What Christmas Movies Taught Me

 

If you know me at all…you know that I love Christmas, and that I especially love Christmas movies.  I have a pile that I watch and re-watch over the course of Novemeber and December every year.  I don’t do it just to feel festive. I don’t do it to annoy those around me.  “Yes, Chris I have already watched The Holiday twice this year, but sure we can watch it again!”  I do it because of the message behind these movies.  The message of love, kindness, believing, happiness, and the importance of the people you love.  This is why I watch them.  This is why I hope you watch them.  Because I have to say, Christmas movies have taught me an awful lot.

That love actually…is all around.   Despite all of the recent news to the contrary.  Despite negativity that can sometimes feel like it plagues our lives on a daily basis.  The frustrating coworker.  The person who cut you off this morning. There is love and positivity and happiness out there.  You just have to look around for it.  It’s in the friends who pile mountains of cookies and hot chocolate on your desk.  The support and love from parents.  The lunch or coffee paid for by a boss.  The note/text/call from friends just wanting to check in on you. The amazing super stellar husband who cleans, helps make candy, shops, takes care of you when you’re sick, and tolerates the 5th viewing of Love Actually this season. (And that’s all in the same weekend!) 😉  Truly, if you look around, and want to find it, you will. Because it’s there.

    – Love Actually

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That seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.  Sometimes you have to believe in something for it to be real.  If you really believe in it, you can make it happen.  Anything is possible with a little believing, passion and drive.

   – The Santa Clause

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That faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to. Sometimes you just have to have faith in the fact that everything happens for a reason.  Faith in yourself and in others, even when common sense says there’s just no way. If you have a little faith, trust the plan, then things will work themselves out.  Faith in humanity. After such tragedy, seeing the goodness of people. The 26 acts of kindness that is floating around social media, homeless projects like Claire’s, unexpected ‘thank yous’ and the little gifts of everyday.

– Miracle on 34th Street

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The best gifts of the season are not material gifts. The Bishop’s Wife is the little known by my generation (sadly) original movie that the Preacher’s Wife is a remake of. We stress so much every year about finding the perfect gift for all of the people that we love that we drive ourselves crazy, forgetting that it’s the acts of kindness, the little things, that make far greater gifts than any material item could possibly achieve.

 “Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe.We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled – all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s his birthday we are celebrating. Don’t ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most, and then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the outstretched hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.”

– The Bishop’s Wife

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That sometimes you do need a little corny in your life. Some of my favorite holiday memories involve the corny.  But it’s those corny things that are the sweetest.  The year my parents came home late because of working Fedex, and my brother and I attempted to arrange a festive Christmas eve dinner out of whatever randomness was in the cupboard at the time.  The fact that whenever I watch Love Actually, I know that there will be certain lines…or dance scenes that Chris will mimic, mainly because he knows it will make me smile.  “I haaate Uncle Jaimie.” : ) It’s those corny moments at the holidays and in life that are the true treasured ones.

           – The Holiday

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“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir, going home and getting warm by the fire, it’s true wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas. It is the season of the heart, a special time of caring, the ways of love made clear.  It is the season of the spirit, the message if we hear it is make it last all year.”  There are so many lessons to take from Muppet Christmas Carol, but this has to be one of my favorite songs because it’s the simple things of the season, a warm fire, a Christmas song and love – plain and simple – that make it so joyous.

            – The Muppets Christmas Carol

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And finally, last but certainly not least that “NO man is a failure, who has friends.”  Never has anything rang more true to me.  I don’t care if my dad makes fun of me for watching it over and over again, saying that the first half of It’s a Wonderful Life is a nightmare and only at the end does it become a Christmas movie…or those that don’t see the life George Bailey had as truly wonderful.  But for me – George got it right.  No matter what else there is in my life, material possessions, what trips I take, what job I have, where I went to school,  anything  – the quality of my friendships and relationships and the impact I have on those who I touch is what determines the quality of my life.  100%.

             – It’s a Wonderful Life

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Articles say that among the top regrets of dying people, there are 1) I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. 2) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. And 3) I wish I had let myself be happier.

Don’t live those regrets.  Be happy and joyous and ‘merry.’ Not just at Christmas, but all year.  Cherish and nurture your friendships and relationships.  And don’t work so hard.  Your family, friends and relationships will always mean more in the end.

I hope everyone has a restful, joyful Christmas, spent with those who you love!

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Thoughts, Decisions and The Holidays Ahead

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Well.  It’s been a rough freaking time lately.  I could list on and on all of the crazy, ridiculous, sad and frustrating things that have happened over the last few months.  But that wouldn’t be productive would it?  Chris and I caught ourselves just laughing about it this weekend .  We should be freaking out because of vet bills and dead cars and all kinds of other things, but it’s just comical at this point. All of it.  And maybe that’s a testament to our strength (in self and in our relationship) and the maturity and stability we’ve learned over the last few years to take life as it comes.  Never easy…but when you really think about it, what other choice do you really have? I really do believe sometimes you have to hit the bottom pretty hard before things turn around. And of course I also believe that everything happens for a reason.

After making a few key decisions over the last few weeks…decisions that will greatly change my happiness, quality of life and direction – for the better, I feel like I’m already moving towards the new year, the new possibilities. In some ways I hope for 2013 to be the “Year of Me” so to speak. The year of me choosing things for me, and not because of others. Focusing on what’s important. The year of us, too. Making our relationship more of a priority.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m the one who’s always there for everyone else, the perpetual cheerleader – not that that’s a bad thing in itself, but it can also become detrimental to me and my own health. Unfortunately I am also the perpetual people pleaser who rarely makes decisions for my own well being and more often on account of others.  I think I am finally beginning to turn some of that around and figure out what really works for me and what I really want.  I did say, beginning.  It’s still going to be a MAJOR process and take a lot of effort.  But more on that later.  I’ve already been journaling about goals and plans for 2013 which undoubtedly will combine into a cliché new years resolution-y sort of post in the coming weeks.

But in the meantime I am determined to enjoy all of the wonderful things that this last month of 2012 has in store.  Zumba Bunco, Craft Club Cookie Exchange and making ornaments, Pinterest Party #3, our Christmas party even though I’m not sure how we’ll all fit in my house – (including seeing the best of Sacramento Christmas lights!) too much food and wine, baking and making Christmas candy, Yoga Holiday Detox at Fusion Yoga, It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen(!!!), more Christmas movies at home – likely a few more rounds of Love Actually 😉 – baking cookies for Claire’s Hope for the Homeless Project, putting together stockings for the homeless at Loaves and Fishes, buying gifts for two children off of the sunburst project giving tree at Sac State (a tradition) – celebrating Christmas with my WHOLE family, 2 days in Huntington Beach, Disneyland on Christmas day, one day in Monterey, 12 days off from work. Not to mention 2013 planning.

Sometimes it takes listing all of the positive things out to really realize how much happy is coming our way this month.  It sure makes things seem quite a bit better and brighter.

Happy December!