Cranky Christmas Neighbors

Christmas with the Kranks is a movie which pretty much follows the short story Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. I usually listen to the story on Audible and watch the movie every year but they are pretty close so sometimes, just the movie.  This year I listened closely to the parts about neighbors.

Mr. Crank decides Christmas is too much fuss and too expensive so he decides to skp it and take a cruise instead.  The problem is the neighbors, especially one menacing looking one played hysterically  by Dan Ackroyd.  When the neighbor hears about Mr. Crank’s crazy idea he goes to talk to him and Mr. Cranks says that they can’t make him feel guilty and he would appreciate it if “everyone around here would respect my wishes.”

I wonder why we have to defend ourselves to our neighbors. About going against the herd?  Can’t we be friendly and kind without all having to be in lock step?  For this neighborhood, it ruins their chances to win the best decorated street since the Cranks refuse to put up their roof snowman named Frosty.

Spoiler Alert – The Cranks almost get to go off on their warm cruise when their daughter calls to say she has a surprise – she is returning home and wants all the trimmings because it’ll be her fiance’s first Chicago Christmas ever (being from Peru and from different traditions). The Cranks suddenly need to decorate the house, shop for food, and throw the party they had cancelled that year.

Mr. Crank dangles from their roof and the neighbors gather to wonder why he suddenly tried to put Frosty on the roof.  They say they all should help to make it Christmas for them and someone asks why after their month-long behavior.  The answer is “We are a community and a community sticks together even if one, for most of the holidays,  has been acting like a selfish little baby.  Why should the daughter pay for the sins of the father?”  

Later, Mrs. Crank reminds her husband that “Thanks to this true meaning of community, they sacrificed their Christmas to put others first.”

I know this is Hollywood and the fantasy we all want. Whether it is a whirlwind romance or an alien fighting superhero, the movies create perfect neighborhoods. Cohousing is the dream that everyone will put others first. That they will come together no matter how one person behaves.  That was the dream I had and I hope, that if you move into cohousing, that it’ll happen to you. Some Hollywood films are based on true stories.

Christmas With The Kranks (2004) - A Review - HaphazardStuff

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
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2 Responses to Cranky Christmas Neighbors

  1. Flower says:

    “I wonder why we have to defend ourselves to our neighbors. About going against the herd? Can’t we be friendly and kind without all having to be in lock step?”

    I agree. I get very tired of the “herd” mentality. There’s a lot of reasons why some people don’t celebrate Christmas the way other people may. No one should be bullied about to celebrate.

    “…Mr. Cranks says that they can’t make him feel guilty and he would appreciate it if “everyone around here would respect my wishes.”

    Precisely. Why can’t people demonstrate a little respect and not takes things so personally. Allow people to be who they are rather than trying to force them into fake, phony and insincere relationships.

    I haven’t seen this movie. I’m usually so overwhelmed and busy at this time of year that I rarely have time for anything and I don’t feel like celebrating for a host of reasons why I’m so tired and burned out.

    “Cohousing is the dream that everyone will put others first. That they will come together no matter how one person behaves.”

    Why are people so focused on what other people do? I always wonder why people have the dream that everyone will put others FIRST. It goes against the grain of how people really are. I know a lot of people who feel that I should put them FIRST–way too many. The trouble is that they do NOT reciprocate and NEVER have. It is all about THEM. A lot of peoples’ so called generosity is performative and it’s all about making them either look good or in some ways about the giver and not the recipient. I guess I’ve met too many people who are deceptive and manipulative to have much faith in others.

  2. CJ says:

    I guess intentional communities is Pollyanna – that it will be about the community and becoming something bigger than yourself. That’s the message I hear but found humans suck, even in cohousing. My bestie thinks the problem was “intentional” and maybe community and friendships are found where they happen naturally instead – not fake forced together. I think it is hard for most people in cohousing since they come from priveleged backgrounds due to the cost and I’m pretty sure that was part of my clash since I was one of only two affordable units. They also never seemed to blink an eye that all the people of color (super few) left even though this gets lots of lip service to make cohousing more diverse.

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