What makes a Scrooge?

Don’t be such a Scrooge! OH Hum Bug! You’re a Grinch!

Have you ever called someone a scrooge or a Grinch? Made jokes about someone’s misery at Christmas? What if we asked ourselves instead – why is that person so miserable? What happened to him/her that caused them to have distaste for Christmas?

Christmastime is often trying for people who have experienced a recent death a family member, or they might be far away from home during the Christmas season and won’t be able to spend it with their families. Perhaps there are some that are homeless. Some are runaways that left a very abusive home, but still miss their mom. Some people who live with an abusive addict might experience even more abuse during the holiday season. I doubt they look forward to Christmas.

There are tons of memes all over social media that proclaim things like:

Christmas is not about what is under the tree, but about the family that surrounds it.

Share this for every soldier/police officer/ firefighter/ nurse/doctor who can’t be with their family this Christmas.

In our attempt to remind people that Christmas is about love and sharing, or to honor those soldiers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police etc. working during Christmas, the memes can sometimes have the opposite effect and create a feeling of guilt or shame in someone who is struggling during this season. What about the 7-11 worker, or the gas station attendant that resents having to work Christmas day but has to in order to feed their family? There is likely someone who works over the holiday that doesn’t have a meme in their honor. What about the people who choose to work because they don’t have a loving family? What if that person doesn’t celebrate Christmas?

A person who experiences emotional or physical abuse during the holidays will express their dislike for the holiday in one way or another. They might give excuses like ‘Christmas has become too commercial’, or ‘people have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas’. Maybe they have a shorter temper than normal. Should these folks all be called scrooge or a Grinch?

Christmas IS about love. Christmas IS about peace. Christmas IS about spreading joy. It IS about spending time with those that you love and are important to you, but it is also about understanding and compassion. We don’t always know what really goes on in the homes of friends and family members, and we certainly don’t know what is happening in the life of people we don’t know at all.

If you see someone, or know someone who is struggling during this time of year, try not to judge them. Maybe they are struggling with something that is going on in their life right now, or can’t shake memories of something that went on in the past. Allow your heart to open to that person’s struggle, quietly send them love. BE the Christmas Spirit!

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