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Why "Home Alone" Means Everything to Youngest Siblings

One of the biggest reasons I dislike Halloween is that it gets in the way of my two-month "Home Alone" marathon, which always begins on November 1. That's excessive, I know, especially for a 27-year-old, but this holiday season, I have an excuse for my "Home Alone" obsession. "Home Alone" turned 25 on November 16, meaning it's been around for almost as long as I've been alive.

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The movie has also maintained a massive following since it was released in 1990. The official "Home Alone" Facebook page has nearly 15 million fans, and UberEATS even had a "Home Alone" pizza special in select cities several weeks ago in honor of the movie classic:

 

SF, LA, NYC & Chicago: ???TODAY ONLY! UberEATS is delivering Little's Nero Pizza + a FREE digital copy of Home Alone "...

Posted by Home Alone on Friday, November 6, 2015


Many celebrate "Home Alone" for its slapstick scenes, Macaulay Culkin's precocious acting chops, and the unabashed silliness of villains Marv and Harry (played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci). I love these aspects of the movie, especially because I will never outgrow the humor, but more than anything else, I appreciate "Home Alone" for being a champion of youngest siblings. Like Macaulay Culkin's character, Kevin, I'm the youngest myself and "Home Alone" is perhaps the most visible film to highlight our abilities.

How "Home Alone" challenges family stereotypes

For the uninitiated, "Home Alone" is about a young boy named Kevin who accidentally gets left behind when his family flies to Paris for the holidays. The night before they're all set to leave, Kevin is told to pack his suitcase, a concept that traumatizes him as the youngest sibling.

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Though the idea of packing his suitcase is scary in theory, Kevin ultimately proves that he is more than capable of taking care of himself despite being the runt of the pack. Not only does he feed himself while his parents are out of town, but he successfully orders pizza (albeit in a terrifying way for the Little Nero's delivery guy), goes shopping at the grocery store, and, of course, outsmarts two dim-witted burglars who break into his home.

At the end of the film, Kevin's family returns from France and they're all shocked to learn that he was just fine without them for a few days. That's not the Kevin they know, but he ultimately defies the stereotype that youngest siblings are useless and unable to look after themselves.

"Literally none of Kevin’s 675 siblings are nice to him," HelloGiggles contributor Jen Juneau recently wrote. "Eventually they come around and see he’s an actual human, but when it takes your whole family leaving you for a few days and you putting burglars behind bars to get your siblings to treat you anything better than terribly, that’s gotta sting."

The youngest sibling dilemma

It's no secret that youngest siblings often have a harder time being taken seriously and earning the respect of others. They're often called the "baby," a label that underestimates the person by default. Youngest siblings also tend to be considered spoiled, less patient, and demanding while first born children are often more independent, strong leaders, responsible, and diplomatic when necessary.

Psychologist Kevin Lerman, author of “The Birth Order Book,” told TODAY in 2010 that youngest siblings typically succumb to the "nothing I do is important" mentality as a result of their birth order.

“None of their accomplishments seem original," Dr. Lerman said. "Their siblings have already learned to talk, read, and ride a bike. So parents react with less spontaneous joy at their accomplishments and may even wonder, 'Why can he catch up faster?'"

Kevin, however, rises to the occasion of being left home alone and shows he can demonstrate all of the best qualities of first-born siblings. He also takes on a challenge his siblings haven't faced themselves: protecting the home from burglars. He uses these skills again the following year, when he and his family members inadvertently hop on separate planes during the holidays. "Home Alone 2," of course, isn't as well loved as its predecessor, but Kevin remains the greatest onscreen youngest sibling of all time, and thanks to him, I'll always look forward to Christmas.

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