I’ve noticed a trend with each holiday season which I’m not proud of: I start over-wanting.

Things are good, and I certainly have just about everything I need and most things I could ever want. So why do I feel my wheels spinning and turning fruitlessly in a muck of dissatisfaction?

Believe it or not, I think I’m overdue for some screen time with my holiday favorites to get out of my funk. Why? Because those classic, bittersweet, laugh-through-tears holiday flicks often remind me of two things: I’m glad for what I have, and I’m glad for what I don’t have.

Die Hard is one we watch each year (my husband’s self-declared favorite Christmas flick). No, really – as much as I pulled an extreme eyebrow raise when he first suggested his stance, I was ultimately convinced. It’s Christmas-time at Nakatomi Plaza when shit goes down for John McClaine, and we relish each and every line. We also consider that life could be far worse: my husband and I are happily married, which means he doesn’t have to worry about traveling across the country into a fish-out-of-water setting where he winds up battling terrorists with C4 and a machine gun (“ho, ho, ho”) while quipping his way through filthy air ducts. We’re able to laugh through the action and get nostalgic over the shoulder pads and hairstyles while appreciating how far we’ve come.

Love Actually is my favorite must-see of the season and I shall never be swayed from that trench. I love the diversity of the storylines and characters, watching them each experience highs and lows in their lives based on their own situations and dysfunction. Jamie wastes his love on a cheating hosebeast, but ultimately finds it again with Aurelia: you should see the looks my husband and I give each other as they repeat each other’s thoughts in different languages while falling in love. Watching Karen struggle with Harry’s flirtations and possible affair with his secretary brings both of us to quiet reflection (ok, I go straight to the tears while my husband rubs my shoulder) about how precarious a marriage and family can be through a series of fairly simple choices. Daniel and Sam? GAH. That’s my favorite story of all – though I think my husband digs Billy Mack and his producer Joe the best – because of the loss and gain both experience so vividly.

See? Even while I’m reliving these scenes of fiction in my mind, as fictional as they are, I’m carried out of my own ridiculous dissatisfaction and reminded of what there is to be thankful for… even if it IS just a movie we watch each December. We all have our thing(s) that help us reassess and recenter; this month, mine just happens to be a couple of movies. Yippee-kye-yay, because love actually is all around.


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