Movie Review: It's a Wonderful Life

Pizza & Movie Night in Paris! It's how 100 of us watched It's a Wonderful Life for our first Home Is Fun party.  With full tummies and hearts warmed by the movie, we split up into age-appropriate discussion groups.  Download our question-guide to enjoy discussions chez vous (at your home).

The evening and subject were especially poignant as I learned of a friend’s returning bout with leukaemia. Is it a wonderful life? Yes, it still is...Like a diamond in the rough, it takes some digging to find the wonder. 

Enjoy a Classic American Movie
George Bailey dreams big. He’s getting out of tiny Bedford Falls to travel the world and build big things.  Yet circumstances keep him home running the Bailey Building & Loan and warding off scrooge-type Mr. Potter. On Christmas Eve, when the bank examiner is in town, George faces financial ruin and wishes he had never been born. You guessed it. His wish comes true, and he discovers how his life has touched so many others. It’s heart warming enough to even wish Mr. Potter a Merry Christmas!

Talk Deep yet Lightly

About Success: It’s too easy to say that loving George Bailey had life right and rich Mr. Potter was a failure. Success is somewhere in-between. We identified the more and the less positive qualities of the main characters (Download Likes & Dislikes) and noted that each has some of both. None of us snubbed Mr. Potter’s financial success, and we all loved George’s personal gains. "I guess it's good to learn to work smart and be liked."

About Dreams and Desires: Gotta love those Christmas wish lists: the latest fashion, video game… We coached the children in making two wish lists: for the gifts we can touch AND for those that last forever. (Download the Success-Building Christmas List.)

Here’s what kids shared:
- time alone with Dad (and Mom?!!!)
- enjoying friends
- being liked
- feeling important

About our Challenges: Practical parents replied, "Nice thought. How do I make that into a Christmas present?!" That’s why Home is Fun developed a slew of funky gift certificates to help make these intangible gifts something kids can hold, enjoy, and recognize as valuable. We tried it last year with our family and the kids wanted more!

Unpack the selection:
- the gift of fun: play time together, online (computer, video, Wii...) and off! (Read The Gift Kids Crave...Yet It Missed the List)
- the gift of intimacy:  give them a glimpse of your world (Read Mom, Dad What Do You Do All Day?)
- the gift of mutual respect:  clues to give each other a break
- the gift of independence:  offer a cooking lesson.
- the gift of excellence:  affirmation
- the gift of recognition:  sibling-free time with BOTH parents simultaneously

Recommended Buys

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1. On Thursday, July 16 2009, 17:50 by Denise

Feedback from our discussion groups:

- About Mr. Potter. "He's smart, but he misused his smartness. He's greedy (wants to own everything) and dishonest.
- About George: "He loved his family: he defended his dad, saved his brother, and sacrificed his dreams." "He was courageous."
"When he got stressed, he acted crazy!"

We encouraged the kids to make two Christmas lists: the tangible gifts that Mr. Potter could offer and the intangible ones, many of which characterize George. Here are a few:
- "Friends to keep forever."
- "More time with Dad."

2. On Thursday, July 16 2009, 18:28 by Denise

And some more feedback, this time from the discussion among parents:

Intangible gifts the adults treasured from their childhood:
- Trust
- Time
- Affection
- Understanding that choices have consequences
- Example of generous giving
- Sense of purpose
- Affirmation and being appreciated

One adult shared a regret:  there had not been enough sharing and discussion

In response to the question: When are my 'George Moments'?
- Be sensitive to hormones!
- Distractions inhibit 'George Moments'
- A time with God (Bible study, prayer, silence...) gets me thinking outside of myself and open to loving others.

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