5 Lessons Holiday Movies Teach Us About Work Life

These timeless classics are packed with cheer and important career lessons

With every Christmas season comes the endless marathons of Christmas movies on every channel that isn’t CNN (ba-hum-bug CNN). There are timeless classics and new additions to the “Christmas Canon,” but all of them are packed with cheer and important lessons we can learn about this hectic and wonderful holiday season.

While I wouldn’t want to be a Grinch and steal your Christmas movie experience from you, here are some of the most important lessons young professionals can learn from these festive films.


Movie: Jingle All the Way
Lesson: Don’t Put Off Office Gift Giving

Photo: Scarecroe, Wikia


Holiday gift giving is more than just a personal endeavor. I have spent the last month at my job compiling the gift list for my company’s many corporate friends and it’s a good thing I didn’t follow Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lead in “Jingle All the Way.”

The future “Governator,” who has a hard time juggling his work and home life, is left empty-handed when he procrastinates and the hot new action figure is sold out when he finally makes time to get it for his son.

Be sure to be on top of all presents and correspondence within your professional network. This is the time of year to remind everyone that they are in your thoughts and that you are on top of your game. It’s much harder to gift wrap an excuse.


Movie: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Lesson: Don’t Be a Grinch or a Scrooge

Photo: JACK5555, Wikia


Christmas is indeed “the most wonderful time of the year.” That being said, there are always some ba-hum-bug-ridden bums who want to spoil it. There are also bound to be some very festive co-workers in the workplace: those who love to deck the desks with mini trees, lights, and perhaps, even a little (a.k.a endless) Christmas music the moment Halloween ends.

This can be a bit distracting but it’s important to bear with the more festive members of your workplace. While not everybody LOVES Christmas, NOBODY loves a Scrooge or a Grinch.

The kind of people who love Christmas are usually the best kind of people good-natured and helpful. These are people and qualities you want on your team in times of crisis, so don’t steal Christmas from them. Take it from someone who works very hard and loves Christmas… we need this.


Movie: Elf
Lesson: Don't Let Work Interfere With Family

Photo: JACK5555, Wikia

Will Ferrell’s loveable character in “Elf” is one of the all-time Christmas greats. He teaches us something very important that we can all benefit from. When Buddy the elf leaves the North Pole in search of family, his father is less than receptive as Buddy poses an embarrassing threat to his work.

I feel like the Latin root for “family” probably translates to “embarrassing.” While it’s important to keep a squeaky clean image at work, it’s only family that you can count on to be there to pour syrup on your pasta when you’re done.

While we can become very wrapped up in our jobs and the lives we lead in our own worlds, family is what makes the holidays so special get the work you need to get done done and do what you can to be “home for Christmas.”


Movie: The Simpsons Episode 1: “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”
Lesson: Never Expect, You Know What Happens When You Assume

Photo: CGP, Wikia


No, “The Simpsons” is not a movie but it’s on the list because: it’s “The Simpsons.” This episode is not only monumental for being the first in the longest running series EVER, it is also rife with Christmas insight.

Firstly, appreciate your Christmas bonus, don’t expect it. Homer and crew are left without money to buy presents when the Christmas bonus he expected doesn’t happen.

Bonuses are usually a surprise and it’s important to never count your bonuses before they hatch. It’s an expensive time of year and it should be planned for.


Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life
Lesson: Appreciate Yourself 

Photo: JeremyCreek, Wikia


The hapless protagonist in “It’s a Wonderful Life” is thoroughly convinced that he never should have been born. This sends him on an odyssey where he discovers just how important he is to everyone around him and how rotten the world would be without him.

While it’s all too easy to feel underappreciated in an evermore self-centered working world especially at entry-level it’s important to take a step back and think of just how helpful and important you are to those around you. If there is any glaring need for improvement, New Year’s and its resolutions are right around the corner. In the meantime, take a little me-time and enjoy yourself.

Photos via Wikia are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Monster Wants to Know: What's your favorite holiday move with a work-related lesson? Share with us in the comment section.