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What Christmas Movies Teach Us About Relationships

christmas movies
Each of these seven films offers a nugget of relational wisdom.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good Christmas flick. Each holiday season I cozy up to the TV to watch favorites such as “Rudolph…,” “White Christmas” and “Elf.” Not only are these films entertaining, but they can also be educational when it comes to dating and relationships. Here are seven seasonal movies that teach us something about romance.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — Be yourself.

When Rudolph tries to cover up his shiny red nose, he ends up acting and sounding strange. Still, Clarice, his reindeer love interest, tells Rudolph, “I think you’re cute!” When Rudolph’s fake nose falls off, revealing his blinding, red nose, he’s humiliated. But Clarice loves the real Rudolph even more. Everything works out in the end. After rescuing Clarice from a snow monster, Rudolph kisses her on the cheek under the mistletoe on Christmas Eve. When it comes to dating, don’t fake it! Look for someone who allows you to be totally yourself and loves you for it.

“Elf” — Don’t overcomplicate things.

Buddy the Elf, who lacks real-world dating experience, receives some sound advice from his younger brother, Michael. “Why don’t you ask her out on a date to eat food? Real food, not candy. And if she says yes, you’re in.” Sometimes we make dating more complicated than it needs to be. Try an old date-night standby such as buying her a bad cup of diner coffee and taking her to see Christmas lights. Also, a compliment such as, “You look miraculous!” is sure to turn her head.

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — Don’t be a grumpy recluse.

In this timeless holiday story by Dr. Seuss, the Grinch — a grouchy creature who hates Christmas — lives in a cave on Mount Crumpit with only his dog, Max, as a companion. He takes pleasure in criticizing others and destroying their joy (so, basically, an internet troll). While it’s unclear what the Grinch’s romantic possibilities might have been were he not “as prickly as a cactus,” it is clear that his social life greatly improved when he joined the Whos for Christmas dinner. Singles, take note — your chances of getting a date are slim to none if you’re living alone on Mount Crumpit.

“Miracle on 34th Street” — Believe in the other person.

After being burned by a past relationship, department store special events director Dorey Walker is determined not to trust again. That includes her boyfriend Bryan Bedford, whose proposal she flatly refuses. But when Bryan helps Dorey (and Kris Kringle) out of a jam, Dorey discovers that sometimes love means putting your faith in someone and choosing to believe the best. After coming to this realization, the couple marries in a small ceremony following the Christmas Eve midnight mass.

“A Christmas Carol” — Make relationships a priority.

A young Ebenezer Scrooge chooses furthering his career and making money over settling down with his fiancée, Belle. Later in his life, as the Ghost of Christmas Past shows him Belle with her happy family, Scrooge regrets his decision to pass up love to satisfy his ambition. Scrooge also sees how in his pursuit of wealth he has neglected his relationships with his nephew, Fred, and his employee, Bob Cratchit. Dickens’ famous novel-turned-movie (the Muppet version is my personal favorite) is a great reminder to cherish all the relationships in our lives and make them a priority.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” — Have some fun.

When young adult George Bailey is reunited with a former classmate, Mary Hatch, he leads her on a moonlit walk and the two sing an off-key rendition of “Buffalo Gals” together. Mary makes a secret wish and George asks her what she wished for. When she refuses to tell him, he says, “Do you want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. I’ll give you the moon, Mary!” Intentionality in relationships is great, but laughter and fun take the pressure off and make hard times easier. Look for the humor when you’re together, and don’t be afraid to be goofy once in a while.

“White Christmas” — Strive for clear communication.

When singers Bob Wallace and Phil Davis join sister act Betty and Judy Haynes to perform a show in rural Vermont, Bob and Betty seem to be on the road to romance. That is until a nosy housekeeper at the inn overhears half a phone conversation and believes Bob is doing something shady. She relays the info to Betty, who immediately leaves the show to go solo in New York

When Bob (who is clueless) comes after her, she’s colder than a North Pole blizzard. Later, Betty finds out she misunderstood the situation and Bob is actually doing something generous for an old friend. Betty returns to perform in the show, and she and Bob become engaged under an enchanting snowfall. Don’t be like Betty. Save yourself time and emotional energy by addressing conflict directly and communicating clearly — preferably before you run off to New York.


While the romance depicted in movies may not always be realistic, each of these seven films offers a nugget of relational wisdom. When it comes to romantic relationships, be yourself, keep it simple, communicate clearly and have fun. And whatever you do, do not live alone in a cave on Mount Crumpit!

Copyright 2020 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Suzanne Gosselin
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Multnomah University with a degree in journalism and biblical theology. She lives in California with her husband, Kevin, and her four young children: Josiah, Sadie, Amelia and Jackson. When she’s not hanging out with her kids, Suzanne loves a good cup of coffee, conversation with friends, musical theater and a trip to the beautiful California coast.

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