A Family Tradition Found In 'The Family Stone'

A Family Tradition Found In 'The Family Stone'

A simple tradition with a complex meaning.

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Every year my family sits down in front of the fireplace, squeezing onto the couches with Dad's famous hot chocolate in hand, to watch our favorite holiday movie: "The Family Stone." If you've never seen this holiday heart-warmer, starring beloved actresses like Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, and Diane Keaton, you're truly missing out on an hour and 45 minutes of pure family drama, chaos, and love.

"The Family Stone" takes place around a family of five children who all return home to spend Christmas together. As soon as the oldest son brings his new girlfriend home, the Stone's become increasingly defensive, sarcastic, and skeptical towards Meredith and her soon-to-be permanent spot in the family, as Everett is planning to pop the question this Christmas. The events that unfold throughout the film depict the natural mayhem that every family encounters, making this movie incredibly relatable. My family also has five children, so this movie rightly touches our hearts as it prompts us to look towards the future at our own Christmas reunions. We always end up predicting the upcoming years, teasing and laughing about who will be the first to get married, who will have the most kids, and who the burden will fall on to have Christmas at their home.

The symbolism in this movie gives it an emotional effect that sparks a reflection on love, life, and strength. The title of the movie not only represents the family, the Stones, but it also represents the heart of the family, their mother, Sybil, played by Diane Keaton. As she is battling breast cancer, she acts as the center of the family, their rock and anchor, staying positive and embracing the disarray that comes with a family of seven. Additionally, Everett asks his mother for the engagement ring she promised to give him when he met "the one." Unconvinced that Meredith fills those shoes, Sybil withholds the ring. This ring is another example of the "family stone," acting as a family heirloom and holding much significance. It is obvious that Everett wishes to marry before his mother passes away, but his mother knows better than to let him make this foolish mistake.

As an incentive for you to see this movie for yourself, I'll refrain from spoiling the ending. I'll leave it up to you to experience how casually, yet effectively, this movie touches on themes such as racism, sexuality, disability, acceptance, judgment, and forgiveness. My family holds this movie close to our hearts, and it has become such a longstanding tradition that I'm struggling to remember when or how it even began. Nevertheless, it is an important and necessary part of our holiday tradition, because as cliché as it may sound, it really does remind us of the true meaning of Christmas: spending valuable time with family, practicing forgiveness, spreading kindness, and embracing the seasonal spirit. I invite you to adopt my family's tradition and add an entertaining and simultaneously meaningful aspect to your holiday celebrations.

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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Odyssey, From A Creator's Point Of View

Writing for Odyssey is transitioning from the outside looking in, to the inside looking a million ways at once.

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It's 11:59 p.m. and I have two articles due tomorrow afternoon: two articles that are basically figments of my imagination at this point. When I was asked to write for Odyssey, I was ecstatic. I was a devout reader in high school and found every post so #relatable. During my short time as a "creator" for Odyssey, I've experienced what it's like to be on the other side of the articles.

Every post is not #relatable. This is a platform for anyone and everyone. I chose the articles I wanted to click on and read them, deemed them relatable, and clicked share. I, along with Odyssey's 700,000 something followers, did not go through and read every single article.

Being a creator has shown me that everyone has a voice, and by God, they're going to use it (rightfully so).

It can be disheartening at times to get what we think is a low number of page views when there are articles we don't necessarily agree with getting hundreds of Facebook shares. I don't crank out journalistic gold by any means, but being a writer isn't a walk in the park. It's stressful at times and even disappointing. Odyssey creators aren't paid, and even though it's liberating to be able to write about whatever our hearts desire, I'll be the first to admit that my life is just not that interesting.

When I first started writing for Odyssey, I vowed to never post anything basic like some things I have read in the past. If I'm going to dedicate the time it takes to write for a national platform, I'm going to publish things worth reading.

That vow is basically out the window now.

Simply stated, it's easy to write about things that are easy to write about. It's kind of like calling a Hail Mary play when it's the night before an article is due and there's been a topic in the back of your mind for days that you don't think is that great, but you think people might read. You just throw it out there and hope for the best. Being a creator gives you inside access to knowing what people are reading, what's popular, and what's working for other creators. Odyssey's demographic is not as diverse as it could or should be, so it's not hard to pick out something that the high school girl you once were will find relatable. Recently went through a breakup? Write about it. Watched a new show on Netflix? Write about it. When there's nothing holding you back, you have the freedom to literally put whatever you want online.

It's not easy coming out of your freshman year of college, one of the hardest years for any person, and being expected to whip up articles that everyone will love. Not everyone is going to love what I write. Heck, not everyone is going to like what I write. The First Amendment is a blessing and a curse. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and that's okay.

The beauty of Odyssey is that it highlights the fact that everyone DOES have a voice, and whether that voice coincides with your religious, political, or personal views isn't up to you.

You have the power to pick and choose what you want to read, relate to, and share. Remember that you have no way of knowing what every single person on the planet is going through and what they choose to write about reflects their own personal opinions, experiences, accomplishments, and hardships. Odyssey creators can spend weeks crafting articles they hope will break the Internet, but in return only get a few views. They can also pull all-nighters grasping at straws just trying to reach the minimum word requirement and end up writing the best thing since sliced bread.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that even though there are posts out there that are so easy for us to relate to, that's not always the goal for writers. We write what we feel, and if there's nothing to write about, we write what we think other people feel. The kicker is that we don't truly know what other people are feeling. You might hurt someone's feelings with your words. You might make someone cry with your story because they felt like they were alone and finally, finally, someone else feels the same way. You might trigger someone and get hateful comments. You might even change someone's life with your words.

The moral of the story is that words are pretty powerful, whether we choose to believe it or not.

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