Christmas With the Joneses: A Hero’s Journey

For many of us, Christmas is the big WOW of the Year. It’s the Superbowl of holidays. Year after year, we’ve lived one remake of Christmas after another. Like the Batman origin remakes, we can’t seem to get enough of them. This year we visit our heroes, Mom and Dad Jones, as they go on a Christmas Hero’s Journey.

1. Ordinary World.
Thanksgiving. It’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the turkey feast and Cowboys football for Dad and the kiddies at the Joneses.

2. Call To Adventure.
Mom grabs her purse. “I’m off to Walmart,” she says, noticing none of the Jones gang pays attention.

3. Refusal Of The Call.
Mom takes in the line at Walmart and she’s already done before getting her foot in the door. Mom Jones has had a rough week. It’s like she already has ptsd and the combat hasn’t even begun. She turns to leave.

4. Meeting The Mentor.
Betty Smith, an older neighbor, calls out to Mom, “Don’t leave. I’ll show you the Black Friday tango.”

5. Crossing The Threshold.
Grabbing Mom Jones’ hand, Betty zips in and out of the crowd. Then nosedives through the front door. Before they can say, “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” Betty and Mom are honing down on the last of the Tuckees and the Whiz-Banger-oonies.

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies.
Mom gets home with all the junk…I mean, gifts she paid big time bucks for. Little does she realize they’ll all be on sale two weeks before Christmas. But she’s done her part. There’s one more test she has to survive before the day is done. She has to keep herself from killing Dad Jones. He slurped down the last slice of that pecan pie, and she’d wanted it. Bad!

Now comes Dad’s turn. It’s Monday and he’s taken the day off to fulfill his obligation to save beaucoup bucks. He’s up early for Amazon’s Monday Lalapalooza Prime Day. The Prime Day to Beat All Prime Days. He pours himself a big “World’s Greatest Dad” cup of coffee. Before you know it, he’s racking up brownie points galore.

With a smile on his face, he comes to his last challenge. It’s a must-have must-have. And there’s only one of them at half price. A Family Summer Vacation at Boony World. Let the bidding begin. Just when his finger is at the ready-to-send button, there’s a power glitch. Three hours later Boony World Vacay has sunk into the swamp.

In the days that follow, there’s tree hunting. Christmas tree lights to plug in. The nativity scene alongside Santa’s sleigh. There’s putting together the this-that-and-the-other. There’s way too much egg nog for Dad at the annual Christmas party. There’s the DUI he gets on the way home from the office Christmas party.

And for Mom, she still has nightmares from the last night before Christmas. This year there’s the Christmas cookies for the PTA Christmas party that just about poisoned half the school. There’s the Christmas letters she sent that were returned for lack of a stamp.

7. Approach To The Inmost Cave.
Christmas Eve. Mall time for Dad, that giant bit of Americana that seems to be fading into the sunset these days. He’s after a super-dooper Super Dooper for Mom. He’s gonna get one for his One-and-Only come hell or high water. Even if he has to kidnap it.

8. Ordeal.
Christmas Eve. The kiddies are tucked into bed. Mom and Dad Jones start to put the swing set together for Little Alice. Unfortunately the instructions are in Chinese. Dad being handy around the house thinks he’s got the job licked. On his first try, the darn thing comes out lopsided and upside down. Then he realizes he’s been reading the instructions backwards and they’re all Greek to him anyway. There’s three screws missing, and I’m not talking about in his brain. If he had only not thrown away that small bag of leftovers, he would’ve been a-okay.

9. Reward (Seizing The Sword)
It’s one o’clock in the morning and the parents have the swing set together and the tree ready and waiting with their goodies. They drop into bed, exhausted, knowing their ordeal is just about over. Christmas Day is only a few hours away.

10. The Road Back.
The next morning Mom and Dad are awakened by a noise downstairs. It’s Snookles, the family Saint Bernard. And it’s pretty darn sure that he’s going to wrap the tree and the presents with drool. Someone forgot to close the back door last night. Heading down the stairs, they move with the speed of light.

11. Resurrection
They are surprised to find Snookles, Junior and Little Alice waiting in the living room, with big smiles on their faces and a “Very Merry Christmas.”

12. Return With The Elixir.
It’s been a long, long journey for our family, the Joneses. The presents have been opened, the dinner has been served, the God-bless-us-everyones have been said. Christmas night, after the kiddies and Snookles are put to bed, our hero couple sit snuggled together on the sofa. For just a few moments, thoughts of joy to the world and peace on Earth good will toward all run through their heads. Then Mom reaches over and kisses Dad and says, “Next year we’re going to our parents for Thanksgiving, then take a month-long cruise.” Dad nods his agreement.

Merry Christmas one and all.