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  • Writer's pictureJessamie Rattray

Lifestyle lessons from my favourite Christmas films

For me, the best thing about watching a film is the little lessons you carry with you even after you turn off the TV or fold down your laptop screen. Within Christmas films, we often encounter recurring themes of love, friendship and lessons on the important and meaningful things in life. Here are the lifestyle lessons from some of my favourite Christmas films.

Love Actually

It is no secret that the most vital lesson learned by any viewer upon watching Love Actually is about love. We’ve all sobbed listening to Hugh Grant’s famous line:

“Love, actually, is all around.”

And we learn this lesson via multiple alleys within the film. Love, we see, can be found in the strangest and fated of places. Think of Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia’s (Lucia Moniz) love story, rooted in destiny and a dare to give it a go. Arguably, the most touching element of the love stories encountered by the viewer is the importance of friendship. We see, through Karen (Emma Thompson) and Daniel’s (Liam Neeson) bond, the importance of having close friends around during the dark times. The theme of ‘friendship-love’ continues when Billy Mack and his producer Joe form an unexpected connection towards the film’s denouement, showing viewers how friendships can form in the strangest of places. Ultimately, Love Actually leaves its viewers content and drunk on the spirit of Christmas, convinced of the potential of love to light up any empty space.


A new and potentially less-known addition to the Christmas film ensemble is Klaus. While not obviously a Christmas film upon a distanced viewing, the film explores some of the warmest Christmas lessons. Despite the happy tears that this film holds the power to evoke in me, I think the film is so special because the viewer comes to understand the importance of community. The eventual establishment of peaceful relations between the Island klans - the Krums and the Ellingbones - demonstrates the importance of building bridges, letting go and moving on.

The Holiday

Undeniably, the core lesson of Meyers’ The Holiday is that you never know who will cross your path. More specifically, you never know that a simple holiday home-swap could lead you to the love of your life. But there is a serious message to be understood from watching The Holiday: life rewards those who step out of their comfort zone. And as a study-abroader myself, I can vouch for this one.

The Grinch

Undoubtedly one of the most classic Christmas films, the storyline of The Grinch teaches us that appearance is merely surface level: the substance is found underneath. Viewers eventually fall in love with the Grinch, understanding that you have to accept people despite their differences. Interestingly, the film demonstrates how people are shaped by their experiences, but the damage can be overcome in the right environment. When the Grinch’s heart grows 2 times in size, Christmas spirit is evoked within the hearts of the viewers.

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