I'll be honest. If the queen in Snow White were to ask her mirror who is the Scroogiest of them all, it might say my name. It may be the overbearing encroachment of the Christmas season on Halloween and Thanksgiving that throws me off, or it may be the over-commercialization of this sacred time of year. Either way, it can be difficult to get me in the spirit. But here are some ways I commit to trying to overcome my inner Scrooge and enjoy the Christmas season as it should be.
1. Count your blessings
No matter what situation you find yourself in life, there are blessings that you have received throughout the year for which to be grateful. Take some time to think back on your experiences and show your gratitude to God and others.
2. Focus on the moment
The end of the year can be a stressful time. Between a packed schedule, year-end deadlines at work or the upcoming tax season, it's easy to get distracted from what matters most at this time. Remove yourself from the stress and focus on the moment you're sharing with family and friends. Enjoy the cup of cocoa. Enjoy watching the kids play with their toys. Close your eyes and just enjoy the moment.
3. Do one of your favorite childhood traditions
When I was young, I used to love watching Christmas movies. But over time, I got tired of watching the same ones over and over again. The other night, we put on one of my favorites as a child, and I did my best to experience the movie as I did when I was a child, and I really enjoyed it. Take some time to think about your favorite childhood traditions and reconnect with the joy you felt by reliving them.
4. Remove the garbage from your heart
The reason why Scrooge was so anti-Christmas was because of bad experiences he had in the past. If you have had bad experiences connected to Christmas or anything else, remove it from your heart and let the light of the season shine through.
Love is what Christmas is all about. Love shared with family, friends, and even perfect strangers. There's something about this time of year that gets people in the mood to show an extra portion of love. Consider the love you share with the people you care about and let that be the focus of how you spend your time during this time of year.
6. Get outside yourself
Scrooge was one of the most selfish people in literature, caring about himself and his money more than anything else. Don't be that person. Take some time to serve others. Do a Sub for Santa or participate in a food drive. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or invite a family in need to your Christmas dinner. Whatever it is, put others first.
There's more than enough stress to go around right now, so take some steps to cut out some of the unnecessary fat. Shop online instead of at the mall. Cut back on how many parties you attend. Take steps to save a little here and there. Don't go overboard with the decorations. In other words, simplify so that you have more energy to be present with your loved ones.
8. Have some perspective
Yes, you're going to hear all the same songs and watch all the same movies every year. And yes you have to put up those lights again. But just remember that there's really no reason to get your stockings in a twist. What matters most is that you're doing all these things with the people you care about. If you feel like you're starting to lose your cool, take some deep breaths. It's all going to be over in a few weeks, and you can get on with your life.
9. Eat, drink, be merry
I may not love everything about Christmas, but I do love the food! Of course, be mindful not to go overboard. But enjoy the extra treats that come around during Christmastime.
10. Embrace your humbug, and then get over it
Mr. Scrooge's kindred spirit, the Grinch, doesn't completely overcome his grumpy demeanor (at least in Jim Carrey's version). In fact, it's his cantankerous manner that makes him so endearing. That being said, he was able to embrace that part of him while also enjoying the magic of Christmas.
So, if you're like me, let this Christmas be the year when you reach deep into yourself, admit you have a problem, and work toward embracing Christmas in all its glory. You don't have to be perfect, but I guarantee you'll be a lot happier if you try.