place this December 25th.