Happy Griswold Moment

Lately, I have been trying to label holiday frustrations as Griswold moments. In the movie Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold works very hard to create the perfect Christmas for his family, only to discover that no amount of effort could contain the problems that arise throughout the movie. Simply stated, no amount of energy can create perfection unless every last element of people, places, and things involved can be completely controlled, which obviously also is unattainable. This year, instead of doing the outside Christmas lights myself so it could look a certain way, I gave the pile of lights to my teenagers and said, “I don’t care what you do with the lights, just put them up however you want them to be.” If I had done them by myself, I would have stressed myself out and found myself frustrated with the results. By releasing that job to others, I chose to release the need for perfection or projection of an image as my means of happiness. I select areas that traditionally have caused me Griswold stress during the holidays, and I try to release my expectations regarding what I would like to have done instead of what I can do with my limited time. Will Christmas cookies be made? I don’t know, but everyone will live if they are not. Will Christmas cards or a Christmas photo be sent out? I don’t know, but everyone around me who loves me enough to value me will be fine if I do not do either of those things. Life is full, and life can be hard, but we have the choice as to whether we make decisions that benefit self or others. We just need to be balanced this holiday season to honor both self and others. There are many times throughout the Bible that Jesus chose to give care to others, but there are also many times when he decided to provide care to himself. Remind yourself of this principle as you move through the holidays and make choices. Love God and love yourself so that you can love others. You cannot love others well this holiday season if you put the needs of perfection and serving other high above your own needs for self-care. Perfection and task focus usually crowd out the ability to love self and others well.