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6 Christmas Movies That Teach You How To Be A Better Business Leader

Enjoy a well-earned break this holiday season with these classic Christmas movies—you’ll also learn some important business lessons as you watch!

Fri Dec 15 2023

BusinessBecause
Ah, Christmas. Whether you celebrate it or not, it’s that time of year again to get into your googly-eyed Rudolph jumper, whip out the eggnog, and sit back in front of the TV with your wooly-socked feet kicked up. The only hard part now is deciding which movie to watch. 

Well, luckily for you, at Business Because we’ve been working even harder than Santa’s elves to bring you a list of the absolute top festive films for business students. Not only are they feel-good fun, you might be surprised to uncover that they also hold inspiring lessons in the world of business leadership too. 

So, what are they? And what can you learn? 

Here are our top six holiday picks:

Home Alone 

762241bf35d5dc3ac27dffdd204d43efcaff78d7.jpg Home Alone (1990). Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Alamy

You could be forgiven for thinking this is simply a cute kid’s series of (mis)adventures when his careless parents forget to take him on their Christmas break. But Home Alone is also the perfect lesson for business students about the importance of being prepared.

Just as any meeting or business trip requires prep, if his parents had spent time setting back-up alarm clocks, Kevin (the abandoned child) would have been on the plane to Paris with his family, soon to be enjoying his pain au chocolat with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Instead, due to chaotic prep, Kevin is abandoned at home, spending his days eating pizza with a dwindling budget, and fending off a pair of persistent would-be burglars.

There are secondary lessons that future business managers can take on board such as sitting in the same part of the plane as your team (if coach is good enough for them, it is for you too!). Also, however busy or senior you are, don’t forget what’s important at Christmas—your nearest and dearest—however annoying they are!


Miracle on 34th Street

1a4a45abfcc64ce1341eb13cdb99180de7c78363.jpg Miracle on 34th Street (1994). Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Alamy

What happens when the world abandons its imagination, refuses to believe in acts of integrity, and puts an end to all things creative? These are the lesser-known business insights that Miracle on 34th Street teaches eagle-eyed viewers.

In the 1994 version, when Richard Attenborough’s ‘Kris Kringle’ becomes a hit at the Cole’s Department Store, shop bosses can’t believe their luck. Customers are overjoyed with Kringle’s gentle nature and introspection, and, most importantly, sales skyrocket. 

His heartfelt actions don’t go unnoticed by Cole’s envious competitors, however, who devise a calculated plan to dethrone Kringle.

The film polarizes good and bad ways of doing business, emphasizing that honesty, kindness, creativity, and innovation is what succeeds in both the North Pole and the (equally icy) business realm. Yet, it underscores that all colleagues, not just Kris Kringle himself, must embrace this collective vision to reap true results in the frosty business landscape.


The Holiday 

97c75a9b400a3b3725d73915b439616d0db70dd4.jpg The Holiday (2006). Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures/Alamy

If the chemistry between Cameron Diaz and Jude Law isn’t enough to convince you to watch The Holiday this festive season, you’ll also find some valuable lessons that could help you have a new perspective on relationship building at business school. 

When Iris, played by Kate Winslet, leaves her picturesque cottage and comfort zone in the English countryside for a house swap that finds her in LA, she makes an unlikely connection with an elderly Hollywood screenwriter. He inspires her to become “the leading lady of her own life” and likewise, Iris empowers him to own his achievements. 

At business school and in your early career, you’ll meet people from all different walks of life whose experiences both professionally and personally will be just as transformative as the lessons you learn in the classroom. It’s important to open yourself up to new connections and get to know as many people in your cohort as possible because you never know the impact this could have on your mindset and career.  


Elf 

2ed68e6d46806b274a8f2e6c4edfa350d327339c.jpg Elf (2003). Photo Credit: (Alan Markfield/New Line Cinema/Shooting Star)/Alamy

Most may know it as a Christmas comedy classic, but Elf actually holds some important lessons for aspiring business magnates. (And it’s not just “don’t eat the yellow snow.”) 

After making the perilous 3500-mile journey from the North Pole to New York to rescue his long-lost father from Santa’s Naughty List, Buddy the Elf is faced with the crushing reality of corporate grind culture when his dad–Walter Hobbs, vice president of a publishing company–not only rejects his songful attempts at reconciliation, but banishes him from the vicinity of the Empire State Building. Luckily, love and Christmas cheer ultimately persevere as Buddy shows Walter that by always choosing work over family, he is missing out on many of life’s most special moments. 

So, no matter how tough the workload gets this season, always make time for the things that matter. Otherwise they may come back to haunt you (in the form of a six-foot elf).


Deck the Halls 

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Deck the Halls (2006). Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

While the phrase ‘Deck The Halls’ has been part of Christmas lore for as long as anyone can remember, this 2006 film saw more family feuds than festive boughs of holly as two neighbors battled to have the best lit house on the block.

Deck The Halls sees family dads Buddy Hall and Steve Finch (played by Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick) lose sight of the spirit of Christmas and nearly lose their families altogether as their decoration-fueled conflict consumes all.

While it’s perhaps not the best Christmas film on this list, there is a lesson to be learned here that you can apply in business and virtually all walks of life: don’t let your ego takeover and never lose sight of what’s important.


It’s a Wonderful Life

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It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Photo Credit: Frank Capra Film Company RKO/Alamy

One of the oldest and most iconic Christmas films, It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey whose business falls on hard times and wishes he’d never been born.

Enter Clarence the angel. Clarence takes George into a world where his wish is granted. Through this George learns that while his life hasn’t taken him to faraway places where he earned millions, his values-driven approach to business has seen him spread love, positivity, and hope to a small number of people who truly matter.

It’s a Wonderful Life also teaches us that starting small is no bad thing. You can build up a business and perhaps create more impact through a gradual rise to success with a loyal support system.

And remember the classic lesson of the movie: no man is a failure who has friends. 


Who knew Christmas movies had so much to teach us about business leadership? So if you want to make sure you earn yourself a spot on the Nice List this season, make sure to give these classics a watch–(just don’t take any notes from Santa on employee welfare).