3 Underrated Life Lessons from ‘Elf’

Every Christmas, I somehow, some way...find myself taking in another round of 'Elf'; after all, you leave your TV on long enough during December, it's bound to happen.

Although the movie isn't exactly my cup of tea, I'd be a cotton-headed ninny muggins if I said there weren't any truths tucked within the movie's many memorable moments.

So in the spirit of modern day parables, here are three underrated life lessons inspired by the movie worth eating up this holiday season.


Jovie: “It IS a crappy cup of coffee.”
Buddy: “No, it's the world's BEST cup of coffee.”

Believing the best isn’t always easy. I know for me, I’d rather ‘get real’ with what’s in front of me than entertain what’s outside of me. Yet, I also know, while honest assessment is certainly a fair practice, when it becomes boxed in by circumstances, opportunities to shine hope into them can be missed.

In the case of Buddy the Elf, his innocent ignorance, though awkward, actually opens the door for humility…

…humility for the coffee shop to step up to its potential…and humility for Jovie to believe it could happen.

Thus, I can appreciate how Buddy, though slightly delusional, speaks life into what could be, rather than reduce an entire identity to one subpar sip.

Bottom line: While there’s a time to be honest, a time to be transparent, there’s never a time to doubt, even if the best is out of sight, out of mind.


Buddy: Deb, you have such a pretty face, you should be on a Christmas card.”

Like point #1, showing encouragement isn’t always easy either.

Political incorrectness...missing the punch-line…poor delivery mechanics…futile grudges…

…I mean…it’s crazy the excuses we tolerate all for the sake of not looking like a moron.

But with Buddy, not only do you find a model of self-security, but you also see what happens when driven joy and childlike faith collide in a relational context.

So despite his lack of filter, Buddy ultimately reminds us it's better to encourage as a function of determined giving as opposed to convenient action.

Bottom line: If you have something good to say, don’t just say it…give it.



I’ve often wondered why so many wear their faith like a security blanket, only to ditch it when the ‘heat’ is turned up.

It’s like…we have no problem investing in eternal insurance…but also have no problem catering to indifference whenever the ‘rubber meets the road’.  

But truth is: when we ‘selah’ on simply Jesus…and the joy set before us, it makes perfect sense to get excited…and to share that enthusiasm with those around us.

Thus, it’s interesting how Buddy’s reaction here captures the true spirit of Christmas…in the sense it reminds us how we’re to celebrate God’s past, present, and future faithfulness.

For when we consider the fact Jesus is coming again, to once more redeem humanity from depravity, we ultimately set ourselves up to trust Christ in a way that fuels an eagerness for that coming.

Bottom line: Stand up, be proud…live your faith out loud.

‘Cause seriously…we have the privilege of knowing the King of Kings & Lord of Lords.

How freakin’ awesome is that?

Photo creds: BuzzFeed, The Odyssey Online

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