As this holiday season intensifies, we’ve challenged ourselves—and hopefully you’ll join us in the challenge—to be more intentional. Right now… yes, starting now. It’s really a perfect time if you consider we’re just days away from the new year, as the word, intention is defined as an idea, goal, purpose, or aim that you plan to carry out. If we could take intentional cues from the big screen, here are three learnable lessons from well-known Christmas movies to help us set the tone for a warm, positive, love-filled season to remember.
1 “This is extremely important. Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year; I just want my family back? No toys; nothing but Peter, Kate, Buzz, Megan, Linnie, and Jeff-and my aunt and cousins. And if he has time, my Uncle Frank, okay?”Kevin, Home Alone
Being intentional is about keeping the focus on what is important. Sit down and take the time to make goals for yourself and your family. An example could be keeping a stress-free holiday by not overcommitting, or making a goal of community service and dedicating time to give back. In the movie “Home Alone,” Kevin realized through a series of unfortunate events that he had been taking his family for granted. We like to avoid this by focusing our priorities on our faith, family and friends. Your family get-togethers might seem more like a Griswold gathering than a Hallmark movie, but that is what makes it memorable and unique. And, regularly remind yourself of your goals to keep them at the forefront, even amid irritations and distractions.
2 “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Giving thoughtfully, not habitually, is the second lesson on intentional-ness. After all the hassle the Grinch encounters to steal the Whos’ presents and decorations, they still carry on with contagious, community Christmas spirit. The true gift of Christmas for us came in the form of a Savior. We can live to honor that gift. The giving of presents should be derived and delivered with love versus without thought. What if we gave quality time, and gifts with meaning and memorable experiences instead?
3 “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”Clarence, It’s a Wonderful Life
Some may say the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. [Buddy the Elf] As fun as that sounds, intentional cheer is more authentically derived from taking the focus off one’s self. In the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Clarence realizes just how much the sacrifices he has made for others have mattered.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, each of us can make such a difference in the world, especially during the holidays. When you and your family start to brainstorm with intention, you’ll find many ways to bless others this season. There may be groups and causes that speak to your heart. Even the gift of your time can make an amazing impact to many organizations that run on volunteer power. We wish you a very merry, intentional Christmas and new year.