Below is a timeline of ten treasured sayings to get you in the spirit this holiday season, along with the life lessons that make each movie magical.
- “God bless us, everyone!”
— A Christmas Carol (1938)
A Christmas Carol teaches onlookers that they can come to terms with their past, and the movie shows spectators that a little bit of kindness can mean incredible things to come.
- “Los Posadas takes place on each of the nine days before Christmas. Each evening, the children gather at the village church and form a procession, symbolizing the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The little ones carry images of the saints from house to house, singing a plea for shelter or posada. A reply comes from within, “No posada, no shelter.” Looking sad and downhearted, they try again. But the reply is still the same: “No shelter. No posada.” They repeat the song time after time, and always they are refused until at last, they finally reach a house, and the door is open. “Come in, come in, holy pilgrims. This humble home is yours.” And now, Mary and Joseph have found shelter at last. Then the rejoicing begins, the feasting, the celebrating, and finally, the biggest surprise of all, breaking the piñata.”
— The Three Caballeros (1944)
The Three Caballeros, a mix of live-action and animation, articulates many aspects of Latin American culture. With pride, presents, piñatas, flowers, and fireworks, the movie makes it a point to detail the power of persistence and unity.
- “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
— Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
Miracle On 34th Street illustrates to watchers that imagination is imperative, that it’s possible to love again, and that people should never stop believing in the enchanting wonders of the world.
- “A toy is never truly happy until it is loved by a child.”
— Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer revolves around the theme of celebrating individuality, and the cinematic adventure sets a spotlight on the idea that no one should ever dull their shine for the sake of others.
- “It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, but who’s around it.”
— A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
A Charlie Brown Christmas conveys to moviegoers that friends can help one another get into the holiday groove and that putting in a little love can go a long way.
- “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”
— How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas shows that a cheerful approach can often influence others. The film also portrays that people, especially those not in tune with the holiday season, should always allow their hearts to grow bigger, especially around this time of year.
- “Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as…as…as the fiddler on the roof!”
— Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Fiddler on the Roof finds a way to tie in the importance of traditions; how traditions can tell you about yourself, provide stability as well as a sense of purpose. Fiddler on the Roof also depicts how toasting our fortunes prompts us to think about how we should be more thankful. The play turned movie also makes us consider the older members of our family and how we should pay attention to their words of wisdom.
- “And for you, Fievel, a new hat — and not just any new hat — a new hat that has been in my family for three generations. It belonged to me, my father’s father, and now it belongs to you. Happy Hanukkah.”
— An American Tail (1986)
An American Tail introduces moral motifs of immigration with themes of inclusivity. The film tells an animated story on the significance of diversity, decency, freedom, and family.
- “It’s Christmas Eve. It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer; we smile a little easier; we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be.”
— Scrooged (1988)
Scrooged displays the notion that money doesn’t buy happiness, that meanness can fade, and that beloved memories can last a lifetime.
- “You see, children hold the spirit of Christmas within their hearts.”
— The Santa Clause (1994)
The Santa Clause connects to its audience by promoting people to tackle life’s troubles with confidence, care, and a keen sense of humor.
- “I’m of the mindset you can never do too much to make a child’s Christmas magical.”
— Jingle All the Way (1996)
Jingle All the Way signals to spectators the value in taking the time to be a superhero for your family; that it’s not about the gifts themselves, but the time you give to your loved ones.
- “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
— Elf (2003)
Elf reminds watchers — young and old — that they should accept their authenticity, embrace who they are, and live as enthusiastically as possible.
- “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”
— The Polar Express (2004)
The Polar Express projects the idea that, even when facing uncertainty, we should all hold onto hope with an open heart.
- “Kwanzaa means access. It means access to your soul. It means access to your people. It’s like renewing your annual membership to community, to your family, to your culture, and most importantly, to yourself.”
—The Black Candle (2008)
The Black Candle, narrated by Maya Angelou, celebrates the African-American experience, community, and culture. The film enlightens those watching on Kwanzaa’s seven principles (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith) and why they are pivotal today.
This year, no matter what you believe, be sure to commemorate your blessings, cherish the lessons that surround us, and may your spirit be bright this celebratory season.
Happy holidays from our Goodwin family to yours.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.