Ever hear of the Charles Dickens story "A Christmas Carol?" If you haven't, here's a simple summary: Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy, stingy, and all around sinister man, gets a life-changing wake-up call after being visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve.
Now, I realize that a lot of you are probably thinking "I could never be as mean and selfish as Scrooge is! What does this even have to do with me anyway?" More than you would think, actually.
Look around the building you refer to as home. Notice all the decorations, the smells, the treats, and the lights. What sort of Christmas things surround you? Christmas trees? Mangers? A festive sprig of mistletoe maybe? Pretty great stuff, and things I have around my home too (minus the mistletoe).
What about your kitchen? What sorts of things do you picture savoring on December the 25th? Turkey, stuffing, gravy, and potatoes? Cranberry jelly, hot chocolate, warm cider, and cookies of any and every shape and size? Spiked eggnog, green bean casserole, candied sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, roasted Brussel sprouts? (Okay, maybe not that last one! I won't be eating that either, to be fair).
If you're someone who's around my age (old enough to remember the Nickelodeon splat but young enough to care about taking an idealistic selfie), there may be a few other things around your home: paper tchotchkes, mason jars used for anything and everything, maybe a few handmade glittery trinkets. You've likely looked on Pinterest for all these projects, and attempted to make them look utterly perfect. You're upset that you can't do everything you've pinned, either due to time or money, and you're equally upset that some members of your family don't get "it;" the holidays are a time of giving, giving, and giving. Your SO gave you a diamond necklace this year, but it wasn't as big as your bestie's! Dad gave you a 4-year-old rescue mutt after hearing you wanted a dog, but you were expecting an adorable 6-month-old Yorkie! Mom says times are tight, so she gets you an iPhone 7 this Christmas. (Who has one of those anymore, Mom?!) You know you sound selfish, but you brush it off since you threw some spare change into the Salvation Army bucket at Stop and Shop. Hey, you needed that money for a Starbucks peppermint Frappuccino!
Whoa, take a breather chief. You may not realize this, but you're behaving in a way similar to the old miser. Nothing has made you happy, regardless of what has been bought to you. All you want is everything. Sounds a little miser-like to me.
Now, I'm in no way suggesting that you're a miserable old sinner who cares only for itself. Scrooge is an extreme example of wealth imbalance in Victorian England. However, nowadays people can easily get wrapped up in making their own holidays picture perfect, pinning everything in sight and leaving the bare minimum left for "charitable giving." Outside our mason jar mansions, some people can't even find a measly jam jar. The only sparkly things in their lives are the moonlight reflecting off of soda cans that line the sidewalks. Yet somehow, these people find cheer in simply receiving little bits of change from strangers on the streets. These are the Bob and Tim Cratchits of this world, those who find comfort in people rather than possessions.
No Pinterest project will create a perfect Christmas. But keeping those you love most by your side just might.