3 Life Lessons We Can Learn from Buddy the Elf

Buddy the Elf

I watched Elf last weekend and SOBBED LIKE THERE WAS NO TOMORROW at the end when Buddy the Elf saves Christmas. I’m talking tears were STREAMING DOWN MY FACE.

I’m a lot, I know.

Call me crazy, but we can learn a lot from this movie. Although I could write a post covering 20+ different things this movie teaches us, I’m going to stick to the top 3 things Buddy the Elf teaches us.

1. Be yourself. 

A lot of times, we’re afraid to be our true selves. We refuse to step out of our comfort zone because we’re embarrassed of who God made us to be. So, we pretend to be something we’re not.

We lack authenticity because we fear being judged or feeling like an outcast.

Buddy the Elf teaches us not to worry about what others think of us. Having been a human raised by elves, the life he was used to didn’t exactly make sense from a world’s perspective.

“[He] passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly-twirly gum drops, and then walked through the Lincoln Tunnel” to meet his dad in New York City.

Well, when he got there, he didn’t exactly…fit in. Buddy the Elf stuck out like a sore thumb…and people didn’t like it. They didn’t understand. I mean…not only did he wear mustard-colored tights and pointy elf shoes, the way he saw and interacted with the world was completely abnormal. 

But, what I love most about Buddy the Elf is that the characteristics and quirks he had that (at first) made others uncomfortable were the very same characteristics and quirks that ended up making a dramatic impact on the people of New York City.

If he was excited, he showed it. No shame. He hardly seemed phased by the response and feedback he got from others. He didn’t let their negativity keep him from being positive and he continued to look on the bright side and find joy in the little, simple things.

Being different is good.

It’s needed and necessary.

By going first and choosing to be authentic, even though he was alone in the fact, Buddy inspired others to do the same. He helped open a door others had shut long ago.

Would it be easier to give in and live in a way that’s accepted by the status quo? You bet. By a long shot.

But, Buddy the Elf changed the lives of those around him by remaining true to who he was, not by complying with the world’s standards.

And, if you ask me, that’s how we’ll best change lives, too.

2. Spreading cheer is life-changing and life-giving. 

One of the most famous lines from the movie is “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

This doesn’t only apply to Christmas, but life in general.

When Santa is stranded in Central Park and relying desperately on Christmas spirit to make his sleigh fly, Jovie recalls that simple statement and does something most people aren’t willing to do. She stands up in front of a crowd of strangers and starts singing.

At first, people just stare at her and she’s all alone. But then one person joins in, and then another. Then, people in bars and mailrooms and malls and offices join in. They all start singing, too. They couldn’t help it. Because it’s contagious.

There is joy to be found in letting our guard down every once and a while and doing what’s necessary in the moment. 

Good old fashioned cheer and gladness changes you from the inside out. It makes you walk a little differently.

Share it with others. They need it a lot more than you know. 

Buddy the Elf

3. It takes all of us working together to achieve a common goal.

When the crowd and people of New York City break into song, Walter Hobbs doesn’t sing. He just moves his lips to make it look like he’s singing and his son calls him out on it.

In the meantime, the Central Park Rangers are on Santa’s tail. They’re after him. His sleigh is dipping and dropping and bumping and hopping and things aren’t looking good for ol’ Saint Nick. As more voices join in on the chorus, his sleigh begins to rise. But something, or someone, is missing…

…and that someone was Walter Hobbs.

Michael: “Wait, you’re not singing.”

Walter: “Yes, I am.”

Michael: “No you’re not. You’re just moving your lips.”

Walter: “Michael, what’s the big deal?”

Michael: “DAD!!!!”

Walter: *singing* “SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN!!!!!!!”


Because everyone played their part, Santa’s sleigh began flying by Christmas spirit alone.

As Christians, we’re all called to work together and be the hands and feet of Christ. In doing so, because God is so cool like this, we get to do this by using the gifts and talents and passions God has given us. And, when we all join forces, we make an eternal difference in this world for God’s Kingdom.

When we don’t, others miss out AND we fail to reach our common goal.

But, when we all work together, when you play your part and I play mine, SANTA’S SLEIGH FLIES! 

So, play your part. Even when you don’t feel like it. Because your contribution makes a difference and we’re not complete without it. 

If you’ve never seen this movie, you really should watch it. We could (and should!) all learn a thing or two from Buddy the Elf.

Join the conversation!

Your email address will not be published.