Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Christmas Movie
‘Tis the season to enjoy all things holiday and for me and my family that includes over-indulging in Christmas movies. Before you give me the scientific evidence that tube time kills brain cells and is detrimental to your child’s health, I want you to know that our Elf on the Shelf, Cocoa, said it was okay. In fact, he said that Christmas tube time is as magical as he is! So here’s some recommendations for fun movies to watch with your children and the lessons you can learn together as a family.
Elf: Gosh, I love Will Ferrell. I love him even more as a giant sized Elf named Buddy. Elf is a story about a human raised as an elf who travels to New York City to meet his real father. One unexpected lesson that Elf teaches us is that every Santa is not the real Santa. It’s one of the most hilarious scenes in the movie especially when Buddy the Elf exclaims that Santa is an imposter who smells like beef and cheese. Santa needs lots of help during the holidays and those helpers report back to him. Because you can see so many Santas during the holidays, it’s important for children to know the truth here. Santa has helpers, and sometimes they smell like beef and cheese.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: I prefer the classic cartoon here, but Jim Carrey’s version is nice, too. Dr. Seuss really knew how to pull at your heartstrings. The most notable lesson in this movie is that mean people suck. Just kidding! The Grinch does everything possible to try to ruin Christmas for the people of Whoville, but material things aren’t what Christmas is really about. “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!” What a lovely lesson for everyone. One last piece of wisdom the Grinch imparts with us is that holiday hair and fashion will live in infamy forever! Take it from a child of the 80s, pick your styles wisely before heading over to Grandma’s house! I bet Cindy Lou Who would like a hair redo!
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: This 1960s favorite brings the beloved song to life and expands on the story. It also allows us the opportunity to discuss with our children many important issues. First, bullying is not okay ever. There is no reason why Rudolph shouldn’t be allowed to play reindeer games just because he is different. Imagine all of the night games the other reindeer missed out on because they didn’t use Rudolph’s bright shiny red nose as a spot light. Second, Rudolph’s difference is what actually makes him special. If everyone was exactly the same, what a boring world it would be! Finally, follow your dream! If you want to be a dentist instead of an elf, go for it!
The Year Without a Santa Claus: This is probably the least well-known movie on my list, but it’s also a childhood favorite of mine. Santa is tired and discouraged. He doesn’t think anyone believes in him anymore and frankly he needs a vacation. As a mom, I can totally relate to this. There are days that I’m beyond exhausted, and I just don’t feel like I’m at my very best as a parent. The children in the movie decide to give Santa the holiday he deserves, and they send presents to him! It’s so typical! Just when you want to throw in the towel as a parent, your children do something wonderful and sweet and life is great again. This movie is about second chances and realizing what you’ll miss out on if you don’t believe in the magic of Christmas!
A Charlie Brown Christmas: If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you know how much I love all things Peanuts. A Charlie Brown Christmas movie is no exception. This movie will make you laugh and cry. It has it all! The pitiful Charlie Brown tree teaches us that no matter how broken or imperfect we are, love can fix anything. My heart swells every time I watch Linus with his blue blanket repeat the Bible story of the first Christmas. “For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown!” And Linus is right. Through the hustle and bustle of the season, we shouldn’t lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
So, my unscientific advice is to allow your children to watch lots of Christmas movies this season! Watch them as a family and discuss them with your children. The memories that you make together will be more special than any present under the tree.