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Christmas Vacation movie 1989

A Lesson from Clark Griswold

What is your favorite holiday movie?

There are so many good ones to choose from – A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, Love Actually, Die Hard (we can debate this one later😉).

One of my all-time favorites is Christmas Vacation from 1989.

Clark Griswold, played by the hilarious Chevy Chase, is the ultimate people pleaser.  His entire life is spent trying to make his family happy.  He overcompensates to the extent that chaos ensues in every endeavor his imagination concocts.

Clark spends enormous effort putting the most lights on his house, preparing the fastest sled, cutting the perfect tree, and hosting the best family dinner ever.

Throughout the movie, Clark fails in some way to make everyone happy.  And we can see how much it hurts for him to try so hard and not succeed.

He set out on an impossible task.  He was never going to make everyone happy.  And while we are meant to laugh at Clark’s hijinks, we can also feel his pain and frustration.  We can sympathize knowing his heart is in the right place.

And perhaps we also know how it feels to put effort into something for someone else and have it be met with little or no appreciation.

We people pleasers try really hard.  We focus on others because it makes us feel good, but also because we hope we will be recognized, seen, rewarded for our thoughtfulness.

In the end, Clark realizes that Christmas means something different for everyone and he finally realizes what Christmas means to him.

It is easy to get caught up in the chaos and commercialism of the holidays.  It is also easy to chase idyllic holiday perfection. 

What we need to think about is what is important to us first.  Then, whatever we do, we do because it makes us happy, not because we expect something in return.  We cannot control how others will respond to our efforts.

The appreciation we receive from others is a bonus.  The true gift is the peace we give ourselves.

When we come from a place of pure giving, versus expectation or reciprocity, we are in control of our resources – time, money, energy.  And when we are met with genuine appreciation, we can soak in all the goodness.

Take some time in this busy holiday season to step back and reflect on your needs.  Then proceed with a new awareness and healthy approach to the holidays.

What will you choose to keep doing and what will you stop doing this hectic holiday season?

For more tips and tricks to Create Healthy Boundaries and Say NO With Confidence, download my free People Pleaser's Toolkit and begin practicing today.  

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