Remembering a Classic: Mr. Krueger’s Christmas
In 1980 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints produced a Christmas film starring veteran Hollywood actor James (Jimmy) Stewart. The film, titled Mr. Krueger’s Christmas, was broadcast on NBC on December 21, 1980.
Stewart, who is perhaps most well-known for the role of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, plays Willy Krueger, a widowed janitor who lives alone with his cat in a basement apartment. When Mr. Krueger puts on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s now out-of-print album White Christmas, he begins to imagine himself conducting the Choir in the Salt Lake Tabernacle as he drifts off to sleep. His dreams take him on a mountain sleigh ride with the Choir—complete with snowman making and snowball fighting with children.
The journey continues as he invites Christmas carolers to his humble home, which he imagines to be a fancy estate. When the carolers leave, he discovers a little girl has left behind her mittens. Later on in the story, when the girl returns with her mother to find her mittens, she was excited to find out that Mr. Krueger hung them on the Christmas tree. Mr. Krueger admitted, “Well, you remind me of everything that’s good about Christmas, so I just couldn’t think of a better place.”
Mr. Krueger then imagines himself at the manger where Jesus Christ was born. When he realizes where he is, he introduces himself and thanks Him for everything He has done for him. “As long as I can remember you’ve been right by my side. I’ll never forget when you walked with me right in those first few hours after I lost Martha. I’ve always been able to count on you when I felt dark inside—you were right there, every time, right there. Even when I didn’t feel good about myself I knew that you cared for me enough, and that made me feel better.”
In the end Mr. Krueger finds what he always knew about Christmas to be true—that above all things, Christmas is about love.
One of the four movies showing on Temple Square at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building Legacy Theater this Christmas season is Mr. Krueger’s Christmas. See more information.