Director: Larry Peerce
Starring: Erik von Detten, Robert Hays, Yvonne Zima, Bess Armstrong, Robin Riker
Back in the 1990s, the up-and-coming family-oriented US television network The Family Channel (now ABC Family), would always run a programming block during the entire month of December called, “The 25 Days of Christmas”. Its purpose was to show all of the holiday-themed classics from the claymation Santa, Rudolph, and Jack Frost stories to the legendary ‘A Christmas Story’ and every conceivable Christmas movie in between. As a kid, considering most of these films were rated PG, I loved it! I mean, who wouldn’t? It was 24 hours a day for 25 days straight, and one of the highlights of the marathon for my brother and I was always the 1996 Family Channel original feature, ‘Christmas Every Day’. Now I know what you’re thinking…what the bloody hell is ‘Christmas Every Day’. Well, I’m here to tell you all about it. Although, you should know it was recently broadcast in the UK via True Entertainment on November 28th of this year, so shame on you for not knowing already!
The basic premise revolves around this edgy teen, Billy Jackson (Erik von Detten), who selfishly doesn’t understand the “true meaning of Christmas”. One night, by the powers of a midnight Christmas wish from his little sister, Billy is forced to relive the same Christmas, EVERY SINGLE DAY! Sorry for shouting, but it’s pretty much any young child’s dream and I get very excitable around this time of year. To Billy however, it’s a punishment; being burdened by the mundanity and predictability of it all. Billy has to have the same interactions with his lame relatives and go to the same boring Christmas Eve service at his local church every single day. What a bummer, right? In ‘Groundhog Day’ fashion, Billy begins to game the gambit, wooing the girl he’s crushing on into a fateful kiss, facing the school bully to beat him up, and further, playing a maniacal prank on the Christmas pageant. Oh Billy! What have you done? Nevertheless, in the end, Billy realises his nightmare is bred out of his own selfish ambition and vain conceit, until he finally (phew) learns that Christmas is all about family and doing the right thing.
Erik von Detten, who notably played Andy ‘Brink’ Brinker in the hit inline skating Disney Channel Original film ‘Brink’, stars as Billy here and gives the performance of a lifetime. I’m telling you people, it’s good. From there, literally no other actor went on to a career of any mention, which is sad but very telling. Nevertheless, the basic premise of the film did spawn numerous copycats, such as ‘Elmo Saves Christmas’, ‘Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas’ and even inspired an episode of ‘Fairly Odd Parents’.
Obviously the idea of a time-loop in a film was nothing new at the time; as I mentioned there are basic parallels between ‘Christmas Every Day’ and ‘Groundhog Day’. However, I must say that, in my humble opinion, ‘Christmas Every Day’ is arguably responsible for influencing every subsequent time-loop based picture, including but not limited to ‘Source Code’, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, and perhaps even ‘Looper’. It’s a thin connection, but it’s there nonetheless. Anyway, if you’re looking for a Christmas movie that you haven’t watched to death and want something original, that could even change your perception of what can be a stressful holiday season, ‘Christmas Every Day’ is the one for you. So, remember the reason for the season and try not to play any big pranks on the holiday pageant, or you’ll regret it! Learn from Billy’s experience. Merry Christmas!