Have you seen that post that says something along the lines of, “before you get married find out if your husband’s family is the type to have movie marathons during the holidays or the type to run actual marathons”? It’s a fair warning. I can totally see how the two categories of families might not be compatible. Funny enough, my husband’s family plays a football game every Thanksgiving and my family has a few movies we just HAVE to watch every Christmas. It seems to work for us!
Speaking of movies, today I want to share what I’ve learned from some of my favorite Christmas movies. One movie has been out since 2006 (The Holiday) while the other was just released last year (Little Women). Being that my family has four girls, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the Louisa May Alcott story of four sisters has a special place in our hearts. We watch the 1994 film every year. We were all pretty nervous about the remake, but it’s already become (almost) just as cherished.
One thing we all really appreciated about the reboot is how it shows more of the intricacies of the relationships. For example, we see more of Meg and John’s marriage. We see Meg say “I’m tired of being poor” and explain how she was pressured into making a big purchase without talking to John first. She talks about seeing her friend have such lovely things and feeling desirous. Later, we see how guilty she feels about the purchase knowing her family’s needs that winter. It all culminates when John finally approves of the purchase, but Meg explains that she has come to realize she has everything she needs just in being his wife. Awww!
This whole storyline is a lesson in contentment. I so feel for Meg! I’ve been there. I think every woman I know has at some point compared her life to another woman’s life and felt yucky about it afterwards. Ladies, it’s so important that we learn how to root for each other more often than we compare ourselves to one another. Also, if we feel those envious feelings creeping in, we have to find healthy ways to combat them. I find the best way to combat jealousy is gratitude. Maybe your friend has some things you don’t have, but what do you have? If you think of it all, I bet it’s enough to fill your whole heart with joy!
I also so feel for John. I know from talking with my husband that no matter their salary almost all men at some point feel the pressures of providing for their family. Ladies, it’s really important that we find ways to affirm our partners for all that they do for us. To be the sole provider for an entire family, whether that be financially or emotionally, is TOUGH! A small word of acknowledgement from us can go a long way in the hearts of our husbands.
Another impactful scene for me was when Jo shares her fantastical stories with Frederick. As a writer, I can speak to the fact that we are somewhat ready for rejection. But the sting of rejection from someone we love is something extra painful. In my opinion, Frederick did everything right during that crucial conversation. He told Jo he didn’t like the stories and affirmed that she was capable of better. “I thought you wanted honesty. Has no one talked to you like this before?” he says. Jo doesn’t take it well and it causes some distance for a while. Spoiler: they do end up together in the end but this little exchange is so important! We all say say we want trust and honesty, but when it comes down to it can we really handle honesty? Are we capable of blindly trusting, no questions asked? Both are easier said than done. For me, I’d rather have a strong partner who isn’t afraid to tell me when I’m wrong than a partner who feels he can’t speak his mind to me. I’d rather my husband lovingly correct me than a stranger. I actually think I know a few women whose husbands enable their bad behavior and it isn’t a good look! A bit of caution though: this is the type of thing that only works on a two way street. If you’re going to expect to be kindly corrected you have to also give corrections kindly. The same goes for your reactions to the feedback.
Now onto The Holiday. Described as the “Swiss chocolate of Rom Coms” this story follows Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and they swap their homes for a holiday. Each having their own struggles in love, they come to each find it unexpectedly by the end of the movie. The whole movie is so sweet and filmed so timelessly. There are so many moments I could write about but my favorite moment is during a dinner between Iris and her elderly neighbor Arthur. “In the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you’re behaving like the best friend.” To my girlfriends, know that you ARE each the leading lady of your own beautiful lives. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Another reason I love this moment: Love isn’t always romantic. Sometimes it looks like Arthur and Iris. I hope that this year whatever love you have in your life is felt deeply. Whether it be sisterly love, romantic love, or friendly love – I hope that you are able to be surrounded by it! If not in person, then at least in spirit. I am so ready for the greatest gift 2020 could possibly give us all – it’s ending! 🙂
XO – Olivia