5 Public Relations Lessons From Classic Christmas Movies

It’s that time of year again; the air is cold, familiar yuletide songs play on a loop at shopping malls and every coffee shop has their signature version of the peppermint mocha latté. Christmas allows students to relax and enjoy life without the stress of exams, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t learn something about the field of public relations while watching Christmas classics with their friends and families.

1. “When you set a goal, stick to it the whole way through,” from “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Although the Grinch wasn’t the most outstanding citizen of Whoville until the end of the movie, that doesn’t mean he didn’t understand goal setting. From the minute he returned home from being humiliated by the Mayor at the Whos’ annual Whobilation ceremony, he completely commits to his devious plan of stealing all of the Whos’ Christmas presents. The Grinch understood the idea of being committed to a goal, which is something that public relations practitioners can take away from his story. Whether it is writing a radio spot or simply finishing studying for that final exam, PR students need to stay dedicated to their task at hand. So the next time you’re struggling to finish that news release, remember to act like the mean one himself.

2. “Look on the bright side,” from “Elf”

Buddy the Elf was the one of the most optimistic characters of all time. He was eager, enthusiastic and always thinking positive. Even when his dad was frustrated from his antics, or his family was judging him for eating maple syrup on his spaghetti, Buddy was never saddened by what other people thought of him and his ideas. Future public relations practitioners should look at Buddy as a role model. When things aren’t turning out they way they would like, they can’t be discouraged. They need to be like Buddy and look on the bright side of any situation. Although things might not go according to plan, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, or in Buddy’s case, maybe Santa’s sleigh.

3. “Always remember the important dates in people’s lives,” from “Frosty the Snowman”

Frosty’s signature catchphrase whenever he came to life was, “Happy Birthday!” Even though he was referring to his own birthday, that doesn’t mean that public relations students can’t learn something from it. When it comes to the people that have influence over your education or future career, make sure to keep track of the important dates in their lives: birthdays, anniversaries or even their kids’ birthdays. Knowing these dates makes you stand out by showing you care about those around you. The next time your professor’s or your boss’s birthday rolls around, make sure to copy Frosty and wish them well.

4. “Be persistent,” from “A Christmas Story”

Little Ralphie Parker knows better than anyone that persistence is key in getting what you really want. If he hadn’t been persistent, Ralphie may have never have got his Red Ryder BB Gun. Despite his mother’s protests, Ralphie kept his mind set on that gun. In the world of public relations, people are very; this is where persistence comes into play. Sometimes we need to remind people of their deadlines or how they’re making progress on a project. You can’t be nagging, but a gentle reminder shows that persistence pays, just like it did for Ralphie.

5. “Don’t be afraid to be different, even if others discourage you,” from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”

Rudolph is the prime example of this message. Although his glowing nose makes him unique from the other reindeer in the North Pole, he didn’t let his variance from the norm hold him back. He helped saved the day when there was low visibility from the snowstorm. A campaign idea or new tactic could be the same way for a public relations practitioner. Even if it’s rejected or ridiculed at first, an innovative or unique take on an existing one could help save the day in a crisis situation. Don’t take negative criticism to heart. Every public relations practitioner can be a Rudolph in the industry with a little bit of thought and research. Without Rudolph, the children wouldn’t have gotten their Christmas presents and without innovative public relations ideas, the world wouldn’t be the way it is now.

As you can see, Christmas movies are more than just mindless, children’s entertainment. They teach morals, ethics, and even public relations lessons. So the next time you turn on Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas, think about these lessons and enjoy your holiday!


Michelle Frye is a junior public relations and advertising double major with minors in marketing and theatre. She is a general body member of WUPRSSA and is also part of Red Brick Communications. Her future goals are to become an advertiser or public relations practitioner for the major theme park industry.

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