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I would like to take a moment to stand up in defense of holiday villains. You know who I mean: They’re the green, wrinkly, sneaky looking creatures who you’ve seen on your television as of late. They’re giant snow monsters; heat misers; wet bandits; greedy old men with catchphrases like “bah humbug”, and green grouches who live in the mountains.
It’s obvious these miserable beings want nothing to do with merriment, which you might be willing to overlook if they would agree to live and let live. But instead, they diabolically plot to rid the world of all holiday cheer… which is difficult for any jolly happy soul to comprehend. It’s no wonder most people assume these creatures are wicked down to their core.
This year, though, I’ve watched these “villains” with an open mind and I’m starting to see them in a different light. True their behavior is questionable, but are they inherently wicked?
I ask you this: Are there not understandable reasons why someone might want to shut out the holidays, skip parties, and turn off the music? Why must we assume a creature is terrible simply because they don’t want to join in the reindeer games?
I will stand up and be counted as someone who’s had her fair share of unenthusiastic holidays. I know what it’s like to wake up one day and realize something that previously brought me great joy has suddenly become grating and agitating. Sometimes it is the very memory of the aforementioned joy that makes the absence of such delight feel so devastating.
The loss of holiday joy is especially demoralizing because everyone around you feels it and wants you to know about it. The timeframe for their holiday happiness is only about 5 weeks long, so they go all out and live it. I have always been able to understand this desire, even in my most apathetic state, but insistent enthusiasm is especially intimidating for those who can’t find a way to get into the spirit.
It’s often hard for people to understand how anyone could resist the holiday spirit: “Get over it. Move on. Make different choices. Focus on the positive. Be grateful,” they say, “We’re so happy. Everyone is happy. Why can’t you be happy?”
What people sometimes fail to realize is that things like grief, depression, and anxiety are not choices; they are all-consuming states of being. They are the wicked, selfish, stealers of joy and happiness, and those who experience them wake up and wage war on them every day—holiday or no holiday.
Now I’m sure there are a handful of holiday villains who are truly cold at heart, but more than likely the disheveled woman standing in the corner at the office holiday party is not; nor is the friend who does not want to participate in the Secret Santa Gift Exchange or the child who doesn’t enthusiastically shout-sing Jingle Bells at the holiday recital. Give these people the benefit of the doubt before you typecast them as bad… because there’s a good chance they’re good people who’ve had a bad year.
We all have times when we feel awful. If you feel like a grouch this year, give yourself a break; there will be other years. Do what you can to keep moving forward and perhaps next year things will look a little bit better. If you know someone who’s having a tough year, try to reserve a little patience and compassion for them, yes even when they dampen your holiday cheer.
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