The holiday season is amazing. This time of year is hands-down one of my very favorites. I love how busy and full it is. I love rushing from place to place buying and delivering gifts, baking and decorating cookies, hanging lights and trimming trees, but unfortunately, real life isn't a Hallmark movie and sometimes all of that fun holiday hustle and bustle can get stressful. I know for me this year, it was beginning to make me feel like Christmas was slipping away from me and that I wasn't taking time to enjoy it. I'm usually OK with being around people all the time during the Christmas season, but this overload of things to do and not enough time to just enjoy was really draining my "social batteries." I was exhausted and resentful and more than that, I was beginning to wish that my favorite time of year could just be over and done with.
Cue Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
I had read the book one before in high school and thought "ehh, this is pretty good. I'll probably read it again at some point." That was four years ago. This year, I was already considering rereading this Christmas classic even before my mini holiday meltdown thanks to an article that my mom sent me and just the fact that it had been such a long time. But after realizing how much I needed introvert time if I was going to be able to enjoy the Christmas season, I knew it was time to pick it up again.
So, on four different nights when I was feeling particularly exhausted, I ventured off with Ebenezer Scrooge and the three spirits. I was reintroduced to characters like Jacob Marley and Bob Cratchit. And, most importantly, I found the spirit of Christmas waiting for me there. That feeling that I had been missing this season was there for me in this tiny book. And so I took refuge in reading it. And I found that I began to feel a lot happier during the busy days when errands had to be run and mass chaos ensued. I began to feel more like my usual Christmas elf self.
I, like so many others, let this little book lead be out of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and back to the true heart of what Christmas is about. I never thought that it would be me who needed it, as someone who proudly stays up until the clock changes over to November 1 from Halloween just so I can play "It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas." I never imagined that I would need to deliberately set aside this little quiet slice of time to sit back and enjoy the fact that it's Christmas. But I can say that I'm so glad I did. Though I didn't undergo an Ebenezer Scrooge transformation by any means, I do feel like the book changed me a little bit this holiday season.
My favorite passage of the book is one that almost never gets quoted in movie adaptations of the story, but Dickens wrote that
"some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him."
For me taking some time to myself to recharge socially this Christmas, though it's something I never would have dreamed of doing before, has helped me to laugh and be joyful in this season again. And, as cheesy as it sounds, if the holidays are becoming too much for you too, I hope you find your own A Christmas Carol to bring back your joy.
"And it was always said of the, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!"