"On Strike For Christmas" was released in 2010. The main stars are Daphne Zuniga, David Sutcliffe, and Julia Duffy.
This movie is about Joy. A mom who also owns and runs a yarn store. Inspired by the workers from a local grocery store, she decides to go on strike for Christmas because her husband, a professor, and sons, twins who are seniors in high school, are adding to what needs to be done and not helping her at all.
To read my review click here. I want to warn you this blog entry contains spoilers.
I love this movie. The characters are kind, funny, and well-rounded. They make you feel that you know them, that’s also thanks to wonderful acting, while you’re watching them get to know each other more each day.
The movie starts with them celebrating Erna’s birthday. This is Joy’s mother. They’re playing a video game where you play instruments and sing. While Joy, Erna, and the boys, Jeremy and Mark, play along, husband Stephen is sitting separately in the room doing work. This shows the complexity of the family. They want to be together, they love each other, but prioritizing and meeting school and work deadlines gets in the way. Just like we all experience all year long. Maintaining that balance is a big challenge for us all and watching them deal with it makes the movie and the characters relatable to us.
Part of the problem is also expectations. Because the boys will be leaving in the fall for college, Joy is putting pressure on herself for this to be the best Christmas ever. She keeps a calendar on the refrigerator and keeps asking for help and her three guys keep letting her down to do their own thing.
One morning, the boys hear this honking and the three of them go outside and see Joy holding a sign that she’s on strike. She tells them that her strike will continue until they appreciate all she does and help without her asking and nagging.
What happens? Her knitting group at her store join in. To make it even better, a member of the group is a writer for the newspaper and she does an article about it. Soon the women all over town are on strike.
Joy’s husband and sons are shocked at how they are portrayed in the article. The men around town let them know how unhappy they are that their behavior got Joy to start this movement.
Over time, the guys do what has to be done and have an article written from their point of view. Their version of what has to be done is very different from Joy’s so she stays on strike. Instead of sending Christmas cards, they send e-cards. They do minimal decorating. Instead of making the necessary cookies, they take the secret family recipe to a baker to make them. Instead of shopping they use a gift website that chooses and mails the gifts to you. They even order Christmas dinner online.
It all comes to a head on Christmas Eve. Joy knows that Stephen’s faculty party and the boys’ friend party are scheduled for their house on the same night but she doesn’t say anything as she’s on strike.
When she sees it negatively affecting Stephen, she jumps in. Then the TV news crew shows up to interview Joy. She explains her feelings and tells everyone to be with their families and just enjoy Christmas with them.
It ends with Joy realizing her expectations were a lot but she put them on her and it wasn’t from her family. She also realized that she was more worried about losing her boys and them not coming back for Christmas. Stephen and the boys realized how much Joy does, learned to appreciate her, and they solidified that they’d always be together as a family.
I really think the way the characters reflect issues we all have is part of why I love this movie so much. I also think the characters are played so beautifully, especially by Zuniga and Sutcliffe. They take what could be contentious and awkward situations and make them understandable. You still like all the characters. It’s done in a light and warm way. It’s one you just sit back and relax while watching.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the movie. Happy Viewing!