Deck halls with boughs of holly? Oh shut up! Tis the season to be jolly? Go sit on an egg!
I admit it - I’ve evolved into something of a Scrooge around the holiday season.
I don’t hate it, I just don’t really get hype for it. Just not my thing, for a variety of reasons.
I wasn’t always this way, but I can remember first feeling a twinge of this around 1995. That was the first Christmas after my paternal grandmother died. I was around 14, just coming into adolescence, fresh out of braces, smack dab in the middle of teen angst and swirling in the confusion of boys, first kisses, crushes and stuff. And she was the one I could talk to about all of the changes, fears and frustrations I was going through when I didn’t want to worry my parents about it. We were very close. I still miss her.
Then, there was Christmas 2000. My maternal grandfather had been diagnosed with lymphoma earlier that year. He was always so strong and positive, a gentle man. And through all of the chemo and radiation and everything else, he still remained strong. But as we all stood around the kitchen that year, saying what we were grateful for, we all knew it was probably going to be his last. It was. I still miss him too.
And ever since, there’s just always been some kind of melancholy surrounding the holiday for me. Some years are way better than most, but for the most part, there’s always this underlying hint of sadness for me.
Two years ago, the weekend before Christmas, I lost a dear childhood friend who was robbed and killed. He truly was a good guy. Never been in trouble or anything. A hardworking husband and father. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This past Sunday, on the anniversary of his death, I was comforting my best friend. She’d just found her father suddenly dead of pneumonia the night before. I’m going to that funeral Saturday.
This is not a happy post and I realize that. This is the point where my sister would promptly insert “Thanks Donecia Downer,” a take on the Saturday Night Live character Debbie Downer who always seems to find the negative in everything. That’s not me. I just want to express that sometimes it’s hard for people to get into the spirit of Christmas cheer. The reality is, we all experience pain and loss.
Fortunately, every year, like a Christmas miracle I’ve always been blessed to end up having a merry Christmas, but I know there are plenty of people who don’t. Plenty of folks who’ve suffered much greater pain and loss, terrible experiences and memories than what I’ve mentioned.
But we all walk around with smiles attempting to make it a joyous celebration anyway. Some of us focus on the actual true meaning of the holiday – the birth of Jesus Christ – to get through. Some of us cling close to loved ones. Some of us overload on Christmas décor and food. Some of us opt for holiday shopping ourselves into bankruptcy. Many probably do all of the above.
But know that there’s always a Scrooge among us. So if you spot him or her, don’t be so hard on him or her when they don’t feel like joining you in yule-tide carols. Don’t force it down their throats. Leave ‘em be. Just don’t leave them alone.
And in case you happen to be one of those Scrooges with a serious humbug, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Maybe this is just one way to help you get started.