Memories of the Holidays from childhood bring me great joy. We spent time with family, ate a lot, and decorated to gaudy levels. I can’t recall a time when I was burdened by snow. Snow was great. A ton of it would cancel school and we would spend the day tunneling our way through the neighborhood, come home to hot cocoa (with the tiny marshmallows), and watch Home Alone. Thinking back, there was so much that went over my head from the movie, but still, my brother and I loved it so much. When I put it on a few years back in an effort of nostalgia, I didn’t expect my young kids to take an interest. There were very little, if any, non animated movies that interested them. But I guess a kid getting to essentially beat up a couple of grown ups is pretty interesting. The Holidays have not been as enjoyable as they were for me as a kid. Watching Home Alone with my kids has begun to change all that.
We are a screen time house. I fully support parents who love screen time and those who don’t. You do you. I will do me. My older two kids had their favorite shows and movies that kept them occupied long enough for me to make lunch or go to the bathroom without having to balance them on my hip. I tried them all with my third child. He was good with one for a few months then it fizzled. He would love the intro and as soon as the song ended, he needed Mama. One day, I needed to feel like I did after I tunneled in snow all day as a kid. “Overwhelmed” would be an appropriate way to describe how I was feeling. My baby was happy if I was holding him so I held him and put on Home Alone. I needed to leave the room for a moment so I placed him in his walker for safety. When I returned, he wasn’t engaged with any of the toys on the walker. He didn’t immediately saunter over to me demanding to be picked up. He was as close to the tv as the gated area allowed him to be and he was staring and GIGGLING at Kevin McCallister. This is a 10 month old baby we are talking about.
My older kids get second choice to what is on television at screen time because they are old enough to control their emotions (sometimes) when they don’t get their first choice. Baby gets first choice so Home Alone is what became the looped movie in our home. You know the one. The one that gets played from the beginning just as the closing credits start rolling. Sometimes they last a week. Sometimes a month. Sometimes years. We are going on a month straight of Home Alone and I hope it never ends. My older kids have learned some new words earlier than I would have liked, but I’m sure they hear worse on the bus to school. We have talked about why those words were chosen and the appropriate times to use them. We have talked about fiction. We have talked about the importance of family, even when we don’t like the things they do or say. It has been a great tool in letting them know that we will always love them, even if they have a bad night. It has also taught them that they are capable of more than they think.
Home Alone was the cherry on top when my brother and I got to spend the day without a care in the world. It’s now not only a reminder of simpler times, but will live forever in the memories of my own children as time with their family. I’m grateful for this movie that continues to bring light into life. Even though Kate could have just rented a car from Scranton, gotten home sooner, and avoided John Candy. Happy Holidays to you and yours.