This month, Shine Parenting Gurus were asked to share tips on how we get through the holiday season without going (too) crazy. As many of you probably know, I can quote Christmas Vacation in my sleep, so it seemed appropriate to pay it (and my wonderful, well-meaning, fun-loving family) homage with this post. You may be asking, “You serious, Clark?” Why yes, yes I am…
Growing up, our holidays were just as they were supposed to be. My dad would hang the lights on the house—literally flipping off the roof at least two years that I can remember—only to discover half of the strands weren’t working when he plugged them in. Then there was the year my mom decorated the tree to perfection—mostly alone because my brother and I were too cool to help (and my dad was likely messing with the outdoor lights)—and within hours it fell and crushed many of her most precious ornaments. Our standards were high, but at times, our spirits weren’t. That is, until we started kicking off each season with a family viewing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Clark. Ellen. Audrey. Rusty. Each year, my family lived up to our nicknames. (And many of the supporting characters weren’t too far off from our reality either.) By acknowledging ourselves in these characters, and embracing our imperfections, our holiday mistakes quickly turned to holiday cheer. After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself (right away), at least the rest of the family can laugh at you.
Now that I have a family of my own, I’m married to a Clark and have a couple little Rustys to keep things interesting at the holidays. The other day Clark came home with, well…some interesting decorations. The red light bulb for the front porch and the big “Ho”s to hang in the front window looked a bit more Amsterdam than North Pole to me, but I went with it. How could I not after seeing Big jump with joy over the red light and Little enthusiastically hang the (now torn) letters in the window?
And when we quickly discovered last year’s twinkle lights weren’t twinkling anymore? Well, that’s nothing a late-evening family trip to Home Depot couldn’t solve. Except Home Depot didn’t have what we needed. And then it was nothing an early morning family trip to Target couldn’t solve. (We needed to replace the oversized ball ornament Little broke playing indoor kickball anyway.)
Our Christmas tree shopping in the rain left us with a crooked tree that’s so wide it blocks the front door. And, yes, one of the strands of (brand new!) lights on the house is already out. But I’m determined to make this the hap-hap-happiest Christmas my family has ever seen.
I’m pretty sure years from now, my kids won’t remember what Santa brought this Christmas, but I certainly hope they remember the laughter, being trusted to pick out the “perfect tree”, belting out carols in the car, baking our favorite treats for friends and family and the special time we spent enjoying it all together.
And though my boys are too young to watch the movie with us, you can bet my husband and I will be laughing our way through Christmas Vacation and continuing to quote it as we run into the inevitable hiccups that come with this season.
How about you? What’s your trick for getting (and staying) in the holiday spirit?