I'll make up the difference

I’ll make up the difference

When one sees two competing retail outlets come together in the spirit of Christmas and put the customer’s best interest ahead of their own, one wants to believe in some greater power at work. Perhaps one even wants to believe in Santa.

There are many iconic moments in THE MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET to choose from, but in my eyes, it’s hard to beat this moment when the head of Macy’s and the head of their rival store Gimbel’s pose for a photo with Santa for the press. These two bitter rivals who have spent years muttering each other’s names with contempt, stand together and share a laugh thanks to their mutual belief that this incarnation of Kris Kringle has something special about him. Their belief isn’t completely off-base, after all who else but Santa Claus could convince two such companies to point their customers elsewhere during the busiest shopping days of the year?

With every passing year, a moment like this gets harder and harder to believe. Consider how much earlier retailers want to start the season, how big a part of their business it has become, and how much of the holiday’s meaning has been stripped away. More and more, it feels like companies want to fuel our consumer instincts and tap into that for as much as they can get. What might it take for stores to look out for their customers? For them to “put the client ahead of the commercial”?

Santa Claus, perhaps?

In this moment, these two men are still competing of course – they are trying to both seem like “the good child” in the eyes of the de facto parent, the customer. However, in this moment, for just one second, both Macy’s and Gimbel’s are going further than trying to sell their brand. In this moment, they are sharing a laugh and recognizing each other as the person they are. It’s like seeing two prizefighters hug at the end of a bout…or the stories of WWI soldiers from each side of the fight ceasing fire and shaking hands on Christmas Eve.

Such camaraderie between rivals is enough to make you believe.

Whether it’s enough to make one believe in Santa, or simply to believe in humanity, the point is that a moment of coming together makes us understand how we should be living our lives in the first place. It’s a reminder of what this season of togetherness – no matter which holiday one celebrates – is supposed to be all about. It’s about coming together during the coldest, harshest months, and gathering together to share warmth and light.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET has a story that hinges on whether or not Santa Claus is real, and whether or not the man we see is the genuine article. Really though, it’s about more than that – it’s about getting people to believe in something greater than themselves during these cynical times. If any one man can get two rivals to make peace during their most fiercely competitive time of year, maybe he’s a man worth believing in…maybe there’s hope after all.

 

Here’s three more from MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET for the road…

 

Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street

This series of posts is inspired by the “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” series at The Film Experience. Do check out all of the awesome entires in their series so far