Have a Scrooge-Free Holiday Season
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Are you Tiny Tim or are you Scrooge? A Who from Whoville, or the Grinch? How do you want to be remembered during the Holiday Season?
A Christmas Carol, with grumpy Scrooge and sweet Tiny Tim, is a reminder to everyone - big and small - how negative gestures or positive, innocent comments can make or break a person's spirit. When someone greets you with "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hannukah," or "Happy Holidays" do you respond in kind? Are your words and deeds and facial expressions reflective of Scrooge or Tim?
As we embark on this Season of Giving, ask yourself: How do I want people to feel when I'm around them? Do I want to Grinch it out: sour, irritated, and generally in a bad mood? Do I want to give to others - even just a smile - in order to make another person's day a little brighter?
During this season of the year, where we as humans can truly make a difference in the lives of others, these are questions you may want to consider. Perhaps you can simply decide to NOT be a Scrooge. With a little self-reminding, a "God Bless Us, Everyone," mindset isn't that hard to achieve.
Here are five suggestions:
1) Be Festive. Don't complain about how difficult your life is. No one wants to hear about about how hard it was to get to your destination, the traffic, the price of presents, how hard you worked during the week, or how tired you are. This is a festive time of year and you will be attending festive occasions. Complaining won't make you feel better, it will just bring others down to what may be interpreted as Scrooge-tendencies. Stay upbeat and stop complaining. Much like counting your blessings, laying off the complaints and looking for the happy may very well elevate your mood.
2) Make a hearty attempt to be a good host. Read my articles, "Being a Good Host(ess)." And for a comical read of what not to do, check out "The Rotten Dinner Host" and "The Holidays and Being a Good Host".
2a) Be flexible. Yes, traffic sucks and your guests might be late. They may arrive grumpy and starving. But, hey, they have arrived and that's what is important. Sometimes food burns, gets overcooked, or is a little dry. While that's unfortunate, being irritable isn't going to make the gravy less lumpy. More than likely it will make everyone around you uncomfortable.
2b) Laugh off the difficulties and enjoy the people around you right now at this moment. It's the Holidays and you are hosting a fantastic party!! We can all work to keep it festive. Pour yourself another glass of wine and don't stress about it. Don't make your guests feel like they are in the way, irritating you, or if they had just done something different the brie wouldn't oozed out all over the oven. Accept the trials. Enjoy those who have graced you with their presence in your home and have a fantastic time.
3) Likewise, be a good guest. My articles "Arriving Early for a Holiday Party," "Gifts for Hostesses and Hosts," as well as "The Rotten Dinner Guest" give broad, and narrow, options of what to do and not to do.
3a) As a guest, go with the flow. If everyone wants to watch old slides, play a game, or just generally visit, then take part. Don't pull out your phone or hide in the back room so you can watch football by yourself because that's what you want to do. This is a party - a gathering for goodness sake. You are surrounded by a group of people. It's time to play the part of the guest who is enjoying the company they chose to surround themselves with. If you can't do this, you shouldn't come. Re-read that last sentence. You being there isn’t going to make or break the party. You being there and being a jerk, or a complainer, or just a freeloader who eats but doesn’t take part in anything else will not only break the party, it will ensure you are NEVER invited back again.
3b) Making yourself the lone bird in the flock just irritates the flock. No one will miss your scrooginess. While your antics are irritating to everyone now, everyone is also seriously considering NOT inviting you to the next party.
4) Consider those who make your life easier and acknowledge how important they are in your life and recognize them. Your babysitter, hair stylist, house cleaner, milk man, landscaper, paper boy and barista do their jobs well in order to make a difference in your life. Are you making a difference in theirs? Would they be happier supplying their services to someone other than you?
4a) Think about it. Odds are they could easily survive without you. But can you survive without them? These people who you see once a day, week or month, work hard to help you look better, breathe easier and enjoy life more. If it wasn't for them you'd be insanely busy, with a dirty house and crappy yard. You wouldn't know what's happening in the world and you'd be in a perpetually bad mood because your double-tall, half-decaf, four pump, no whip, non-fat mocha wouldn't be nestled in your hand right now.
Finally, we live in a day and age where we can make our own hours, do what we want when we want and shut ourselves off from society if that's what we chose to do. That, however, is contrary to how society works. We are social creatures. And if you have trouble with being social, staying away isn't going to make your life easier. It's just going to isolate you more. So when you are invited to attend a party, or an outing of some sort, accept. Read the above steps and partake in the revelry. Acknowledge someone who makes life easier for you, or greets you with a smile. Check in on my article about greeting people in your neighborhood. Don't judge if a gathering is "lame" or "boring." Those around you might be tagging you as the lame, boring guest because you just can't figure out how to relax and have fun.
So get over yourself, Scrooge. Have a Grinch-free Thanksgiving....or Christmas...or Hanukkah...or Kwanza...or New Year. And Cheers!!!