5 Christmas films with a mental health message

Kathryn Wheeler
By Kathryn Wheeler,
updated on Dec 23, 2020

5 Christmas films with a mental health message

We round-up seasonal screen warmers, that teach us a thing or two about wellbeing, relationships, community, and acceptance

‘Tis the season to get cosy in front of a good film, and luckily there are plenty to choose from. We know that Christmas films tend to have a feel-good element to them, but have you ever stopped to think about what they can teach us about mental health and wellbeing?

Here, we round-up some of our favourite Christmas films, and take a look at the things that they can teach us about mental health, relationships, and acceptance.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

For those who find stories exploring suicidal ideation distressing, be aware that this is a central theme in this film.

In this classic movie, a man loses everything and contemplates ending his life, before an angel appears to show him how he has touched the lives of others. It’s a Wonderful Life shows us that true joy runs deeper than material possessions, and that the connections that we have with others are what truly uplifts us.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

It’s a family-favourite that only gets better when returned to as an adult, with Jim Carrey excelling in the film inspired by the classic book by Dr Seuss. What begins as a look at isolation and social rejection, blends into an uplifting comment on the power of friendship and acceptance.

3. The Holiday (2006)

That feeling of wanting to escape is something that a lot of us will be able to relate to this year, and it’s the opening motivation for the two main characters in The Holiday. When two women swap lives with each other for Christmas, they learn about what really makes them happy, discover lessons on self-esteem, sacrifice, and trust.

4. Arthur Christmas (2011)

In this heartwarming film – perfect for the whole family – Santa’s clumsy son, Arthur, sets out on a mission to deliver a forgotten present. For children and adults alike, Arthur Christmas is a wholesome tale about the power of self-belief and acceptance.

5. A Christmas Carol

This timeless tale still resonates with us today, and for good reason, as it captures lessons on generosity, friendship, love, and the huge importance of forgiving yourself and letting go of the past to move towards a brighter future. Whether you chose the 1999 version starring Patrick Stewart, or The Muppets Christmas Carol from 1992, delve into one of the greatest allegories around.

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