I can remember several important things about Christmas from when I was kid, my grandma's house on Christmas eve, Mom making us breakfast Christmas morning and all the adults watching It's a Wonderful Life, or at least mentioning it at some point on or around Christmas. The first two I absolutely enjoyed as a kid, but when it come the IAWL I literally saw black and white, and as kid black and white sucked and so did old movies! Everyone would crowd around and watch it... some would laugh, some would cry, and at times they'd laugh and cry. I didn't get it and I though Jimmy Stewart sucked... until I was in high school.
In high school I was a pretty angry, sad and introspective. I was worried about things like whether or not I would find my soul mate, how much I hated school, was I going to graduate high school and if I did what the hell was I going to do? I mean sure I had ideas of being a rock star like the late Kurt Cobain, like millions of other teens during that time, I loved art, writing and comics so I thought about doing something w/ that, but I really had not idea what I was going to do? I remember sitting down w/ my mom and brother as a Junior on Christmas break and watching IAWL w/ a completely different perspective! This time I saw this guy who grows up and knows exactly what he wants out of life. He has this grand plan to be a city planner and travel the world. I didn't really know what I was going to do I just had this feeling of wanting to do something great... Something that would change the world for the better. George Bailey new what he wanted to do to change his world, but all the sudden he couldn't.
George is an every man... He does what he has to do and takes over he fathers Building and Loan putting his own dreams and aspirations on the back burner. I was lucky to grow up around a lot of great men in my life... guys who never made excuses or broke their promises. They maybe didn't always love what they did for a living or where searching to find the right fit, but they did what they had to. They took it one day at a time and didn't complain. This is what I love about George... he is conflicted throughout the film, but learns to make the best of the life that he has made for himself. He meets a girl and falls in love and she supports him no matter what, even when he's and asshole. He does what he does to honor his father, support his family and help people who need it. He stands up for the little guy as the little guy over the course of the film. I never got what every one else got about this film fully until that night sitting w/ my mom and brother, only a few days before Christmas.
Each year I watch this film w/ completely different eyes... I feel like different times in Georges life reflect in my own life, just like they do so many other peoples lives. I think back to what I was doing 7 or 8 years ago and having this dream of making a comic, but know real plan... Just this overwhelming feeling the live a dream. Life gets in the way, but you have to accept it and stay focused. I have been lucky enough, like George, to have the support of friends and family as I work towards my dreams. The thing w/ George is that he learns that it really doesn't matter what a man does, it's the the company he keeps doing it. AND what he does to help those around him. He actually gets to see what his world would be like if he were never born. He gets to see just how may lives he has touched throughout his life, and how many people love him. He loses his mind a little to learn this lesson, but in the end he sees that it is impossible to fail w/ so much love around him. I feel this more and more the older I get. It amazes me everyday how someone you don't really know may offer you a kind word or how a friend you haven't seen in awhile pops in right when you need them the most! People concern themselves w/ money and "things" but forget about family, friends and loved ones. George even forgets for a little while. But as long as you aren't a complete dick people will always love you, and even the if you are a complete dick there will always be those one or two people who just won't give up on you.
Okay, I won't jabber anymore. I hope that anyone who reads this will think of popping in It's a Wonderful Life to get in the spirit, but more than that I hope that you take the time help a friend or smile at a stranger... because being human is about being kind to the ones you love... BUT especially the ones you don't have to love. My grandma always refers to herself as "the friend to the friendless" if that doesn't clue you in to why we are here I don't know what will. Take care and happy holidays!