*Again this week I have my editor, and first born son, Cody Carson guest writing on the blog. He and his wife live in North Carolina where they are missionaries with the Charlotte Eagles Soccer Club. You can find out more about their ministry by clicking here!*
It’s almost Christmas! Two days and counting! The kids can’t wait! Most of us adults are excited too, but a lot of us are also dreading having to be in a room with “that” extended family member for an extended period of time.
When I think about terribly awkward family Christmas’, only one movie springs to mind, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and when I think about “that” family member, it has to be Cousin Eddie. It’s interesting though, despite all the disgusting awkwardness and trouble that Cousin Eddie causes, it’s Clark that ends up ruining the family Christmas when he loses his temper. So, if you will, let me explain why Clark lost his temper and give you two strategies on how you can avoid the same fate this Christmas…
Number 1 – Clark’s “I”deal Christmas in his mind met the real deal Christmas in his house – Be prepared for when your ideal meets the real deal. Throughout the movie, Clark struggles when his lofty expectations for an old fashioned family Christmas continually fall short. He insists on having the biggest Christmas tree possible, his parents and in-laws stay for over a week, and the most Christmas lights on his house in the history of mankind. Well if you’ve seen the movie you know that the tree catches fire on Christmas Eve, the family drives him crazy, and the lights blind the neighborhood and are not worth the hassle. All of these things seem like good things, but when you apply Clark’s delusions of grandeur anyone can see that it’s going to cause problems. Unrealistic expectations are never met, that’s what makes them unrealistic, and unmet expectations always cause disappointment. Set your expectations for your family and your Christmas accordingly this year, and allow yourself to enjoy it.
Number 2 -Instead of embracing the chaos, Clark just multiplied it – Things are not going to go as planned this Christmas! When you see things going off track, you can either fight it, hold on to the wheel for dear life, and make things much worse or you can embrace it, steer into the skid, and come out unscathed. Clark fought for his “I”deal Christmas and made a fool of himself several times. When the lights he had worked so hard displaying didn’t work, he punched his plastic Santa in the face and kicked all the reindeer’s horns off while the family watched. When his Christmas bonus finally came in the mail and it wasn’t what he expected, he went on a tirade about his boss in front of the whole family. Finally, when the family tried to leave after the squirrel got loose and Cousin Eddie’s dog Snots destroyed the house looking for him, he went on a profanity laden rant detailing how they were going to have the “Hap, Hap, Happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny $%#$*&^ Kaye!”
So remember, keep your expectations realistic and embrace the chaos this Christmas, and if your old aunt Bethany says the Pledge of Allegiance instead of the blessing at the dinner table, take a cue from Cousin Eddie, and stand up and salute! Keep your cool under pressure this Christmas and laugh about all the chaos next month! Oh and one last thing, if you don’t know who the Cousin Eddie in your family is, it just might be you!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,