Nightmare before Christmas

The stress of the impending Christmas holiday has caught up with me. Maybe you can relate. Perhaps by the end of the day today, you will have reached your travel destination or your visiting relatives have arrived on your doorstep.

You haven’t sat down for weeks, having cleaned up the wrapping supplies in time to set the dining table, and then pulled them back out after a last-minute addition of a relative to the festivities. You have survived the melee that is the grocery story parking lot with one wit and come screeching into your driveway on two wheels.

Television dramas and sitcoms like to show Christmas movies surfacing in dreams during the holiday season. You’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life featured in characters’ dream sequences, as Brothers & Sisters did a few weeks ago.

One of the favorite movies in our house is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Last night, it became my own personal dream sequence. If you know the movie, think through it with me, and I am betting you could conjure your own dream sequence featuring the characters of your holiday.

One member of the family, exceedingly idealistic about holidays, has unrealistically high expectations for this Christmas, willing to go to great lengths for a Normal Rockwell experience. The next door neighbors, who don’t celebrate Christmas, shake their heads at the spectacle.

A backwoods cousin arrives, bursting with contentment and enthusiasm while getting on everyone’s nerves with his annoying habits and clumsy foibles.

Arriving with the in-laws is a cacophony of conflict, with each trying to out-shout the other, everyone talking at the same time.

Meanwhile, tensions at the office escalate when the traditional holiday bonus doesn’t come and the protagonist tries to put up a cheerful front with the family. He suffers pangs of nostalgia about his own childhood Christmases and struggles to keep the spirit amidst the chaos.

Christmas Eve arrives, along with the doddering aunt and uncle, who have one mental marble between them. She doesn’t know her own name and says the Pledge of Allegiance when asked to say grace. He sets the Christmas tree on fire with his cigar. Don’t you just hate when that happens?

In one of the final scenes, the idealist exclaims, “Merry Christmas, Holy Sh**, where’sthe Tylenol?”

Sweet dreams!


Filed under Family and Friends, Holidays, Movies, Television and Radio

7 responses to “Nightmare before Christmas

  1. And we’re gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny F___g Kaye! HA HA! Great post. Laughed throughout .. hang in there, deep breath, hide in the closet if necessary .. Cheers on surviving the season 🙂 MJ

  2. Jo

    Usually I can relate… but this year, being relatively immobilized by my damned acrobatic fall a couple month ago, I have not set foot in a retail establishment save one trip to the grocery, where I held on to the cart and my husband ran around. I have not done frantic baking and gift-making, I have not thought about entertaining. My immediate family will be together Christmas Day, and you know what? Christmas is pretty terrific when you cut to the bare bones of it. Gifts come in surprising packages.

  3. Alyson

    We’re having tacos for Xmas dinner!

  4. I’m like a little kid again. I can’t wait until Christmas eve and Christmas Day.

  5. ahhhh. Christmas Vacation. A CLASSIC. emmjayandthem made the best quote from the movie!!!! Merry CHRISTMAS Clark Griswald and family!!! Also, don’t forget “A Christmas Story”. You’ll shoot your eye out kid!!!

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