It’s a film about suicide and poverty that spends half of it’s run-time having nothing to do with Christmas; but It’s a Wonderful Life may just be one of the greatest Christmas films ever made.This 1946 film tells the story of George Bailey (James Stewart), a man who after spending his life sacrificing for others contemplates suicide, and an angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) sent to convince him otherwise by showing him what the world would be like if he had never been born. For as long as I can remember, my dad has sat the family down each Christmas and forced us to watch this film. For many years, I dreaded the tradition. But recently, I’ve learned to see past the long run-time and the sexist undertones (I never said it was a perfect film) to appreciate the core message.

What unfolds is an uplifting tale that reminds us during the holiday season that just because it’s the season of giving doesn’t mean that the holidays have to be about material objects. Because after all, “no man is a failure who has friends.” And now, everytime I hear a Christmas bell ring, I smile because I know an angel has just gotten their wings.

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