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Is Netflix’s ‘Operation Christmas Drop’ Based on Real Decades-Old Air Force Tradition

Operation Christmas Drop


You have to admit, the Christmas spirit is strong during November. Not only is it a month away from the actual month of Christmas, but it’s also the month where TV smacks you with Home Alone and other holiday specials. If you want to spice things up this year, fortunately for you, Netflix’s Operation Christmas Drop is a must-add to your holiday binge list

With the likes of The Vampire DiariesKat Graham and The Hunger GamesAlexander Ludwig. The film revolves around a congressional aide who has to miss out on Christmas with her family just to travel to an Air Force base. While there, she finds every reason to shut down the facility––until she meets one of the most lovable hotties who gives her reason after reason to fight for the facility’s survival instead. 

Now, with so many adaptations in a lot of platforms, real stories are hard to come by. Christmas Operation Drop, however, is based on a real annual Air Force operation that’s been surviving for decades––and hopefully decades more to come.

Is it based on a true story?

Though the cheesy chemistry building between two people isn’t part of the real story, Operation Christmas Drop is based on the Department of Defense’s annual humanitarian airlift operation whose name served as the title of the film. 

In 1952, an American aircrew stumbled upon people waving at them from the island of Kapingamarangi during the Christmas time. To spread the spirit of giving, the aircrew dropped parachuted-supplies from their planes to the islanders. Ever since, the aircrew always held Operation Christmas Drop annually and would drop school supplies, medicine, food, clothing, toys, and more to more than 50 islands throughout the Pacific Ocean.

The base camp in question here is Andersen Air Force Base in Guam––the actual base camp that’s been doing the operation for years. The most heartwarming thing is that air forces from Japan, Australia, and recently, New Zealand joined in on the effort. The clips in Operation Christmas Drop were the actual effort of the air camp in 2019. Reportedly, some of the crew even helped out in volunteering to help sort donations during their time off. 


Whether or not this is a “stream it or skip it” article, the urge to stream it every holiday season is strong––and maybe just what you need to get you in the giving spirit. 

Add that alongside a love story for the culture and a small bit of history suited for Christmas, Operation Christmas Drop is a sure-fire concoction for audiences. Normally, Christmas-themed films involve families, friends, and an antagonist’s change of heart. For reference, you can look at Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square. The film’s background, however, is directly based on the most purest of actions during the holidays––giving, and that’s what makes a great Christmas movie. 

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