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Movie Quote Monday – Christmas Vacation


Clark: Ellen! I want to have Christmas here in our house. It means a lot to me. All my life I’ve wanted to have a big family Christmas.
Ellen: It’s just that I know how you build things up in your mind, Sparky. You set standards that no family event can ever live up to.
Clark: When have I ever done that?

One of the things I loved as a kid was big family Christmases. We had Christmas Eve with my Mom’s side at our house, and at my grandparent’s house, there was always a huge gathering of family from my Dad’s side the weekend before or after. At times I’ve really mourned the loss of those. But in each case, the nuclear family switched at some point, from grandma and grandpa with their kids and grandchildren, to the new families being made. The grandkids were grown and having kids of their own, with their own time constraints and needs. Their own traditions. 

For me, as a single person without kids, it’s a little different. I don’t really have a family tradition anymore, because it’s just me. And that can be a little sad sometimes – and in part it’s that loss of tradition that I’ve grieved for. But then I’m kind of a hermit, so mostly it’s all good. I get to go somewhere else, watch some presents get opened, eat, and then go home to my blessed quiet. But I do miss the excitement of seeing my extended family on those big family Christmases. And in my heart, that’s the image I cling to of what Christmas should be.

If you’ve ever seen Christmas Vacation, then you know that Clark’s hopes and dreams of what the holiday should be, well, they don’t pan out. His plans all go wrong, burn down, and pile up, one on top of the other, like the growing heap of ruined stuff he has to keep tossing out to the curb. Poor Clark.

But don’t worry about him, because if he’s anything, it’s hopeful. Maybe it does all fall down around his head, but in the end, so what? Maybe it’s not about what we want to get, but what we do get. Making the most out of that. No, making the best out of that.

Believing the best. Even when Christmas doesn’t deliver what we dreamed it would.

 If Clark taught me anything, that would be it.

Merry Christmas, Sparky.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I remember all of the best stuff about Christmas. I loved coming to your house after the Robinson thing. As a kid I loved the family reunion w/ nannie’s side of the family but as I got older I grew to resent and dislike it and now that we don’t do it…I sort of wish that my youngest batch of kids would get to experience it the way I did.

    I think that in my mind, I am always trying so hard to make Christmas magical for my kids, like it seemed, to me, that mine were. Because of this, I drive everyone crazy. we MUST WATCH THESE MOVIES, WE MUST SEE LIGHTS, WE MUST DO THIS EFFING TREE TOGETHER AND LIKE IT. I’m a Christmas nazi and most years I miss the point and find that the holiday falls short for me. Hopefully,though, some good memories are being made for the kids.

    Also, I was always jealous because you guys got to stay up til midnight and open your gifts and we never did. haha

    December 1, 2014
    • That’s what I miss most, I think, is the magic. It was exciting to all get together. It was exciting to give gifts and see that people liked them. Or pretended to like them, haha. I so looked forward to Christmas Eve! And that’s gone now – that anticipation for that special activity.

      I think your kids will look back on everything you do so fondly. The Christmas nazi stuff will be brought up year after year, with laughter and jokes, and much happiness. Just don’t make yourself so crazy that you can’t enjoy it for yourself now. 🙂

      December 1, 2014
  2. Merry Christmas, Michelle!

    When I lost my grandparents, in a way, I lost these family traditions too. Because the family shrunk, we started doing things only in a token manner, without the fervour and enthusiasm that my grandmother used to bring, and I really miss that. But you’re right, things change, we cannot cling to how it used to be, but in fact embrace what is, and make the best out of it 🙂

    Thanks for the positive message!

    December 2, 2014
    • Hey lady, I was just thinking about you yesterday and hoping things were well with you. I hope you have a joyful holiday season!

      That definitely happens in lots of families, when one person mostly drives the motivation for gatherings and cheer. And sometimes others just don’t have the knack for planning the big get-togethers.

      I was thinking that I just need to start my own for-me traditions! Just a little something I do for my home or to treat myself. It doesn’t help that I work in retail, so that sucks some of the joy out of holidays and having to work so many too. But there are things I can do, and it’s my state of mind, the way I think of it that I need to adjust. I can be kind of negative.

      December 2, 2014
      • Things are quite well with me, thanks! 🙂

        Indeed, you should start some for-me traditions! One of my friends has this concept of Saturday being her day. She refuses to even look at work, goes out by herself to a new cafe every week and spends a couple of hours reading a book or so. You can start something like this for weekends (do you get weekends off?), or for holidays! Maybe bake something you really enjoy, for yourself; anything is possible, really.

        December 2, 2014
        • I don’t have consistent days off, but that’s a lovely idea! I’m going to give this done holiday thought. 🙂

          Something good always comes out of my chats with you. 😀

          December 2, 2014
          • I enjoy our thought-provoking, and often inspiring conversations too! 🙂

            December 6, 2014

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