Miracle on 34th Street

Took marrying a Dutchman and moving to the Netherlands to realize that there’s Dutch in this movie!

Miracle on 34th Street is an American Christmas classic. The original film came out in 1947 starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and Natalie Wood. A later version directed by the late John Hughes hit theaters in 1994 starring Mara Wilson as Susan. The story revolves around a young girl brought up not to believe in Santa Claus. That is until her mother happens to hire the real one to work as the Santa in Macy’s Department Store in New York City. If there ever was a story that embodied the spirit of Christmas, this is it.

My family sat down every year during the holidays to watch this movie. So much so that, as a child, I truly believed that it was only at the Macy’s in New York where you could find the real Santa Claus. But eventually the story grew old and family time grew sparse, and our annual viewing of Miracle on 34th Street became a thing of the past. I can’t even tell you the last time I saw it.

The years flew by and my brother and I were soon adults. Only just two short years ago, I met my husband – a Dutchman. Soon after, I found myself on a one-way flight to the Netherlands where I would begin to make new friends, discover new hobbies, excite new interests, see new things, start a new job, and learn a new language. These adventures became – and still make up – my everyday life, which can cause you to forget how special your circumstances are.

In a past entry, I mentioned being asked a favor by a director friend of mine back in the States. He told me he was directing Miracle on 34th Street and that he needed my (and/or my husband’s) help. Having a husband that’s not so into Christmas and having not seen the film myself in years, I was clueless as to what kind of assistance we could possibly offer. Turns out, in one of the scenes in the play, a young girl is presented to Santa who had just come to the US from an orphanage in Rotterdam. The cartoon light bulb over my head instantly came to life. My husband and I took about thirty minutes to Skype with the young actress playing the Dutch orphan, going over pronunciations, teaching Dutch Christmas songs, and reading the lines aloud for the girl’s father to record.

The next day, I stopped by the Media Markt to buy the movie, but to no avail. The store didn’t carry either version. Neither did the Free Record Shop. So I resigned myself to waiting until we returned to the US for the holidays where I would definitely be able to find the film (and at a much better price thanks to the weakness of the US dollar). But, when I told my parents about it while they were visiting for Thanksgiving, my dad wanted to look the scene up online so he could see it for himself.

Mind you: the Dutch is terrible, the lyrics to Sinterklaas Kapoentje are not entirely correct, and the American accents dominate. My husband and I had to listen to it three times before we could understand everything that was being said. And Dutch is his native language! It’s also a poorly made clip – clearly someone holding a video camera to the television. But, here’s the clip nevertheless, which is worth the time to watch if for no other reason than to indulge in nostalgia. 

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