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Star Wars: Christmas for a More Civilized Age

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… As of midnight last night, a franchise that now has appeared in five different decades continued. I have yet to see the movie, so have no fear of spoilers. While certainly the franchise has had some low points (ahem, Jar Jar Binks), it also has an epic mythology that is probably the best present to receive this year. However, what you may not know is that the Star Wars movies are also the best movies to watch around Christmas time because of the helpful advice for dealing with your family.

“Keep your distance Chewie, but don’t, y’know, look like you’re keeping your distance. … I don’t know. Fly casual.” If your family is anything like mine, then you’ll have some craziness to deal with. Sometimes Han Solo’s advice in Return of the Jedi is the best course of action. Don’t be obvious with your desire to be anywhere else, but it’s okay to have the desire.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, things are going to go wrong in these situations. Han Solo has some great advice for these situations too: shoot the intercom and mutter, “Boring conversation anyways.” While I’m not proposing you shoot your Aunt Ida, or any family member for that matter, Christmas time with family can turn dangerous fast and you should have an exit strategy in mind (garbage cans might work).

boring-conversation-anywaysInvariably you will encounter the conversation about grades, classes, that whole spiel, and there are a few ways of responding. First and most noble is to admit and own up to your mistakes. “Well, you said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake.” It hurts and is tough to do, but sometimes you mess up and your family will support you no matter what.

However, you could also take the middle ground and hedge your bets. “So what I told you was true… from a certain point of view.” Going for this path allows you to see how other things fall first, maybe no one finds out about your grade, maybe the mistakes you made will stay hidden. It is important that there is no lie involved here though; bending the truth sure, but lying is taking it too far. However, for the next way, pretending is involved. “We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?” This route is the most likely to backfire, but hey if you’re a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerf herder it might be worth the risk.

This way deals with these questions when you’ve done well. “Great kid, don’t get cocky.” Get straight A’s this semester? Land that awesome internship? Manage to get through the semester without an epic meltdown? It’s certainly nice to brag to your family, but don’t overdo it. You’re not going to get it right every time. Even if you did get it right this time, you have to get it right the next time too. Use this to remind yourself that even if you accomplish something major keep working at getting better.

“All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.” Perhaps most importantly, don’t worry too much about future problems. Christmas break is one month long; enjoy it and your time with your family. Cherish the time you get with them and let the future sort itself out. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Whoops, wrong franchise!

chewie were homeRemember, family is important, even if sometimes they try to turn you to the Dark Side and chop off your hand. At its heart, Star Wars is a space western soap opera; use the family lessons to your advantage. May the Force be with you.

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