Reelly Appreciative

So it's that time of year when holiday movies are showing in heavy rotation. Nothing like a good, sappy holiday movie to get us in that Christmas spirit, right? I'll admit, I'm a sucker for sappy. (I cried during Toy Story--all of them.) I love watching a holiday movie that makes me reflect and really appreciate life. Especially during this time of year, many people are vulnerable to depressed or poor mood triggered by loss, disappointment, and/or stress. Holiday movies that speak to our lives in a meaningful way can be both entertaining and therapeutic. Below I've listed three very popular holiday movies that get me in that self-reflective mood. Read on and I'll tell you why.

 It's a Wonderful Life

{image: drafthouse}

George Bailey had dreams to travel the world but life got in the way. Once he saw what the world was like without him, he realized his life was more meaningful than he thought. The message: You are important and significant, and others are blessed to cross your path. I love how supportive Mary Bailey was.  What a true example of making it work. She didn't complain about not having, she just went ahead and turned that decrepit house into a home. How wonderful. I think that's something we can all do when we're in a slump and feeling ungrateful--we all have those moments don't we? There are many ways to redecorate and shake things up a bit  when we we're feeling less than appreciative. Here are a few:

1. Put meaningful pictures on the wall. The operative word is meaningful. Just hanging up random pictures for the sake of hanging them just says 'blah.' Pictures with significance can help us remember all that's important. Yeah, you may remember that last family vacation, but there's something about recalling it visually. It can put a little smile on your face when you really don't feel like smiling. There's much room for creativity when hanging pictures. You can use the "I-meant-it-to-show" masking tape, go the more traditional route with frames, or push things a bit by using over-the-top ornate frames for casual photos--I like that.

{images clockwise: Alexander Van Berge| blackeiffel| bodie & fou}

2. Do a little redecorating. So what's up with that redecorating project you've been meaning to do for months?  I've been planning to put up wallpaper in my closet since forever.  Seeing Mary Bailey put up that wallpaper in her decaying house kind of gets me in the mood.  I'd like to do something like this.

{images left, right: apartmenttherapy|domino magazine via flickr}

3. Re-organize. Instead of going out and making a large purchase, organize your closet or vanity and... voila! Those endorphins will kick in, and you'll feel like you bought something new. You can even re-purpose  furniture  for a simple and quick pick-me-up.  Try one of these looks.

{images clockwise: a house in the hills|domino mag via flickr|dying of cute}


{image: chicago tribune}

This one gets me every time.  Of all the versions of A Christmas Carol, the one with Albert Finney is my favorite.  He has a way of making you feel really sorry for him. The message: it's better to give than to receive. AND it's not to late to make a change for the better. This movie gets me thinking about all the ways I can give of myself a little more. Here's what I've been thinking:

1. Customize your gifts. Just a little.  Many of us (like myself) have a tendency to wait until the last minute to wrap gifts. By the time we get to it, we're  in a rush and neglect to add those thoughtful touches to our wrapping. So before you slap on that big ready-made bow you bought in a pack at the dollar store, take a look at these.

{images clockwise: anthro gift wrap|anthro velvet ribbon|etsy fabric gift wrap|etsy recycled gift wrap}

2. Let your kids show off.  If you're like me, you probably collect tons of children's art that just sit around until it's time to throw them out. How about sifting through, and hanging up the ones you adore? Treat it like  "serious" art and frame it. Or, just hang it up more casually without one. Either way the kids love it. If you don't have children, you can display artwork or some accomplishment that's important to one or more of your loved ones. They too will feel good every time they see their masterpiece hanging up. Here are some cute and fun displays. I especially like the framed wallpaper.

{images clockwise: domino via style redux|grahm brown framed wallpaper| ikeafamily}

3. Get warm. I love snuggling up with loved ones, drinking hot chocolate, and watching a really good movie this time of year. Don't you? What better way to do that than with a warm cuddly blanket and cute mugs. Here are some that caught my eye:

{images top, right, left: baller house|anthro mugs|houzz}

Family Man

{image: roadshow entertainment}

Jack Campbell thought he had all he needed until he saw what his life was like if he'd made a different choice.  The message: what we think we need and what we really need may not be the same things. Some would love to know what their life would've been like had they made another choice. Others are okay with their choices. Either way, the movie really gets me thinking about my life choices, and how I can improve my decision-making. You too? Making good choices takes self-reflection and an understanding of ourselves, and what is best for us. Here are some tools that can help us do just that:

1. Write it down--20th century style. Let's face it, writing with ink is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. But I still like the idea of writing down my thoughts in a journal. It  serves as a tangible source of inspiration. And there's just something so romantic about writing thoughts and feelings on paper. Here are some lovely journals you might want to write in. The first and last are themed to help direct your thoughts a little.

{images: paper source1|paper source2|papersource3}

2. Let's get spiritual. We may not have the same beliefs, but we can all nurture our heart and soul. How about making a space in your home to do just that? This is a major way to bring some clarity to your choices, goals, and goes a long way when it comes to feeling a sense of peace and happiness. Take a look at these little nooks.

{images left to right: collectingforfourdreamhome|insider|photobucket}

3. Create a mood board.  I know, that's what Pinterest, Flickr, and all the other virtual sharing sites are for. But there is something about having a tangible mood board that you can reach out and touch, or at least walk past in your home every day. If you can't afford that fabulous couch just yet, or need to see those words of wisdom to get you through, put it on your mood board. It'll make you feel good, and that much desired couch will add visual flair to your home without it even being there.

{images clockwise: mr. kate|pinterest|lonnymag}

 So enough about my top holiday movies. What are your must-see movies this time of year? Whatever they are, be sure to find some peace and joy. And have a wonderful Christmas and holiday!