Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Citizenship

17 Lessons from our favorite holiday films

It is that time of year again to shake the dust off of those holiday movies and binge-watch some of the classics. Whether you're a fan of Buddy the Elf or Ebenezer Scrooge, there's a message to be learned from all of the flicks. Let's start with one of my favorites...

The Holidays are a time for friends and family

First of all, if you haven't seen The Holiday put it on your "must-see" list. A not-so-spoiler alert about this flick is that it shows us that wherever we are during the holidays it's important to surround ourselves with friends, family, and laughter. In the case of Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet here, they switched lives to do so, but a simple holiday dinner would suffice if you're not up for traveling to a different continent to do so.

Don't hold on to grudges

Let December be the new January and start those New Years' resolutions now by letting go of all your grudges. No one wants that negative energy holding them down when there's a fresh start to be had! Take it from Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge here...it's not worth it.

All you need is a little love

Charlie Brown and Linus search for the true meaning of Christmas amidst the commercialized holiday. They don't want Christmas to be all about the "perfect tree." They remind us that the holidays should be about being together with friends and loved ones, no matter how puny the tree may be.

Embrace the Ugly Christmas sweater

No...seriously though.

Anybody have that one Aunt that gets them the most hideous cat sweaters for Christmas? Well who cares. Growing up, writing letters to Santa was one of my favorite traditions. But I realize that as fun as it was, it's important to make sure that we don't focus so much on what we want to receive as presents, but what we want to give. I don't just mean what presents we want to give to our friends and family though, what do we want to give back? If you are fortunate enough to be able to receive sweaters for Christmas, it's important to remember that there are a lot of people in the world without adequate resources at all. So join me in thinking, what can we give back this year? Maybe at least an ugly sweater...

"The Holidays" doesn't just refer to Christmas

It's always important to be inclusive, especially during the holidays. My man Seth Cohen reminds us that it's always possible to celebrate them together. Whether you're celebrating Santa Claus, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Christmas or whatever, the message is the same. The point of the holidays is to be together with friends and family.

There's always a creative way to get across the meaning to kids

Our Friends here took the opportunity to explain the meaning of Hanukkah to Ross' son Ben one year. Unfortunately they were out of dradle costumes, so why not settle for holiday armadillos? Whether you’re Jewish, Catholic, or non-practicing, there's always a message to be shared with kids other than it's time for presents. If you must, borrow the Superman costume from Joey here and get creative.

Don't leave your kids home alone

We can all learn a lesson from Kevin McAllister's adventures in the Home Alone movies. In the first, he realized after being alone for so long that family is the most important part of the holidays. In the second movie, he learned that someone has to stick up for the less fortunate. I'm not saying you need to set up a series of booby traps for the bad guys, but finding a way to do a good deed is never a bad idea.

Don't be a Grinch, feel all the feels

The holiday season is not a time to dwell on the negative. Like I said before, let go of those grudges and give in to the holiday spirit, it only comes around once a year!

Never stop believing in the magic of Santa Claus

Nothing depicts the magic of Santa Claus like The Miracle on 34th Street No matter the denomination, the original story of St. Nick is message we Global Citizens can get behind as we come #Together4Zero. St. Nicholas used his fortune to give back to the poor. No matter how old I am, this is a story I can believe in.

Don't give in to "Plastics" disguised as Santa

Ok, so Mean Girls may not be a "Christmas movie" per say, but I might as well take advantage of this classic jingle bell rock performance to make my point. While everyone secretly loves Regina George, nobody likes a bully in real life. Granted, high school may not be as dramatic as Means Girls depicts it to be, but peer pressure and bullying are real issues in a school setting. So let's use the holiday season, and these skimpy Santa outfits, as a reminder to be compassionate because you never know who needs a smile.

Love Actually...is all around

Although this movie might seem to be all about romance, the underlying message of Love Actually is that love is all around. You don't have to be in a relationship this holiday season to feel the love, it can come from any of your relationships. This is the time to take the extra mile, call that friend you haven't seen in ages, get to your cousins' for a visit, or whatever you can do to show the love.

Make an impact on someone's life

You might not be able to give the moon to someone, but that doesn't mean you can't make an impact. The classic tale from It's a Wonderful Life shows us that we can affect so many lives-even when we don't realize and that our actions can make a difference. Sounds like a Global Citizen motto to me...just saying.

And just in case you were wondering...nobody likes a scrooge

So be friendly this holiday season...

And take some pointers from Buddy the Elf

But maybe not too many pointers...

----

Alex Vinci


As Global Citizens we're coming #Together4Zero this holiday season. We want zero poverty by 2030, so we're taking advantage of every cheesy movie lesson to be learned that we can muster. No matter which time zone you celebrate the holidays in, there are always way to share the love with your neighbors across the globe. So Happy Holidays everyone, now please excuse me while I go enjoy a Santa Clause marathon.

Click here for more holiday content