“Harry Potter” Christmases: Halfway out of the Dark – Part 1
Christmastime presents an escape from all the stress and worry of the year. It’s a time to be around family and friends, and this is no more apparent than throughout the Harry Potter series. Particularly as the series progresses into a steadily darker atmosphere, Christmas becomes an important time of levity and solidarity, embodying the old meaning behind the festival – celebrating being halfway out of the dark of winter. So without further ado, here are five Harry Potter Christmases that brought some much-needed light and warmth to our hearts.
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Harry spends his first Christmas at Hogwarts.
Christmas in Sorcerer’s Stone is a real landmark for Harry. He’s settled into Hogwarts, fought off a mountain troll with Hermione and Ron, and is busy solving the mystery of Nicolas Flamel. Yet Christmas is the moment when you see that Harry is really starting to consider Hogwarts as his home. Plus, as readers, if we had any reason to doubt it, we get to see how magical life at Hogwarts is…
The hall looked spectacular. Festoons of holly and mistletoe hung all around the walls, and no [fewer] than twelve towering Christmas trees stood around the room, some sparkling with tiny icicles, some glittering with hundreds of candles” (144).
Christmas morning is the best Harry’s ever had. Or at least the best he can remember; after all, we don’t know what Harry’s first Christmas with Lily and James was like. But receiving real, heartfelt presents, like his very own Weasley sweater and a handmade flute from Hagrid, must’ve made Harry feel valued for the first time.
Plus, he receives his father’s Invisibility Cloak, which apart from being one of the greatest Christmas presents ever, must have been a real moment for Harry since this is really the only heirloom that he ever receives from his family.
However, the really significant moment for Harry is when he sees his family in the Mirror of Erised. As an orphan growing up in a household like the Dursleys’, where asking questions was tantamount to swearing, you’ve got to imagine that Harry never knew much about his parents or extended family. So coming face-to-face with them – seeing his mother’s eyes and his father’s untidy hair that sticks up at the back just like his – would be like something out of a dream. And even though for Harry it is equal parts joyful and desperately tragic, it hits home at a core part of Christmas: reflecting on where you’ve come from and where you’re going and being grateful for the people you do have in your life.
Plus, Fred and George throw snowballs at the back of Quirrell’s turban (a.k.a. Voldemort’s face) – what more can you ask for?
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Friends stick together (even when everyone thinks you’re setting a monster on them).
Christmas in Chamber of Secrets doesn’t come at an easy point in Harry’s year. He’s doubting himself and his place in Gryffindor, and a lot of people distrust him, thinking he’s the Heir of Slytherin. Yet we also see the people close to Harry sticking by him. Both Ron and Hermione stick around for the Christmas holidays, continuing what becomes a bit of a tradition on their part – one that you know must’ve been for Harry’s benefit. Again, Harry receives numerous thoughtful presents (skipping over the Dursleys’ “gift” of a toothpick).
Down in the Great Hall, warm, dry snow falls from the ceiling, creating a truly magical atmosphere. And of course, later that evening, Harry, Ron, and Hermione complete their not-so-legal ongoing mission to get information out of Draco Malfoy about the Chamber of Secrets, even though not all goes to plan. But it does illustrate something important about the spirit of the season – people sticking together through the thick and the fur-covered thin.
Next up, we continue our list with three more important Christmases in the Harry Potter series and their messages of hope, sticking together, and finding joy in being around those you love.