What 25 Holiday Classics Teach Us About Life and Fun
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen.
But do you know Davey Stone, George Bailey, Ralphie Parker or Emmet Otter?
They’re the stars of some of my favorite holiday classics.
Holiday classics are a great source of inspiration and insight. As with any movies, holiday classics are stories with conflict and resolution. Themes range from fitting in to standing out. Some of the best stories are where the villain becomes the hero and defeats their inner demons. Another common theme I see is find your version of happiness.
The beauty of the holiday classics is that they make you feel good. From finding your inner child to unleashing your better self, there’s a common theme of making the most of what you’ve got, enjoy what’s right in front of you, and lead the life you want to live. In this post, I share my key take aways from these holiday movies.
Lessons Learned from 25 Holiday Classics
Here are my lessons learned from 25 holiday classics. If you already know the movie, then the take away might make sense for you. If you don’t know the movie, I’ve included links to Amazon, Wikipedia, and IMDB so you can check it out. Feel free to share your favorite holiday movies and lessons learned in the comments. Enjoy!
1. Eight Crazy Nights
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
3. A Christmas Carol
4. A Christmas Story
||A Christmas Story. Any time I mention this movie, somebody says, “you’ll shoot your eye out.” Poor Ralphie, but I don’t think that was the lesson. I think it’s more like — life happens. You never really know what you’re going to look back on as the best times of your life or the funniest. Some things that aren’t funny at the time, just might turn out funny later, either when you flash back or when you make a movie (apparently the movie is based on the author’s child hood.)
5. Bad Santa
||Bad Santa. Believing in somebody can bring out their best. Kids can remind us what really matters and what the right thing to do is. Also, conmen are people too, and everybody makes mistakes. The real question is, how do you write your story forward?
7. Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
||Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. You accomplish more together than apart. If you’ve seen it, you know that to make a washtub base you have to put a hole in the washtub. They bet everything they had to get each other Christmas presents — Emmet put a hole in his Mom’s wash tub and his Mom sold his tool chest. It turns out, all they really wanted was each other. In retrospect, what were they thinking? Some bets just aren’t worth it. Luckily this one worked out, but I’m glad we didn’t see the version where Emmett and his Mom can’t make a living anymore because they bet their wash tub and tools.
8. Frosty the Snowman
||Frosty the Snowman. When I was younger, I thought it was about believing in magic and how a snow man that comes to life would be cool to hang out with. Now that I’m older, I think it’s – remember the magic of when you were a kid, and how that brought things to life. Frosty teaches us that every day is a good day and forget anything bad. The first words out of Frosty’s mouth were “Happy Birthday” and he was all about having fun and celebrating life while he’s got it.
9. Home Alone
10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
11. It’s a Wonderful Life
12. Jingle All the Way
13. Lemon Drop Kid
14. Little Drummer Boy
15. March of the Wooden Soldiers
16. Miracle on 34th Street
17. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
18. Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
19. The Polar Express
||The Polar Express. Stay young at heart. Sometimes the best experiences in life start with belief. My favorite line is, “At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
20. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Nobody wants a Charlie-in-the-box and if an elf really wants to be a dentist, just go ahead and let them be one. The real lesson in Rudolph is “do your thing” and play to your strengths. Be proud of who you are and whatever makes you stand out. More importantly, find your place for it. Rudolph found the place for his shiny nose was the front of the pack. The elf that wanted to be a dentist found he could be a dentist right there at the workshop. Bumble (the abominable snowman) found his special ability was placing the star at the top of the tree (“look at what he can do!.”) It’s also a reminder that nobody’s perfect, but everybody can find their place. Santa even found a home for all the misfit toys from the cowboy who rides an ostrich to the train with square wheels.
21. Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town
22. The Bishop’s Wife
23. The Santa Clause
||The Santa Clause. If you suddenly gain a lot of weight and suddenly grow a white beard that you just can’t seem to trim, consider a job as Santa for a while. There’s more though. Don’t put kids in the middle of things, especially during the holidays when it’s about being together. If you give yourself to a higher-cause, it can be your greatest source of fulfillment, whether that’s self-less service, doing the right thing, or living your purpose.
24. The Year Without a Santa Clause
||The Year without a Santa Clause. This is the one with Heat Miser (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_Miser) and Snow Miser (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Miser ). (It’s a clay animation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_animation ), but I’ve actually seen people in real life that look like Heat Miser and Cold Miser.) Anyway, the lesson we learn here is, about how to deal with conflict and negotiate effectively. When Heat Miser and Snow Miser, wouldn’t cooperate, Mrs. Clause told their mom, Mother Nature who forced them to compromise. It’s also about letting people know how much they matter. Santa found his inspiration and got his groove on, when a little girl wrote how she would have a Blue Christmas without him.
25. White Christmas
||White Christmas. Don’t let miscommunications and mix-ups, mess up an otherwise good thing. Be careful about jumping to conclusions about people’s intentions. You may not like their behavior, or it may seem off, but it’s really tough to judge, especially if you’re not in their shoes. Be less quick to judge and quicker to forgive and forget and make room for happiness.