A Holiday Pageant at Home (1901)

This is supposedly a short film showing a family rehearsing a few days before Christmas, then performing a play on Christmas Eve. As far as I can tell, it's intended as a slice-of-life short: there's very little content here. My guess is the point of this was to demonstrate film as a medium, since there's virtually nothing else I can take away from this.

Only the title cards hint at a yuletide connection: there are no decorations, and the little that can be gleaned about the content of the play has no obvious connection to the holidays. I considered skipping this one altogether, but - since it's technically a holiday short - figured I'd include it in the interest of being as complete as possible.

The only title cards we get break the video into segments. First, we're told it's "A few days before Christmas," and we just see a group of children reading while a woman - presumably their mother - writes what I'm assuming are scripts. Next, we get a title card reading, "Christmas Eve - The Prologue," in which two of the girls seem to be singing and dancing. Then comes "The Play," in which a pair of kids dressed in a suit and dress scold and point their fingers at a girl until a boy in a cowboy hat comes in with a toy gun and knife and chases the pair in circles while the girl claps. The last section is "The Author's Reward," in which the family's father (again, I'm assuming relations here) kisses and seemingly praises the mother.

Again, there's not a lot of substance here. Hell, there's not really any style, either. It feels like a demonstration of the technology more than anything else. It might give a little insight into holiday customs at the turn of the century, but I'm reluctant to put much stock in this without more context.

It's nice to see the mother celebrated as the author, I suppose. Other than that, I'm inclined to set this aside as a weird artifact from the early days of film.