Christmas is unfair. Not the religious holiday- which is matter-of-fact, at least, depending on your creed it is. The idea of Christmas, the one we all created within the past few hundred years for ourselves, has enveloped itself to the point where we’ve set the bar so high that almost no one can reach it.
You see, having a perfect Christmas requires also having a perfect family, and that’s not something I believe exists. Maybe it’s my lack of faith, but I don’t believe a perfect human being is possible- but that’s okay. We have to navigate each other’s flaws on a daily basis, and that’s part of the experience of being human. That human experience is tested the most during a Christmas holiday gathering.
The scene in Christmas Vacation when the magnificent Turkey arrives at the table, only to completely deflate when cut, is the experience we’ve all set ourselves up for. Whether we like it or not, we’ve all seen the ads and got a picture inside of our heads of what our holidays will be like. It won’t be like that. It can’t be like that.
We can’t blame ourselves or each other for not being perfect. We can learn from our mistakes, and we can stop lying to ourselves and learn to accept each other- if the situation should warrant it. Some families are touched by tragedy that others will never begin to understand. For some, the holidays bring about more stress and sadness than any other day of the year.
And that’s what Christmas is really about, Charlie Brown. It’s about enjoying what we have and supporting those who don’t. It’s about putting a toy in a donation box and letting it arrive at its destination without getting credit. It’s about wishing a friend well on Christmas Day that isn’t seeing their family this year, their choice or not. It’s about indulging your father’s desire to watch Christmas Vacation every year, so much so that you’ve referenced it in an otherwise serious piece.
It’s about accepting the truth about yourself and the others around you. Can you say what you want to be?
Sara Loebig is the founder of Voice Piece, a feminist music blog. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with three cats that do not belong to her.