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.
Find Your Version of Happiness
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.
Enjoy What’s Right in Front of You
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.
Best 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
|8 Crazy Nights Davey Stone had a few lessons to learn: Don’t let the past keep you from seeing what’s right in front of you, don’t push away the people that are there to help you, and don’t be your own worst enemy. I think the lesson we learn watching Davey is similar to Peaceful Warrior – “the people that are the hardest to love, often need it the most.”
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
|A Charlie Brown Christmas Don’t let the commercialism get in the way of meaning or significance for you. Just because you might be surrounded by it, doesn’t mean you can’t carve out a part for you.
3. A Christmas Carol
|A Christmas Carol. Bob Marley teaches us that we wear the chains we forge in life. Ebenezer Scrooge teaches us that you can change your life over-night and it’s never too late to change. He also teaches us to live the life you want to lead, and live each day how you want to be remembered. My favorite version was always Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, but now I’m seriously a fan of Disney’s A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey. Other variations include The Muppet Christmas Carol, A Flintstones Christmas Carol, Scrooged, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and of course, the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. I also like the made for T.V. movies and when sitcoms do their version of a 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?|
|Elf. I think this is about unleashing your inner-elf.
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
|Home Alone. Don’t forget your kids when you go on vacation … bad stuff happens.
10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
|How The Grinch Stole Christmas. You can’t really steal Christmas, since it’s not the toys and the food. Everybody has a soft spot, even the Grinch. Sometimes it’s shutting people out that turns them sour, just like letting them in can bring out their best.
11. It’s a Wonderful Life
|It’s a Wonderful Life. Focus on what’s right in your life, over dwelling on what’s wrong.
12. Jingle All the Way
|Jingle All the Way. To your kids, you’re the most important hero. You don’t have to be perfect. Just know they look up to you.
13. Lemon Drop Kid
|Lemon Drop Kid. Even con men can do right … and make people laugh along the way.
14. Little Drummer Boy
|Little Drummer Boy. Step up to the plate and be your best, or in this case, “play” your best.
15. March of the Wooden Soldiers
|March of the Wooden Soldiers. Team up. It’s a better together story where good triumphs over evil.
16. Miracle on 34th Street
|Miracle on 34th Street. Stay curious and believe in possibility. Miracles happen. Your beliefs can limit or enable what’s possible and what you perceive.
17. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
|National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Everybody has their own version of what a perfect holiday means. Don’t impose you’re your “perfect” on others. When things don’t go as planned, roll with the punches and make the most of it.
18. Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
|Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. It’s the differences that can be your strengths. For Nestor, his ears became his strength when he could hear the angels sing, while everybody was blinded from the storm.|
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
|Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town. You can melt cold hearts with acts of kindness. While Kris had limited luck melting Burgermeister’s heart, he had more luck with the Winter Warlock and turned him into an ally. Even though Santa visits only once a year, he really wants the holiday spirit to last throughout the year.
22. The Bishop’s Wife
|The Bishop’s Wife. Get your priorities straight. While you chase your dreams, never lose sight of what’s most important.
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
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.