We all know someone who loves to "Bah Humbug" through the holidays. In fact, we're probably all guilty of letting the stress of the holidays make a Scrooge of us all at some point between Thanksgiving and New Years. I have learned, over the years, that sometimes, having a Scrooge moment can actually save Christmas. Yes, you read that right. Here are my tips for dealing with a Scrooge, or accepting your inner-Scrooge.
1) Let yourself really experience the emotion that is running through you. Don't toss it aside because you are 'supposed' to be super cheerful. If you have an off day or a moment of pure selfishness, resentfulness, whatever - feel it, deal with it and move on. By dealing with it right away, you are lessening the chance of a bigger, more painful Scrooge moment. CASE IN POINT: A few years back my family had plans to go to Chicago for Christmas. I planned on going, and at the last minute, I was not able to get off work. I worked at the airport, and while the store was not 24/7, we were open just about everyday - Christmas being one of them. So my family packed up and headed north and left me behind. On the outside I encouraged it, as my mom's brother had passed away the Christmas before and I knew she wanted to be near her sister, but inside I was a mess. I was left alone on Christmas. It took me two years to finally admit it bugged me, but I harvested that resentment and it was made a bigger issue than it really was. After all, I worked a 16 hour shift that day, so I wouldn't have seen them much anyhow.
2) Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Sometimes a person acts like a Scrooge to guard their real feelings. Other times, being a Scrooge is easier than facing real life. Instead of huffing and puffing about their huffing and puffing, be kind. Offer words of encouragement or a simple "Merry Christmas" to everyone who seems upset. You never know if that will make their day or not. CASE IN POINT: Another story from my days at the airport. There was a passenger who ended up stuck in the terminal for two days because of poor conditions at their destination. I was working doubles both days and this man frequented my store. He was very rude and at first I thought it was because of the delay. He snapped at me constantly, told me I was too slow in ringing out his purchase, complained about the size of the office he rented and nothing could make him happy. Finally, towards the end of my second day putting up with it, I asked what his problem was. He stood there and started crying. Then apologized. Then told me his story. It turns out earlier that year he lost both parents in a car accident and his wife had been diagnosed with some rare disease that has little chance of survival. She was in the hospital (in the city he was headed to) and he was stuck in Cincinnati. The doctors called to say they felt she was holding on to say good-bye and he needed to cut his business trip short. The airlines had lost one bag when he arrived in Cincinnati and his cell phone charger had disappeared at some point during his stay in the airport. After hearing his story, I realized that he was dealing with a lot and just needed someone to talk to. After our conversation, I told him to have safe travels and a Merry Christmas. I was the FIRST person all year to tell him Merry Christmas. Everyone else had said Happy Holidays. He was so excited to hear Merry Christmas that he hugged me and promised to be in touch about his wife (I told him I would pray for her). I never did hear from him, but the conversation, smile and hug made it all worthwhile. Sometimes a Scrooge is just a person in need in disguise.
3) If you are confronted with a Scrooge and don't have the time to sit and converse with that person, simply wish them a Merry Christmas and a smile and be on their way. It's just like my momma always said - kill them with kindness.
4) If you are the Scrooge, take a deep breath and walk away. The holidays are very overwhelming, so turn down a dinner party invitation or take a half day at work to take some time for yourself. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose track of the real reason we celebrate. So take the time. A few hours to yourself, doing something you love, is just what the doctor ordered.
Do you have a Scrooge moment you would like to share? Tell me about it in the comments section and be entered to win a Christmas Surprise! Share this tweet for an extra entry "@BuddyBits is giving away a Christmas Surprise. Enter at www.buddy-bits.blogspot.com" Contest closes on 12/19.