mixed recommendations

So, this was Christmas.

Christmas is already (at least, officially) a thing of the past and I am, once again, puzzled by how little I have truly enjoyed it as such. It was a clear improvement compared to other years, that is also true, but, as always, December was all over the place and I ended up being extremely exhausted and nervous on Christmas Eve, which is, at least in theory, one of the most important days of the year for me, a slightly-Christmas obsessed person. Oh well, we live, we learn, right?

It all passed in a blink of an eye. I was lucky enough to share Christmas day with persons I care a lot about, including 2 children and this always brings a touch of magic to it all. I was away from home-home and from what is left of my family and that always brings a touch of deep sadness to it. Anyway, all is left now are the decorations which I tend to keep in place for far too long, but I think for the time being it is socially acceptable to still have them around so I am proudly staring at the (far too) many Christmas lights from around the house.

For Christmas, there was food:

And drinks and laughter and sadness (these days are really difficult if you are struggling with life, we should all be mindful of that and the hurdles our close and not so close ones are dealing with…), there was a bit of everything, like every other day in the end. There was also quite a big amount of Netflix and this is the topic of this article – I’ll not share Christmas wisdom from my real life, but some bits of interesting facts I gathered from the Christmas marathon of movies and series.

Now, I understand that people don’t have time to read about series, they can just go ahead and see them and I am by no means an expert or pretending to understand more than what is really obvious to anybody, but I am writing here mainly as an exercise for my mind and soul and also because maybe someone finds a connection with my story or point of view. Alternatively, you can surely just open Netflix and stare into the abyss (Grinch style or Nietzsche way, as you prefer). 🙂

Back at it, Christmas is quite the hit on Netflix too. I have reached the 3 productions I’ll talk about by simply searching “Christmas” in the search bar, in the hope of also finding Grinch, for my annual viewing tradition. There are many reasons for all this fuss with Christmas, but I am not that philosophical or scientific today, so I’ll just FINALLY get to it and this is the list of Christmassy-recommendations, completely valid and waiting for your eyes to check them out any other day of the year. Beware, there might be some spoilers (sorry!):

Klaus

What is it: A beautiful story. As simple as that. For children and adults alike.

What is left when it ends: Salt from the tears and generally a feel-good sensation. It is delicate and funny and lovely. It has so many take-home lessons, which I understand were meant for children, but could be so useful for everybody, like:

  • One small act of kindness without hidden agenda is magical and brings more kindness. (I know it does not always seem like it works this way, but I guess that it does, most of the time).
  • People sometimes hate each other or are in permanent conflict just because, without really remembering why.
  • Toys are important 🙂
  • Sometimes a road you hate can get you to a place you’ll love.
  • Love happens even when nobody expects it to.
  • Magic exists. It does, I assure you and I promise I am not that high on sugar now 😀

When to see it: Any time you need a pick me up story. Or you feel like chilling with a nice story. I think it works for almost everybody. A box of tissues could be of use 😀

Días de Navidad

(or whatever it is called in your country)

What is it: A mini-series (3 episodes) following the stories of 4 sisters, with a touch of drama, of course. All 3 episodes occur on Christmas, but at different stages in the lives of the 4 sisters. The cast is changed throughout the series and I was impressed by how fluid the process was.

What is left when it ends: It is packed with amazing (And also well-know, famous Spanish) actresses. The acting is something else, I thought. The cast is outstanding. Back to the story itself, it starts as a somehow common Christmas fairy tale, but it evolves to so many twists and a mix of life and choices and secrets which amazed me. I also like the images, the scenery, decorations, stuff like that. Beautiful!

I tend to like this type of narrative views, following the characters around the years and maybe this is why I enjoyed this series so much. Now, the story itself is not necessarily outstanding, but it touches notes as infidelity, family in different shapes, violence, abuse, love, so I would not dismiss it as irrelevant. It felt like a theatrical piece, so it is difficult to talk about it, you need to see it to understand. However, in terms of lessons, I would say the main one is families are complicated. And family members can hurt each other more than they dare to imagine. Even then, reconciliation can happen.

When to see it: When you need to remember that perfect families only exist on Netflix and not even there anymore 🙂 Also, if you want to hear some poetical Spanish, that can be a very important reason. Loved it!

Holiday secrets

What is it: Also a mini-series (3 episodes) about a family and its complicated past, present and future. It changes points of view quite rapidly so it can be a source of dizziness, but I promise you, it is worth it. It describes a Christmas reunion which quickly becomes a gate to all sorts of tangled intimate issues.

That’s the thing about my family. We’re only just now getting to know each other

What is left when it ends: For me: more than anything I had to google where it was filmed, the place is incredibly beautiful. My limited German skills could have been involved, but either way I was unable to find any info on that…

Anyway, a bit too dramatic and expected at times, the series touches family drama and its complicated consequences, balancing between present and flashbacks. There is a lot to unpack, such as infidelity, abuse, conflict etc. Yes, it does seem very similar to the above one and I am very happy that families are portrayed in a more relatable manner. There are several generations explored throughout the plot and that is another plus, because it is a genuine picture of this dynamic.

The acting is spectacular. What was left, in my mind, now that I think about it, is the intense feeling that stories repeat themselves, that we are sometimes doomed to make the same mistakes again and that many times there is no way out if we don’t find one ourselves.

When to see it: When you think your family is the worst. Or when you miss them too much. Or when you are in mood for some drama. Either works! 🙂

This is it for now. I am sure that a therapist would come up with multiple conclusions upon this article and my choice of recommendations. However, be sure that you open your eyes and see this huge world for what it is: a big, wonderful chaos. There is more to Christmas and families and any given day than we think it is. Examples and representation are so very important and I know that some Netflix series won’t truly change the world, but maybe they can change a little bit of our emotions’ complexity and this is something, right?

Be good, do good!

C.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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