I’m dreaming of a White Christmas

Bing Crosby Rosemary Clooney White ChristmasWhite Christmas. ‘Tis the season to watch this classic holiday film. So far this year, I’ve watched it four times. It’s our tradition to watch the DVD when we decorate our Christmas tree. The other three times, it was on television, and I just couldn’t help myself.  Maybe it’s the catchy lyrics and tunes that speak to me:  Sisters, Snow, Count Your Blessings, and the title song. Perhaps it’s the legendary cast of Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Danny Kaye (star of my other favorite musical from the ’50s, The Court Jester— if you haven’t seen it, it is so worth renting if you can find it), or the fact that renowned composer Irving Berlin and I share the same birthday, 74 years apart.

The movie follows the typical formula: boys meet girls, boys dress up as girls and do a song and dance number, one boy loses girl due to a misunderstanding. Boy regains his honor after the communication problem is resolved, and everybody sings a rousing finale.

Now here’s what gets me: the communication issue. If Rosemary’s character would just ask Bing’s character what he is up to instead of jumping to conclusions, none of the problems and aggravation would have happened. Of course the movie would be over in half the time, and we would have missed the other musical classic, Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me and the early choreographic stylings of a very young George Chakiris.

But does this actually happen in real life?  You betcha. All the time. (At least the communication problems do — I can’t vouch for the spontaneous musical productions.) We bring our emotions, assumptions, our own perspective and baggage to a situation instead of keeping an open mind or simply asking neutral questions to clarify circumstances. In sitcoms and movies, it’s entertaining. In real life, it can lead to heartache and frustration.

Here are some suggestions that can help us all communicate better:

  1. Don’t play games. Say what you mean – don’t make someone guess. If something is bothering you, don’t just say “No, it’s fine” and go off in a huff (what is a huff anyway?). If you don’t feel like talking at the time, just say so. People are more likely to respect an honest answer than a grumpy disposition.
  2. Listen. Really listen. As they say, we have two ears and one mouth so we may listen twice as much as we talk.
  3. Think before you speak. Take an extra breath before responding to something that offends you or gets under your skin.
  4. Be aware of your own tone. Try to keep questions and comments neutral.
  5. Use “I” more often than “You” to signify that you are taking responsibility for your feelings during a conversation.
  6. Make eye contact and pay attention to facial expressions and body language — your own and that of your conversation partner. Sometimes gestures and physical bearing are more telling than spoken words.
  7. Keep things light.  End conversations on a positive note whenever possible.

You may be surprised to find that a situation isn’t what you thought it was, and you wasted valuable time and energy on negativity.

So in the end, Bing and Rosemary cleared things up and wrapped up the movie with a “slam bang finish.”  Let’s just hope they learned from their experience: better communication. Perhaps a good New Year’s resolution to consider and a start toward peace on earth and goodwill toward all?  Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy New Year.

One Comment

  1. Barbara says:

    Love the movie and your blog! 🙂 Happy Holidays!

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