Does Christmas bring out the best or worst in us? Here’s a spot check to see how we compare to 12 common people who emerge during the holidays.
The Christmas Spirit
These are the good old folks full of holiday cheer and all things seasonal. Whether decorating trees, stringing lights or wearing all manner of red and green, they gladly do it to the fullest. And yes, their love for cliché Christmas traditions seems cheesy and annoying at times. However, in the end they usually mean well.
Whether bad past experiences or recent problems, something has definitely soured them this season. But what truly qualifies them to be a scrooge is the damper they often put on those trying to enjoy themselves. Sometimes they have a real disdain for Christmas, but other times they are simply one of the other personalities masquerading as a scrooge. Either way, an act or two of warm kindness could be enough to melt their frosty exterior.
They pack the Black Fri… Thursday lines and can begin stashing gifts months in advance. They frequently get exactly what you want, yet expect you to be surprised every time. And should they be unable to acquire pretty much everything on everyone’s list, they feel a measure of guilt. Unfortunately, avoiding that guilt is at times used to justify incurring debt. But it’s all good because in their mind, they are actually philanthropists.
Maybe they would be more into the holidays, but they just cannot get past all the commercialization that has crept in over the years. Therefore, they approach this season with skepticism that it is ever about anything more than money. Yet, some will choose to avoid the bitter route by choosing presents from the heart over easy grabs from the shelf. But, they could also be the next personality in disguise.
They may pose as a Scrooge or Anti-Consumerist, but their real reason for laying off the gifts is keeping their wallet dent free. They may even be a generous person when it matters. But the idea of spending untold sums on items soon to occupy dark spaces in basements, closets and toy chests seems utterly absurd. Gift bags are always reused and unwanted gifts are re-gifted to someone else. But be honest. Some will regularly gift purchases from stores containing “dollar” in their title.
The Conflicted Celebrant
They will gladly partake in all the joy and merriment. Giving and receiving is not really an issue with this group. But a problem quickly arises should there be any reference to the religious aspects associated with Christmas. And rather than simply swear off the whole thing, they instead throw out baby Jesus to preserve the Christmas bathwater. Either do it or leave it alone, because this halfway thing is really confusing.
These are the people who focus almost exclusively on the religious components of Christmas. No decorations (minus a nativity scene), Santa or non-religious carols. The holiday is about the birth of Jesus into the world. Nothing more, nothing less. But as principled as their stance may be, they must be wary not to become so staunch they actually drive away the very people said baby came to reach.
They offer mounds of information about the origins of Christmas; unsolicited of course. In fact, they likely tend to do so about most other holidays as well. If not talking about the treatment of Native Americans immediately following Thanksgiving, they mention how Christmas was originally a pagan holiday. But after learning history unfiltered by cultural blinders, most people fail to resist cynicism for too long.
Despite abundant societal pressure to make Christmas all about themselves and their loved ones, they make a difference in someone else’s life. They take the motto that it is better to give than receive to heart. Helping the needy and lonely is more fulfilling than giving more to those who already have plenty. One word of caution would be to not become so cause-driven, family and friends become a sacrifice on that journey.
They mimic the habits of a volunteer; once or twice a year. But just as the Shopper’s giving is more about a pretext to consume, the Vol-imposter does service to merely feel better about themselves. The tale-tell sign is how quickly they normally look for reasons not to help others, yet are just as quick to broadcast their good intentions. Saying they gave a little back eases their conscience since they normally take so much.
Carrying no torch for or gripe against Christmas, they have become completely indifferent. Perhaps the kids being older or a desire to avoid family quarrels has led to it being just another day. There may be a decent dinner, but expecting festivities from them is a bit much. However, grandkids are often a remedy to breaking this cycle.
They are lonely or have come to associate tragedy with this time of the year. Many have a legitimate reason to feel down. Unlike the Scrooge spreading pain around, they really hope for someone to help them carry it. They can often be mistaken for a scrooge. However, the reality is these are the very people a holiday said to be about goodwill towards men should be most concerned with comforting.
Most people will find themselves to be a mixture of several types listed above. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle we may get caught in, we should always take a step back and reexamine our actions and motives. We may discover a chance to reinvent who we truly want to be this Christmas.
By Corey Dorsey
Image by inky2010