Why family is important at Christmas? A lesson learned from the new Sainsbury’s film

Christmas stands out in the calendar for many different reasons. The end of the year is always a time of stock taking and reflection, on how the way the previous twelve months have gone and where we stand in that point in our lives in general.

It is also the main focal point in any given year when it comes to family matters and this is especially true for those with young children. The chance to take stock of what we have and realise how much we do have to feel grateful for is a wonderful thing that our face paced daily lives doesn’t often allow.

This is only one of the reasons that family is so important at Christmas and a fantastic way to see how it affects us all in different ways is to watch Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Day – a full length festive film which you can find here.

By now we are all used to the big retailers rolling out their expensive Christmas campaigns. Some of the best can actually really add to the whole experience, conjuring up moods and setting the scene for our own versions of the festivities.

This year Sainsbury’s has lifted the bar considerably higher by commissioning a full 45 minute feature film as the centre piece to its campaign. It is a radically different take on the annual approach to TV at this time of year, although a number of its pre-Christmas TV spots will be clips from the new documentary.

The director of The Last King of Scotland, Kevin Macdonald, was brought into the project with the aim of telling the story of Christmas Day in Britain through a collection of ‘crowd sourced’ footage provided by the public. With Hollywood legend Ridley Scot on production duties and an Oscar winning director in place, the results were sure to be something special.

Learning from others

There are lessons to be learnt from the film too and these lie at the heart of what Christmas itself is really all about.

The film took 14 months to make because there were more than 360 hours of footage submitted by 114 families located all over the UK for Macdonald to carefully go through.

The film will premiere at the Bafta cinema and be shown at other cinemas across the country.

From a small boy bouncing around a room as he sees his presents to old ladies dancing in Christmas hats, there is a wide and varied selection of scenes depicting how different people prepare for and enjoy their own version of Christmas.

The end of the film is a heart tugging sequence based around a family recording a Christmas message to send to their father who is serving in Afghanistan. The surprise is that he arrives home on an unexpected visit and as well as brining a tear to the eye it encapsulates the tagline of the whole campaign: “The moments that make Christmas special”.


So what lessons can really be learnt by watching how other people who you do not know and will never meet go about getting ready for the festive season? Well, the main one is really something that the spirit of Christmas is based on and that is we are all blessed in some ways and all of us have something to be thankful for.

It also reminds us that the things that we are lucky enough to have, not everyone gets to enjoy, and that as Christmas is a time of giving it is also a time where we should try and make sure other people are able to get some Christmas cheer for themselves too, no matter what their situation.