Thanksgiving's over, meaning it can officially feel like Christmas now, and that makes me super excited. At my house, nothing kicks off the Christmas season quite like watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which is exactly what we did tonight. For the uneducated, it's a movie that's simply about having the family Christmas in your [the Griswold's] own home this year. I use "your" because it manages to touch on the fact that anything that can go wrong will, and it's one of those movies that's so funny because everyone can relate to some disaster or another around the holidays.
Is it just me, or does Christmas seem to be a time where things are just more touching than others? It might just be that it's the perfect set up for a story, with a distinct beginning (Thanksgiving, for us U.S. people) that builds up to a clear end (December 25). Everything that happens during that time plays in to how Christmas seems to turn out. Sure, it's not always conclusive or exciting, but there is always this sense on the night of the 25th that something has now come to pass, and it has. So pay extra attention to the goings-on at your house this year. Now is a great time for character development and noticing new things both about your family and yourself. Watch as the issues and events from this year culminate and change things. Christmas is kind of a constant, even when it's not. Even if someone can't make it this year, or it has to move from one house to another, there's still Christmas going on somewhere. You get to see all the changes going on...and even if life makes it so that you can't watch the other kids grow up, you come to realize that's all in the nature of things. Year after year, the most likely time you'll see everyone is now. It's like the place where births, weddings, deaths, friendships, and everything like that seems to become final. So take a step back this Christmas and think about how time changes things...and how this one time of year can provide quite a neat little summary for our entire lives.
I have a feeling this year that this Christmas is going to tell a special story for me. I think has to do with the fact that my dad switched jobs this year, and so we've got a little less to run on. My Dad has always believed in giving everyone the best Christmas he possibly can, and boy does he do a fantastic job. Each year I gain a little more appreciation for how much he loves the holiday. Whereas some kids have grown into picking things out alongside their parents as they Christmas shop or simply getting money, my Dad always insists on Christmas lists and surprises. You can't help but want to take over the tradition. But even he knows that this year's going to be a little different, and maybe a little less epic...even though that's what my mom's been saying for years now. This is the one where that might actually ring true. On top of simply having less money to spend, he's got less time off work to do some of the things he loves doing at Christmas.
Now I know all this sounds quite materialistic, and maybe I'm just sulking because I'll be getting less this year, but I'm proud to say I'm past all that. You'd think that my dad trying to spoil us every Christmas might leave me bitter when it stops happening, but somehow it's done something a little different. Every Christmas special tries to teach you that it's not about getting gifts, it's about giving them and being together with family. Now, that's a pretty hard thing to grasp sometimes because the meaning of it all is hidden. There IS joy in getting gifts, but it's not always for you. It's for the giver. You get to give something back just by being excited and happy. So I always think of it like that. There's no shame in being excited for getting gifts.
But once again, this Christmas is less about that. This Christmas, I think the family togetherness thing has a little more value. I may have thought of something today. Maybe there is something I can get my Dad beyond excitement and yknow, that new Kansas CD or whatever he comes up with. Maybe I can give him the idea that I'm eager to start learning his special trade, so that some day I can walk in the merry footprints he leaves in the snow when we get it. I mean, he really is the Clark W Griswold of our time: The Last True Family Man, hell bent on making his Christmases the kind you'd want to replicate.
So the story I see forming is this, because whereas I'm somehow more excited for this Christmas than I have been the last few years, my mom seems more apathetic than usual. No time more than December is it completely obvious that my parents are an odd couple. So...my dad is Clark Griswold. My mom is like Ebenezer Scrooge's younger sister. And I don't mean that in a bad way since she completely and utterly owns up to it. That's not to say she tramples on everyone else's enjoyment of the holidays, but it's not her turning on Christmas music and decorating the house or worrying about if cookies get made. It's kind of hilarious, since in the end Christmas always comes and she always seems to have a good time with it.
This year the difference is I've finally sort of grown into being a Psychology major...not enough to outwit the 40+ year old conventions she's built into her head, but enough to at least question them for better or worse. Maybe this is less of a real-life plot and more like something you'd see in a movie...yknow...someone digging into another trying to figure out why they are the way the are and at the end they do gain some sort of major insight. I can't count on my story being quite so clear cut, but it still seems to be a theme. And it's too early to say what will happen anyway, since it hasn't happened yet. It's easy to say something makes a nice story, but that doesn't change the fact that we won't know what that story is until at least the night of December 25.
The other thing that I see...OKay let me change that already. The other thing I want to see this Christmas is the family expanding. See normally I have Christmas with my family (and extended families) and that's it...but there's more people in the world. This is the other time besides Spring that I long for...let's say companionship, most. Let's face it...something about how my house is lit around Christmas is just plain romantic. I want to be able to share the spirit with other people...err...another person. And this is a great time to meet my family since my Dad is at his most awesome, my mom is the best at putting on her nice face (not that she's bad, rude, or anything like that any other time, don't get the wrong idea), and well I covered the last one about two sentences ago. Besides, people my own age are easier to buy for since the generational dialect is the same. Seriously though, my favorite Christmas song is All i Want for Christmas is You. Write that down, there will be a quiz later on.
Okay so this has been quite a long entry but I'm so fucking excited for the holiday season, even though it's shown up LASER quick this year. And it has. Has it really been a year since last time already? Where on earth did that time go, and what the fuck have I been doing with it? All of this has been hitting me at once, and I want to turn that into motivation...motivation to make this the most interesting and awesome holiday season ever. So don't expect this to be the last long post about Christmas...you guys are coming along for the ride, yknow? I'd love to hear your stories...how you spend Christmas, who does what and how and when and maybe why... Ah, i don't know, what am I saying? I'm just pretty stoked.