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This Drafty Old House Lessons From Childhood Christmases and Classic Tales
About eight years ago, I finally watched a Christmas classic. To this day, I’mnot sure how I went that long without seeing the movie, but thanks tomy wife, it’s now a family tradition to gather around and watch“It’s aWonderful Life” every Christmas season. For those unfamiliar,“It’s aWonderful Life”follows the unlucky streak of a local business owner, George Bailey, around Christmastime. In this 1946 film, Bailey is struggling with a sick child, community pressure, lost money, and an angry businessman. As Christmas Day gets closer, George is on the verge of ending it all when an angel, Clarence, provides him a glimpse into what life would be like for his neighbors and family if George had never been born. There’s one line in particular that always sticks out tome. (Consider this a spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen the film!) After George learns that his life— regardless of howmeaningless and small it may feel at the time—does have value, he runs through the home he once grumbled
cousins each Christmas Day. I have somany memories of playing withmy cousins and seeing my family during the holiday. To this day, I’m reminded of the joy of these celebrations, when we would cram 20–30 people in the house. The hearty scents of the food that was being prepared, the sweet smell of the Christmas tree and candles, and the warmth of sweaters and cozy garments all made it memorable. As a kid, I took these gatherings for granted. I never thought about there being a time when my family wouldn’t be together or whenmy grandparents wouldn’t be more than a short drive away.When I look back on those special moments, sometimes I wish I knew to cherish them. Yet I’m aware that if I knew how important those moments would be, it would’ve overwhelmed me. Instead, I’mglad to have memories that are carefree and beautiful.
about yelling to his wife,“Oh, Mary! Look at this wonderful, drafty old house!”
It’s a line that is so innocuous and simple, but I believe it speaks volumes. In fact, whenever I catchmyself getting worked up in the day-to-day bustle and focusing on what’s going wrong, I say it tomyself just to put things into perspective. I have a loving family, a home for us all to live in, and a job that I ampassionate about. Thanks to George Bailey and the annual reminder“It’s aWonderful Life”provides, I have a little piece of advice to fall back on during difficult times. My kids are just getting to the age where the lessons in“It’s aWonderful Life”are beginning to stick, and I’mhappy to know they will have this movie in their Christmas memories as they grow up. I hope they will always remember that even just one action for someone else can impact that person’s life in ways we could never understand. We all have value. In addition to this great film, our holiday traditions are simple and carefree. My wife, children, and I spend the day together, enjoying a quiet holiday where we canmake our ownmemories. Growing up, my parents would host all my relatives and
Christmas was and it continues to be… wonderful.
Have a lovely holiday season,
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