One of my favorite things to do, during the Christmas season, is watch all the classic Christmas movies. Last night, we started with Christmas Vacation, the 1989 John Hughes’ classic. Full of pratfalls, one-liners, and unimaginable happenings, it’s probably my favorite Christmas movie.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen it, but I see something new every time I do…
Last night, I realized that, more than pratfalls, impossible and improbably story lines, and a cast of true characters, it’s about expectations. Unreal expectations based on a heartfelt desire to make this Christmas really special……and perfect.
It’s the story of me….sort of….
As far as I am concerned, there was only one perfect Christmas, and that was over two thousand years ago. And, believe it or not, I was not around then…..
That doesn’t seem to stop me from trying, year after year, to make Christmas just perfect for my family and friends. Beautiful Christmas trees and decorations, delicious food, the perfect gifts, a house full of family and friends……I want it all. And mostly, I get it. Every year….
But that’s not the point. Try as hard as he might, Clark Griswold just can’t seem to pull off the perfect Christmas. Whether it’s his feuding parents and in-laws, his bored children, his miserly boss, or the uptight yuppies living next door…..no one is going to let him have his dream come true Christmas…
And yet, through all the disasters, it comes around to perfection in the end. Realistic perfection. The family is all together. The house didn’t burn down. Two Christmas trees, a chair and a cat have burned up, but the house is mostly intact.
No, things don’t go the way we plan them, most of the time…. Sometimes, they’re better for all the mishaps. Who wouldn’t like to stand on the front lawn, watching the Santa decoration launched into the sky by methane gas, and sing the National Anthem? Especially when surrounded by his entire family, his miserly boss, and a Chicago SWAT team?
Lesson learned: make plans, execute as able, and sit back and laugh at what goes wrong. Nothing more, nothing less….
Well, maybe without the SWAT team…..