So a few years ago, my mom confessed that she hates the Grinch. I was completely taken aback by this; I thought love of the Grinch was a universal constant, not unlike dislike of the way bowling alleys smell. Just the title sequence, with the Whos singing "Welcome Christmas" gets me a little misty.... LONG LIVE THE GRINCH! I will tell you why so many people (my Mother being in obvious and flagrant violation of this) connect with Dr. Seuss's hairy green confection: WE ARE THE GRINCH. Every last one of us. We are strapping the sawed off horn to Max's head and cracking the whip because the holidays are GRINCH SEASON and we all experience the pain of having a heart that is two sizes too small.
When does it hit you? For me, it happened just this morning as I woke up with that panicked, tight chested feeling that CHRISTMAS IS COMING and I am SO WAY FAR BEHIND where I need to be at this point. Sure, I have my Christmas cards bought and even those cute Christmas stamps. Yes, I have actually sent my very first Christmas package. Wow, I am so lucky to have a Ho-ho-ho COSTCO membership so I can send an awesome The Fruit Company Tower of treats for $29.99 shipping included, because that checks a whole lotta people off my list, stat. But CHRISTMAS IS COMING and every Christmas of my adult life I have played host to someone and I live far, far, away from my nearest and dearest so the post office becomes my second home except THANK YOU AMAZON PRIME for EXISTING and how-in-the-hell-did-people-do-this-before-the-internet-was-created-thank-you-Al-Gore? I should hashtag that one, right???
Christmas is magic. Christmas is about believing in wishes come true and a mystical spirit that actually NOTICES when we are good and rewards us for it; how awesome would that be??? How satisfying would it be to see the bad punished and the good rewarded? How uplifting is it when the Grinch (or Scrooge, take your pick) realizes that he is a complete and total DIRTBAG and man(s) up and stops being the selfish-brat-abstinent-hoarder-that-he-is??? I should probably hashtag that one, too. Christmas is about NOT being a DIRTBAG in a BIG way and recognizing that most other people aren't dirtbags either. Christmas is magic.
For most of us, though, the holidays are pressure. Pressure to go, be, and do things that are completely beyond our capacity. Pressure to be MAGIC ourselves. A few years back, I had a Christmas epiphany--or miracle, as you prefer it. I was losing my mind over all the Christmas cards I still write a personal note in, having a nervous breakdown over the dozens of pounds of fudge I make for teachers, neighbors, mail personnel and friends, freaking out over the myriad of packages that "needed" to be mailed and suddenly I said to myself: THIS IS YOUR CHOICE. If you don't like your choice, make another one. If you do like your choice, GO AHEAD, but STOP being such a giant baby about it. I chose the latter. Business as usual, without the big baby attitude. And now? I enjoy the holidays SO MUCH MORE.
The truth is, it is so much easier to be a Grinch than to be a Christmas Angel. People will support your curmudgeonly ways, too, because we all feel so overwhelmed we are invigorated to see anyone break from the pack. "Run, Forrest, run!" is what we think as we watch you willfully abstain from participating in the three-ring-circus-that-has-become-the-holidays (#)? But guess what? Christmas is our annual invitation to let our hearts grow THREE sizes that day. We can shrink away from it, go on strike, do whatever we feel is necessary to remove ourselves from the chaos, but at the end of the day Christmas is an open invitation. To do more, open ourselves to new and exciting possibilities, experience joy as we never have before. It waits for us, calls to us, returns for us. So how many Christmases do YOU need before you have your Grinch/Scrooge epiphany?
THANK YOU for every card you send, every greeting you share. THANK YOU for every gift you choose, whether thoughtfully or out of obligation. THANK YOU for understanding that even though going-through-the-motions is all we can achieve sometimes, often it is enough. THANK YOU for not being the Grinch, even though every green fiber of your being says that this is the way to go. We all experience conversion at some point in our lives. We all know that the "right thing" to do and the easy thing to do are almost always polar opposites. We all know that CHRISTMAS IS COMING, whether we like it or not, and our participation, while voluntary, is measured in a He-sees-you-when-you-are-sleeping (#) kind of way. THANK YOU for being awesome. We see you. When you are sleeping, and when you are awake. Isn't it amazing how often you choose to be kind and generous rather than mean and stingy, even without an audience? HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you. The world is a better place because your heart is officially three sizes too big.