Business, Entrepreneurship, Strategy
December 9, 2021
3 “Christmas-ish” movies and what you can learn from them about entrepreneurship
3 “Christmas-ish” movies and what you can learn from them about entrepreneurship

By Candace Huntly

Who doesn’t love cozying up with snacks in front of a good Christmas movie??? OK… lots of people, but now that we’re in December, I give myself permission to watch Christmas content almost exclusively in my limited TV time. And I am not going to apologize to anyone about it.

What about those movies that divide fans? The ones that are Christmas-ish? (Or Christmas adjacent?) Not your traditional Christmas movie, but still holiday favourites for some. I have named three of my faves below. You can actually learn a lot about running a business from these three movies.

I am  not afraid to have an opinion so let’s look at these movies, what you can learn from them, and whether they are Christmas movies or not!

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Contrary to what many fans think, director Henry Selick says Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie. In between amazing music, this animated movie is about how Jack Skellington, leader of Halloween Town, wants to take over neighbouring Christmas Town. He really wants to play Santa. Christmas with Jack ends up being a total disaster even though he spends all his time preparing for it.

Lessons Learned: Like Jack, you shouldn’t try to be something you are not. If you do the work and build your brand as well as build a community of loyal followers, why would you change it up? Don’t get me wrong, change can be a good thing, but only if there is a need for change. For example, maybe your marketing strategy is just. Not. Working. Or perhaps your competitors seem to be pulling ahead of you because they have started using new technologies to find ways to make life easier for customers. When it comes down to it, any changes you make in your business should be well-thought out and strategic, not on a whim.

Verdict: I go back and forth on this one, but I am convinced this is a Halloween movie more than a Christmas movie. It’s always novel when someone dresses up as Santa or a Christmas tree in October. This movie is a Halloween movie dressed in a Christmas costume…


It was released late in the year, and it has a lot of snow. Frozen also has a talking snowman (a la Frosty) and a reindeer as a main character. Queen Elsa spends her time learning about herself and her own wintry magical powers. Once she discovers what she can do, disaster strikes before she figures out her powers’ true purpose.

Lessons Learned: As you are creating your brand, you need to come into your own powers, just like Queen Elsa. Sometimes it takes time because we can get so focused on what everyone else is doing around us and what we think other people want from us vs. what they actually want. I am not saying to lock yourself into a tower until you figure it out, but you do need to take time to experiment with your brand, test out what works and what doesn’t, and also make mistakes. You can learn a lot about yourself through mistakes and how you create solutions.

Verdict: The very nature of Queen Elsa’s powers mean that winter follows her during every season… So, I don’t think this is a Christmas movie… Winter themed? Yes. But why even limit ourselves to when we’re allowed to belt out some of the series’ best songs?

Die Hard

Perhaps the most controversial non-Christmas/Christmas movie, Die Hard has been dividing fans forever. Bruce Willis says it is not a Christmas movie, but screenwriter Steven E. Souza say it is. This action-packed movie is set at Christmas time and much of the action takes place at and around a corporate Christmas party on Christmas Eve.

Lessons Learned: So what does all of this have to do with running a business? Well, John McClane (Willis) was certainly not expecting to have to battle a terrorist when he was making his way to the party. Sometimes it can feel like we are just fighting battle after battle as business owners. Things also come up unexpectedly all the time. You need to be ready for anything in business. That means contingency planning for your biggest threats and maintaining consistent marketing strategies for brand visibility and consistent communication.

Verdict: I am not going to sit on the fence with this one and I am going to just say it. Die Hard IS a Christmas movie. If we can have holiday romcoms, why can’t we have holiday action movies!?

Side note: Who has a work party on Christmas Eve???

Honourable mention: Home Alone

Sure it’s set at Christmastime, but the fabricated Christmas party and grand Christmas décor are really the only things that make it Christmas… My verdict? Not a Christmas movie. What can you learn? Even if you are scared and you’re not sure what to do, you will be able to figure it out.

What are your favourite Christmas-ish movies? Do you agree with my opinions about these?

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