I had a serious epiphany while watching 'Elf' (for the billionth time)
I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!
Okay, well, I’m not actually in love, like, with a person, but I am in love with Elf, one of the best Christmas movies of all eternity. Over the years, Elf has become a revered holiday tradition in many households, including my own. After watching this movie every Christmas season for the past eleven years, I, like many others, am able to almost quote the movie in it’s entirety, and can proudly recite The Code of the Elves by heart.
But the most recent time I watched it with the family, I had an epiphany as Buddy and the Elf children recited the code. This epiphany hit me so hard that I took a big swig of my cocoa and promptly began to choke on the molten chocolate – I sputtered and coughed, realizing that the code was more than some set of guidelines on how to be a good elf. There’s actually a lot of meaning and a lot of heart that can carry with us through the holiday season and beyond. It only took me eleven years to catch on. Typical. Anyway, on to the code!
Here’s what the code says, and why I took it to heart:
“Treat every day like Christmas.” Over the years, Christmas has become a race against time to find the perfect gift, a slew of forced family get-togethers, and an enormous source of stress. But if you strip away the copious amounts of stress and the consumerism that surrounds it, Christmas is a holiday that is founded upon the premise of giving. It is a celebration of what we can do for one another, without any expectation of receiving something in return, a season of giving that is meant to bring people together.
Why do you think Buddy was such a happy guy? Because, to him, every day was Christmas. Even when he left the North Pole on his journey to meet his dad, Buddy’s attitude and giving nature had such a positive impact on everything and everyone he came across. . . OK, minus the raccoon. But think of the toy store in Gimbel’s. Emily. Jovie. Michael. Walter. New York City itself!
Imagine if we treated every day like Christmas. Imagine if nobody ever acted like a cotton-headed ninnymuggins. Imagine if, every day, each and every one of us made an effort to be a positive influence to those around us. Remember Buddy’s iconic line, “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.” Think of the good you could do with something as simple as a smile.
The world would be a much kinder place, don’t you think?
“There’s room for everyone on the nice list.” Let’s consult the film for this one. Walter Hobbs. Buddy’s biological father. He’s kind of a jerk. . . I mean he tells a nun that he’s taking books away from children. You see my point.
But by the end of the movie, Walter has changed. His family becomes his highest priority, instead of his work. He becomes closer to Michael and accepts Buddy as his son, and expresses his love for both of them. He even joins in singing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” with the crowd gathered in Central Park, giving the Clausometer the last boost of energy it needed to power Santa’s sleigh.
We all make mistakes, just like Walter, but that doesn’t mean that we’re bad people. We are not defined by our mistakes. They’re a part of us, yes. But the beautiful thing about being human is that we have the ability to learn from our past mistakes and grow from them, too. It’s totally within your power to change for the better. If you want to get off the naughty list, you can! There’s room for everyone on the nice list.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Christmas cheer is spread quite literally at the end of the movie when Jovie starts caroling in the middle of Central Park. Her song brought people together, so much so that the crowd actually began to sing with her. Their combined efforts gave Santa’s sleigh the power it needed to escape from the straight up terrifying Central Park Rangers. They saved Christmas, simply by coming together and helping one another reach a common goal.
This one seems pretty literal, so how is this applicable to the non-Christmas days? It’s encouragement for you to share your skills. Each and every one of us has special talents that we can use to make a difference, to do good. Some of us are great speakers, healers, and listeners. Some are excellent writers, amazing singers. Regardless of what it is, if you have a skill or something you’re passionate about, and you use that talent to make a positive impact on the world, you’re “singing loud for all to hear.” You’re spreading goodness and joy. When people come together, help each other, and support one another, that’s when the magic happens.
Elf is more than just another Christmas movie. It’s hilarious and witty and the pure essence of awesome. It’s more than candy cane forests and swirly, twirly gumdrops. Elf is a source of encouragement. It’s about spreading the good, sharing our gifts and reminding us all we’re not defined by our past mistakes. So, like I said, it’s the pure essence of awesome.