Jingling All the Way: Using Generative AI to Create the Next Christmas Classic

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Christmas is coming, which means it’s time for the latest wave of Hallmark Christmas movies! Or are Netflix Christmas movies the cool thing these days? Hmmm…

In any case, every holiday season, there’s a flood of Christmas content both old and new, from classics like Rudolph and Frosty to more modern stories like Last Christmas. (Need we mention everyone’s favorite British Prime Minister dancing through Downing Street to Jump for my Love?)

Companies also join the festive mood by going crazy with holiday content like posts and specials. While viewers enjoy such content, behind the scenes, it’s a different story for sales and marketing: Christmas ideas quickly go stale, and creator’s block lurks just around the corner. 

Fortunately, with the help of generative artificial intelligence, this year might be different (and here’s why we feel generative AI deserves a special thanks). 

Using generative AI, companies can speed up the holiday sprint by creating Christmas-themed content in a few clicks. More importantly, generative AI helps content creators get over writer’s block. All it takes is a brief exchange with ChatGPT to get new ideas flowing. 

With that in mind, we’re going to tap into the creative power of ChatGPT. To enjoy the Christmas spirit, we’ll play around with the idea of filmmaking, scriptwriting, and creating our own instant Christmas Classic.

Now let’s get rolling!

When Christmas can be a little too much 

Any time you start to chat with generative AI, it’s good practice to help set the stage. You can do this by adding context yourself or asking relatively open questions.

For instance, we began by asking a straightforward question, “Which Christmas movies are overplayed?” 

This achieves two goals: (1) It gets you and ChatGPT on the same page; (2) It will help you steer clear of cliches. 

According to ChatGPT, here are the top 5 Christmas movies that are shown too much. 

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Admittedly, this is among the first true Christmas Classics, right up there with Miracle on 34th Street. And while you’re sure to find reruns of it anytime of the year somewhere on television, it’s hard to argue against the fact the film is overplayed, especially during Christmas. 

Still, this beloved classic does contain a beautiful Christmas message that has since spread throughout countless movies. All you need to do is come up with a fresh take on how each person’s existence makes a profound difference, and you might have a masterpiece on your hands.

A Christmas Carol

Fun fact: Did you know that Charles Dickens nearly went bankrupt publishing this iconic novel? The high production costs (at one point, copies of the book were bound in red cloth and had gilt-edged pages) and the fact he paid the costs himself resulted in extremely reduced profits.

Luckily, Dickens was able to capitalize on the success of this tale and publish several short stories in later years for greater profits.

And by now, who hasn’t seen this tale of redemption where Scrooge learns not to be such a scrooge (pun intended). But be that as it may, it does deserve a spot on the list of not just overshown but overmade Christmas films. If you don’t believe us, just visit the “Adaptations of A Christmas Carol” Wikipedia page (and don’t blame us if you fall down the rabbit hole). 

Home Alone

100% agreed. 

Sure, Home Alone is an amusing, light-hearted classic filled with hijinks that takes place during Christmas. But there are times in December when it feels like Kevin McCallister’s face is everywhere on TV. 

And while the ending can make you feel warm and fuzzy, need we mention the sheer number of laws broken?

Elf (2003)

Elf is one of those films that people seem to either love or hate. 

For some, it’s a tale of familial bonds and holiday cheer. For others, they can’t stand the off-the-charts levels of cringe (e.g. maple syrup with spaghetti, eating gum off the metro handrail).

Whatever your preference, you have to admit it is one of the most shown Christmas reruns.

The Polar Express (2004)

The Polar Express is another movie that ChatGPT considers overshown. But is it? 

The Polar Express was only the 17th most-watched Christmas movie in the US last year, with 62% of views, compared to Home Alone scoring 87%. In fact, many Christmas cartoons like the Grinch or Charlie Brown rank higher in terms of the number of times shown. This begs the question of whether a short 25-minute cartoon classifies as a film or not.

This was an example response from generative AI. Such mini-conversations help you get warmed up and contextualized for your topic, making it easier for you to brainstorm and come up with new ideas, as well as tropes to avoid. 

But we’ve just scratched the surface of possibilities. A couple more minutes of chatting with generative AI can nudge you in the right direction.

For instance, we might shift away from the negative and more towards the positive by asking ChatGPT another question: “What are the top 5 Christmas cartoons you would recommend watching?”

Top 5 Christmas cartoons

According to ChatGPT, the top 5 Christmas cartoons are old classics, with the majority released in the 1960s. Luckily for us, nostalgia is all the rage these days, which means there’s less chance of us seeming out of date.

If you’re curious, this is what ChatGPT would recommend watching:

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) 
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) 
  • Frosty the Snowman (1969)
  • The Polar Express (2004) 

These cartoons are delightful for everyone young and old. And aside from The Polar Express, the music from these cartoons are frequently played over the radio or in cafes and shopping malls (possibly too often).

Now let’s imagine you want to target recommendations for a specific audience like Gen Z. While the previous top-5 are good for general audiences, results tend to be better when attempts are made to target more niche viewers.

With that in mind, here are 5 cartoons that AI would recommend for Gen Z:

  • Arthur Christmas (2011)
  • The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
  • Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017) 
  • Klaus (2019) 
  • Trolls Holiday (2017) 

All of these cartoons are recent enough to resonate well with modern viewers. Fusing classic themes with contemporary stories and characters can be a perfect strategy to produce a new Christmas movie.

But before you start outlining the plot, you should quickly go over the essentials of a Christmas movie. 

Christmas film must-haves

When asked about the essentials, ChatGPT claimed that every movie is different and doesn’t necessarily need the same elements. While true, there are many components that help give a film the feeling of being a Christmas movie. 

Festive setting

There’s no better way to communicate the idea of Christmas than through the setting.

Can you imagine Christmas without decorated trees, sparkling lights, sidewalks blanketed in snow, and jovial people dressed like Santa or elves? Not only does it seem depressing, but Christmas without such imagery just doesn’t feel like Christmas.

The same is true for your viewers. You need to make sure they see snow, Santa, and other holiday motifs.

Themes of love, kindness, and family

The vast majority of Christmas movies are all about love and kindness, no matter the form they take. 

Imagine Love Actually. It seemingly contains every type of love. And by the end of the film, nearly every couple has a happy ending, or at least a sense of satisfaction.

Redemption or transformation

How can we show a conflict in a story with the central message of love and kindness? 

Easy. Make the protagonist a grouch or negative-minded person and open their eyes to the good in the world. If a character like Scrooge can undergo a personal transformation, your character can do it too. After all, we did see the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes.

Magical elements

Christmas is all about magic, so don’t forget to add some to your story, as the creators of Frosty the Snowman or Klaus did. Or unleash its full power like in The Polar Express. Even the Grinch gained a moment of super-strength.

The choice is up to you.

Songs and music

Light, festive music is a must for any Christmas movie. Even if you don’t plan to shoot a musical, appropriate tunes build positive vibes and set the right mood.

However, you might have to watch out for how many times you decide to play Mariah Carey.

Feel-good endings

A true Christmas movie should never have a 100% sad ending. Even if a film has its tearful moments, like Last Christmas with Emilia Clark, it should still wrap up the story with a feel-good and heartwarming ending that leaves viewers with a sense of hope, joy, and warmth.

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

We couldn’t help asking ChatGPT this famous question to settle the debate of the century: “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?” 

While Jake Peralta from Brooklyn 99 thinks that it’s not only a Christmas movie but the greatest one ever made, Bruce Willis doesn’t think so (interestingly, John McTiernan – Die Hard’s director – believes it qualifies). So naturally, we asked ChatGPT to be our judge. 

And this is ChatGPT’s final answer…

Our thoughts? It’s a very diplomatic answer, but we were after a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ And after a few clarifying questions, ChatGPT gave up and admitted that Die Hard could certainly be considered a Christmas movie. 

ChatGPT as a scriptwriter

The easiest way to use AI in marketing and content creation is to feed your idea to ChatGPT and prompt ChatGPT to develop it further. We’ll do exactly this: ask ChatGPT to write a logline for a movie titled How ChatGPT Saved Christmas

The first variant it came up with sounds pretty good:

“When Santa’s workshop faces a holiday crisis with a computer glitch threatening Christmas deliveries, ChatGPT, the AI language model, teams up with a tech-savvy elf to navigate a digital adventure, fix the glitch, and save Christmas before sunrise.”

Modern, Christmas-y, and engaging. The elf can handle the decision-making and take over all the visuals, while ChatGPT will be the brain, the voice, and the comic relief. 

But now we need to build out the plot. 

Asked for more details, ChatGPT suggested a scenario where Santa’s computer system crashed right on Christmas Eve, jeopardizing gift deliveries, and the North Pole turned to ChatGPT for help. 

AI discovered a glitch in the algorithm that wreaked havoc and helped the tech-savvy elf, Jingle, solve it step by step. One of the problems was a ‘maze of festive emojis,’ which they fixed with a mischievous yet lovable virtual snowman. In the end, ChatGPT and Elf saved Christmas and became fast friends. 

Not bad, but we direly need more details: What are the specific challenges that Jingle and AI have to overcome to fix the glitch? Do they physically ‘jump’ into the system like in Wreck-It Ralph, or does Jingle just sit in front of the computer? Where does the virtual snowman come from? 

We asked ChatGPT to clarify, but its answers fell short. For example, it just could not explain where the snowman emerged from. 

But this is where human input can add the finishing touch. You can step in and brainstorm the answers with generative AI for a little longer. For instance, you might create a side character with dark magic who might seem cold on the outside yet turns out to be warm on the inside… (Why do I feel like I just added Jack Frost?) 

Recruit generative AI as your witty assistant and content creator

How ChatGPT Saved Christmas might become a box-office hit this Christmas season, or it might simply provide a nudge of inspiration that takes you in a completely different direction. 

Wherever you work—in the movie industry or in sales, in content creation or marketing—the role of generative AI is the same. It’s a fantastic tool for jumpstarting your creativity and beating writer’s block, no matter what you’re writing: scripts, fiction, or corporate newsletters and emails. 

Generative AI sales software like AiSDR excels at creating sales content. Not only does it manage your sales outreach from end to end, but it will help you free time to focus on strategic matters. 

Book a demo to find out how. 

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