7 Reasons Mary From “It’s A Wonderful Life” Is A Worthy Heroine

I have told you that The Polar Express is my favorite Christmas movie. But now I am going to confess that it was difficult to write… because I love It’s A Wonderful Life so much. I wasn’t quite sure which I loved more.

Of course, Jimmy Stewart is the heart and soul of the movie. But this year, something else jumped out at me as I watched the film for the millionth time.


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Talk about an unsung hero.

There are funnier characters. There are prettier women. There are better actors, to be honest. But as a character, there is something appealing about Mary.

So I’ve identified a list of qualities in Mary that I admire.

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1. Knows what she wants

Right from the start, Mary is the one who knows what she wants. In contrast to Violet, who selfishly wants everything, Mary has set her sights on George Bailey.

That’s quite a bit of vision for a seven-year-old girl, isn’t it?

Not only that, but she holds onto this dream all the way into her teen years. And when she sees that old abandoned house, she knows that’s where she wants to live.

I admire Mary’s decision, determination, and goals. And that she lets herself dream.

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2. Doesn’t make herself ridiculous in pursuit of it

Again, there is such a contrast between Mary and Violet. Violet truly does make a fool out of herself in pursuit of George. And though he perhaps a bit distracted by Violet on occasion, I like to believe that he is never stupid enough to fall for her act.

Mary mentions at the dance that George “passes her in the street every day.” The implication is that he never noticed her. And that doesn’t exactly seem complimentary, does it? But if you think about it, it is. Tacitly, this implies that Mary was not like Violet – not trying to catch anyone’s eye, not trying so hard to impress that she looks silly in the process, not trying to flaunt herself.

Personally, I think that’s something to be proud of.

Something else that stands out is that Mary is dating Sam Wainwright when George and Mary get engaged. Now, we do get the impression that Mary’s mother is pushing for this, but you have to admire the fact that Mary isn’t “conveniently single” whenever George is around.

3. Has a sense of adventure

Living in a shabby house in your small, boring hometown doesn’t sound particularly exciting. At least, not to a person like me. Like George, I want to do things, go places. So I can’t say that I relate to Mary’s contentment.

But she does have a sense of adventure.

That house is seriously spooky. She has the spunk to be willing to fix it up and turn into a livable home. And she seems completely happy about touring Europe.

Maybe I can relate to this woman, after all.

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4. Is generous with her own money

When the bank crashes and the people are in a panic, it’s Mary who holds up her wad of cash – money that was to be spent on a luxurious honeymoon – and offers it to the scared citizens of Bedford Falls.

Every time I see this scene, I am struck by how sweet this gesture is. How many wives would be angry with their husband of only a few hours running off and leaving her on their way to their honeymoon? I’m gonna venture a guess that most of us in Mary’s shoes wouldn’t react the way she does.

5. Is not afraid of poverty

This might be the most obvious of Mary’s admirable traits.

Mary honestly believes that as long as she has George, she doesn’t need anything else. She’s happy to live in an old house someone else abandoned, in a sleepy little town she has lived in her whole life.

She doesn’t aspire to see the world, the way George does. She doesn’t dream of changing the world, the way George does. He is all she wants.

She’s not scared of a hard life. George cannot comprehend this.

6. Has a sense of humor

There’s this one scene where George comes home, feeling like a failure. Mary wakes up and George asks her point-blank, “Why did you Mary a guy like me?”

I adore her response. It makes me laugh.

She says, “To keep from being an old maid.”

She’s got spunk!

7. Protects her children

At the end of the movie, George is distraught and is taking out his frustration on his wife, his children, and his daughter’s teacher. And his daughter’s teacher’s husband.

I’m always impressed by how Mary is willing to absorb his anger toward her – but she refuses to let him scare her kids.

I can’t help but think, “Good for her.”

She understands that he is scared and frustrated, but she has to protect her children.

What say you? Who is your favorite character in It’s A Wonderful Life? Anybody for Mary? Anybody for Violet? Are there any other admirable traits I missed? What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Who Is The Hobo From “The Polar Express”?

The Polar Express is my favorite Christmas movie. So I hope you have seen it. The animation is slightly horrifying and the main character is never actually given a name, but there is one all-redeeming feature. The hobo.

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That’s right.

There’s a hobo in this movie. If you didn’t want to watch it before, you surely do now.

Now, if you have already watched The Polar Express, you have probably wondered who the heck the hobo actually is.

This post is dedicated to that question. We’ll take a vote at the end.

1. Santa

This has always been the thought lingering in the back of my mind when I am watching this movie.

I mean, he does a spot-on Santa-laugh impression. And whips a random Santa hat out of his coat. And wears bright red fingerless mittens. And calls himself “the King of the North Pole!”

All good reasons to believe that he is Santa, to my way of thinking.

2. The Boy’s Guardian Angel

You would have to admit that this dude is always conveniently present when the boy’s life is in danger. Not to mention that no one else ever seem to see him.

Definitely seems personal to that particular boy.

3. A Fallen Angel

On the other hand, he is awfully dirty. And generally fits the image I’ve always had of a fallen angel trying to redeem himself.

Kind of like Clarence?

4. The Voice Of Doubt

This hobo seems just a tad cynical? So perhaps he is supposed to represent the more practical, realistic side of the boy’s mind. The side that doesn’t want to believe in Santa, or the Polar Express, or magic.

But that would make him the bad guy in this story… And that just doesn’t seem right.

5. The Boy’s Subconscious

You ever notice how the hobo always seems to be saying the exact same thing that the boy has just said?

Almost like… the hobo is a visible representation of how our brains work?

In which case, I would like to see what my personal Hobo looks like.

6. The Ghost Of Someone Who Died On The Train Or Was Hit By The Train

This story needs a retelling, don’t you think?┬áSo much possibility!

I mean, I’m still confused why the story is about the boy when the hobo so clearly has more story potential?

Oh, well. Not everyone possesses my creative genius.

7. Homeless Guy

I know. How boring.

And how many homeless guys do you know who can also disintegrate into mist? That’s what I thought.

So can we just agree that this idea is preposterous? Good.

Who do you think the hobo is? What would your Hobo look like? And most importantly, how many homeless guys do you know?

Evangeline’s Holiday Tag

This actually wasn’t a tag. But when I read Evangeline’s post… I couldn’t resist. Not to mention that she has legitimately the most gorgeous header I have ever seen in my mortal life. So I rudely stole the questions she asked herself and am now asking them of myself. You’re welcome, world.

You are headed to a Christmas cookie party, but as a cookie. What are you?

I agree with Evangeline that the chances of being eaten are dangerously high here. Shouldn’t I try to make myself the most disgusting kind of cookie imaginable to turn potential devourers off?

And how should I know what kind of cookie I am most like? Google asks the most difficult questions…

I would be an adorable, plump little chocolate chip cookie. But I’m made out of plastic and totally not edible, so please don’t try to eat me. Please?

Talk about finding out Santa wasn’t real. How did it happen? What did you feel?

I never believed in Santa. My parents didn’t encourage it, I suppose.

But… I wanted to believe. I tried to persuade myself that Santa was real on a number of occasions. It never worked.

I also told my little brother terribly convincing stories in the hopes that, even if I could not bring myself to belief, that he could enjoy what I had so devastatingly missed out on. I don’t think it worked?

Share a tradition you want to start in your own home one day.

I have always thought that it would be fascinating to choose a different culture each year to learn about and “do Christmas” the way that they would do it. Or somehow integrate several different cultures into every Christmas. Jewish Christmas traditions are particularly beautiful.

The most dreadful part of the holidays is…

Crowds. Whatever possesses humans to gather in such large quantities and increase my chances of brushing up against them?

Don’t they realize that is scary?

Give This, Not That gift guide

Just give everyone books. Particularly me.

Books are simply far more exciting gifts than gift cards, or clothing, or cars.

I find no greater pleasure than buying my eight-year-old nephew – a budding bookworm – the next book in The Boxcar Kids series. After one birthday he told me, “The best thing is books!”

I beamed upon him and thought, “I have taught you well, my son.”

If you were Santa, what would you want to find on the plate awaiting you at the bottom of the chimney?

First off, the plate is not at the bottom of the chimney. That is ridiculous.

And I would appreciate cheesecake. Chocolate cheesecake. And hot chocolate. And I would like it to be hot. With marshmallows. And whipped cream.

That’s all.

What holiday decor do you collect without apology?


I have a snowman-key, and a snowman-chef, and a regular snowman, and a glass angel, and a Precious Moment ballerina who has lost both arms, and a popsicle-stick snowflake…

What books are on your literary Christmas list this year?

Sadly, none. I have run out of shelf space. And I possess the appalling trait of practicality that insists that I must not expand my collection any more until I have a place of my own to junk up.

Are we still friends?

If your year was going to be encapsulated in a snow globe, what would be included inside?

Deep question, Google.

Um. A fat stack of paper, for NaNo. Some smiley faces to represent the lovely friends I have made. Probably a dirty plate to represent all the dishes I have washed this year.

Speaking of dishes…

That’s all for now, folks! But, tell me – what are some of your favorite Christmas tree ornaments? What would your snowglobe look like? What is your favorite Christmas carol? What culture most influences the way you celebrate Christmas? What kind of Christmas cookie would you be (I promise not to eat you, if that helps)?

I almost forgot! This is a tag! I want to see every one of you do it! Immediately!