Make a Change with Lessons from 5 Christmas Movies

christmas vacation chevy chase

It’s that time of the year again when Christmas movies dominate the television channels. Whether the stories are old classics or new favorites, Christmas movies can do more than put you in a feel-good holiday mood. The lessons learned simply from watching Christmas movies this season can last you through the whole year and help you refresh your goals and make a positive change in the New Year.

[Learn what a degree from Kaplan University can do for you]

Sit down with a cup of eggnog and let the lessons from these five Christmas movies help you make positive, lasting changes throughout the year.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life: Success can be hard to see. In this can’t-miss classic, George Bailey spends his life sacrificing his own dreams to help other people. But he still feels like a failure when his family-run banking business is faced with bankruptcy and fraud charges. Consumed with desperation, George believes that the world would be better without him. His guardian angel, Clarence, intervenes and shows George what life would be like without his generosity. George is reminded of how all the decisions he made throughout his life have impacted the people he cares about. With a change in perspective, George realizes that he has a wonderful life. Setbacks do not equal failure, and success was around him all along.

2. Elf: Change can be disruptive, but it might be exactly what you need. This funny, charming modern classic tells the story of Buddy the Elf, a human raised by elves in the North Pole. When Buddy ventures from his snowy home to find his biological father in New York City, his silly, naïve nature wreaks havoc on his stoic, ambitious father, Walter Hobbs. Buddy fills the Hobbs house with Christmas decorations and single-handedly ruins a business deal. Walter is angry and unsettled by the disruption Buddy brings to his job-focused life. But in the end, Buddy’s unique perspective is just what his father needs to see himself and his career differently. He finds greater success as a father and as a businessman by accepting a change that originally felt very uncomfortable.

[Start a change. Invest in your future by continuing your education.]

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Anyone can change. This cartoon will warm your heart over and over again. The film follows the attempts of the stingy, green Grinch to prevent Christmas from coming. From his mountaintop cave, he despises the noise that ensues from Christmas joy in Whoville below. The Grinch spends most of the movie conniving to steal all the Whos Christmas gifts and décor to prevent their Christmas cheer from disturbing him. When he achieves his goal and manages to steal everything from Whoville on Christmas, the surprising reaction from the Whos changes the Grinch. His heart “grew three times that day” when he sees the Whos celebrate Christmas anyway. The once heartless Grinch changes in to a kind and accepting soul. If the Grinch can change, anyone can.

4. A Christmas Story: Never give up, even when everyone tells you no. Told from the perspective of the lovable nine-year-old Ralphie, this classic can be seen over and over again in 24-hour marathons this time of year. All Ralphie wants for Christmas is “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle”—a BB gun. He makes one attempt after another to convince his parents, his teacher, and the mall Santa Clause that a BB gun is the supreme gift. Each attempt at persuasion leads to the same rejection of his request on fears that “you’ll shoot your eye out.”  Ralphie does not give up hope and is constantly daydreaming about the vindication he will achieve with his prized BB gun. On Christmas morning, hidden behind all the other boxes, Ralphie gets his coveted gift. Even though he winds up fulfilling everyone’s prediction and hurts himself with his first shot, he cherishes his BB gun and falls asleep with his arms around it.

[The right LinkedIn profile can help you get the job of your dreams.]

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Nothing is perfect, and that’s okay. This comedy classic is about more than laughs (there are plenty of those, too!). The well-intentioned Clark Griswold gets the notion that he wants his whole family to visit for the Christmas holiday. His vision of the perfect, old-fashioned holiday is quickly blurred by one snafu after another. After being disappointed with Christmas lighting, a very overcooked turkey, the surprise appearance of his hapless brother, and not receiving the bonus he already spent, reality begins to set in. Clark momentarily abandons all hope for a merry Christmas. In the end, his family’s support makes Christmas exactly what he envisioned, not because the details are perfect but because of how the family acts when things get tough.

Enjoy your holiday this season! Return to regularly scheduled programming in the New Year with these lessons for a year of new successes.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Tags: ,