Some of my best friends are scrooges. I don’t call them that because they are stingy or mean-spirited. Quite the opposite—some are the most generous people I know. They just cannot wait for December 25 to come – and go!
They hate the music. They hate the obligatory gift-giving and shameless commercialism. They hate the cheer overload. Some sink into a deep depression. Some leave the country to avoid all of these things. One friend told me recently that she consciously intends to stay in a dead-end relationship until the new year because she does not want to spend the holidays alone.
I have one message for folks who hate the holidays: This, too, shall pass.
The holidays are not a happy time for many people. They may bring up painful memories or reinforce feelings of loneliness. The holidays may feel phony for people who work to cultivate a spirit of generosity year-round, like the many supporters of the Women’s Foundation of California. They don’t wait until December 31 to write a check (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). They volunteer all year long, they call their representatives about a bill to protect the health of women workers and they mentor a young woman in their community. They think all seasons qualify as “giving” seasons.
I appreciate when people transform their holiday blues into something fun or charitable—hosting a pot luck with friends, going camping off the grid, or volunteering to spend time with people for whom a hot meal and warm blanket are higher on the wish list than the latest electronic gadget.
I believe we can make the holidays whatever we choose, including nothing at all. I don’t think everyone needs to love this time of year. My inner elf, however, hopes we all remember what we are grateful for and that we impart some love into the world—to our families, friends, strangers and those who may need our advocacy. I hope that all the time, not just between November 25 and January 1.
To my scrooge friends I say: 4 days, 9 hours, 24 minutes and counting…