Making the Grades
All Joy Robertson (Daphne Zuniga) wants for Christmas is for the holiday to be perfect. This mom of two teen-aged boys (Evan Williams and Victor Zinck Jr.), who will soon be off to college, knows this will likely be the last one the family celebrates together.
But instead of joining in the preparatory work necessary to accomplish this goal, her sons and husband (David Sutcliffe) are too busy with their own priorities to even engage in the traditional activities like buying the tree and putting up the decorations. That doesnt mean that they arent expecting all the usual trappings though. They just assume Joy will magically make it happen.
The stress starts to mount as baking for special events and hosting parties are added to the usual to-do list and demanding work obligations. After having her pleas for help ignored, Joy decides to do something radical in the hopes of getting her family’s attention. Taking her cue from some disgruntled super market employees, the harried woman goes on strike.
Her painted placard demanding support meets with scoffs from the preoccupied men in her life. However, her action is applauded by all the other mothers in town who are also feeling over worked and under appreciated. Their cause is given a further boost when a sympathizing journalist publishes an article about Joys requests on the front page of the local paper.
For the Robertson males, this public humiliation means war. So they set out to prove anything Mom can do they can do better—or at least almost as well. While at first this reaction appears to be giving their Mom and her followers everything they wanted, the resulting tensions and hard feelings just put a damper on the festive spirit. With the whole community at odds, Joy, an admitted perfectionist, starts to wonder if she is doing the right thing to fix what’s wrong with the yuletide celebration.
This made-for TV movie is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever felt Joy’s frustration. And husbands and children should only experience a twinge of guilt in this script that attempts to show their side of the argument too. With the exception of infrequent sexual banter and a few mild expletives (one of which is uttered by an angry Santa), along with some alcohol consumption (never to the point of drunkenness), On Strike For Christmas may help the entire family find a way to put the ho, ho, ho, back into the holiday season.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about On Strike For Christmas.
Why do you think Joy’s plight meets with so much empathy from the women in the community? Why do they put a lot of the blame on the men in their lives? Why do you think the children are also implicated? What responsibility do these moms have in the problem? How does a person’s personal perspective change the definition of what makes Christmas perfect?
What is the most important part of the Christmas celebrations for you? What things do you think you could do to improve the quality of the experience for all family members?
What stereotypical teen behavior is included in this movie? Why are men often shown as inept in the kitchen? How do you feel about these depictions?