3 Things I Learn Every Year Watching It’s A Wonderful Life

If you haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life by now, really, what are you doing with your time? Stop reading this article and watch it right now. It’s a Christmas classic and follows a man named George Bailey, who lives in the fictional town of Bedford Falls. George’s only dream has been to get out of dodge, travel the world, and build beautiful things as an architect. But when his father passes away, he’s stuck taking care of the family business, the Bailey’s Building and Loan. George never makes it out of Bedford Falls and one night he decides to end his life by jumping off a bridge. When he’s about to jump, someone else plunges in and George rescues them. It turns out, it was his guardian angel, Clarence, who was sent down from heaven to show George Bailey the meaning of life.

I learn something new about myself every year thanks to George Bailey. Last year I watched this film in Orlando, Florida at my parents’ house and this year I’ll be watching in Wales; after I packed up all my things and moved abroad to fulfil my dreams of working in the animation industry in the UK. I’m not the same person I was a year ago and It’s a Wonderful Life reminds me of that; how much I’ve grown and will continue growing when I’m reunited with George Bailey at the end of every year. As corny as it sounds, this film helps me appreciate my life thus far, my friends, family, and generally just existing on this beautifully flawed planet. It’s a Wonderful Life helps me revisit the past year, taking stock on my life, and what makes me happy. If I’ve somehow lost my way during the year or have forgotten to be grateful, which happens way more often than I’d like, George Bailey helps put things back into perspective for me.

Some more key elements I take away from It’s a Wonderful Life:

We all end up where we’re supposed to be in the end. You might not realise it now, but we all end up where we’re supposed to. When I was younger, I never thought I’d be sitting here, in my quaint little house in Cardiff, but I know this is where I’m meant to be at this moment. Just like George, who tries to leave Bedford Falls time and time again only to have his plans thwarted, in the end he realised he was supposed to stay, to help out his community because without him, and as Clarence shows us, Bedford Falls would’ve crumbled.

“No man is a failure who has friends.” It’s a Wonderful Life shows me the importance of community and how your actions impact others around you. Also, every year, that fact alone teaches me how everyone has a story. From your 80-year-old neighbour, local post-man, to your co-worker you sometimes talk to in the kitchen as you fill up another cuppa; you don’t know where someone has come from, or how your actions will impact their lives.

Dream big, no matter what anyone says. Despite George’s dreams not coming true, he never really gave up. It’s still important to be motivated and to have goals and aspirations; obviously some might happen, and some might not, but the goal is to live and try to make the best out of any situation that might come your way.

Do you learn anything new about yourself watching It’s a Wonderful Life? What are your favourite Christmas films?


Words By Nia Alavezos – 14/12/19

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Illustration with Poan Pan

Illustration with Poan Pan

Illustrator Poan Pan tells us about how his atmospheric and light-hearted works, which focus on every day life and social awkwardness.

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