Bah Humbug. Why It’s Okay to be More Like Scrooge at Christmas

The name Ebenezer Scrooge, the principle character from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol has become synonymous for embittered miserliness and especially for someone who does not embrace the ‘spirit of Christmas’. At the start of his journey he cares nothing for people and is only interested in money. By the end of the story Scrooge was a changed man. He discovered the true meaning of Christmas. His name became synonymous with altruism and generosity. He was Mr Christmas.

A Christmas Carol is a story of redemption. It is a tale of values and how to focus on what truly matters in life. It was set in a bleak time of abject poverty and the social injustice of the casualties of the Industrial revolution. The story has resonance with modern-day austerity cuts where the most vulnerable in society have had to pay for the mistakes of the most affluent (. . . steps off soapbox. . .) Back to the main point.

humbugChristmas seems to start earlier every year. Cards and decorations appear in the shops around August. It has little or nothing to do with the values that Scrooge rediscovered by the end of the tale. Modern-day Christmas is driven by the values of the pre-enlightened Scrooge. In a perverse twist and turn around, those who decry commercialism are branded ‘Scrooge’ or ‘Ebenezer’ or chided with the statement ‘bah humbug’.

It’s true that Christmas is a real hugger-mugger of a festival and means different things to different people. In A Christmas Carol, Dickens did a lot to bring together disparate traditions and associations surrounding the Yuletide season. He helped us to re-embrace the pagan and yet at the heart of the story, there is a universal sense of humanity. So we have a pagan festival, hijacked by the Christian Church, in part, unified by Dickens and now hijacked by commercialism. Christmas is something that can now only be purchased and if you don’t have money then you are excluded. No doubt it will continue to evolve and mutate with more ‘traditions’ added. Hopefully, somewhere in the mix there will be space to re-discover what Scrooge discovered: If it’s not about people then it truly is humbug.

Happy People-mas

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About the author

Picture: Dr Gary Wood author of Unlock Your ConfidenceDr Gary Wood is a social psychologist and life coach. He is author of Unlock Your Confidence which is based on his confidence-building workshops. Gary is based in Birmingham and Edinburgh where he runs his own training and coaching practice and research consultancy. He also offers coaching worldwide through Skype. Contact Gary by email to see how his solution focused (life) coaching approach would benefit you or your organization. See: Testimonials from former clients.

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A Celebration of Romance, Time to Feel Smug or the Time to Set Romantic Goals? St Valentine’s Day.

Undoubtedly there are mixed feelings about St Valentine’s Day. For some people it’s a celebration of their relationship and for others it’s a once-a-year wake-up call to do something romantic. For others it has nothing at all to do with love but just another opportunity for businesses to fleece us of our hard-earned cash through this annual, somewhat gaudy guilt trip. For many, currently not in a romantic relationship, it’s a time to feel ‘singled out’ for a bit of self-esteem battering. So what are we to make of it?

The 14th of February is a day just like any other to which we have attached meaning. Thankfully, it’s not a ‘one meaning fits all’ day. We buy out of the overly commercial aspects and create meaning of our own. We can have an alternative St Valentine’ Day. So it might be an oppotunity to expand your definition of love.

Self-Love on Valentine’s Day

There’s a lot more to love than the romantic kind. We can start with self-love. No, not in that sense, but if it that floats your boat, at least finish reading this post. What I’m taking about is being kind to yourself. If you happen to be single, then focus on the good things about being single. An arbitrary day shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself. Do something nice for yourself today. Do something that maybe you have been putting off.

Love: Generally not Specifically

Love is more than buying your partner a greeting card. Think about all the people to whom you are connected. Think about something nice that you can do for them today. If you are single, then get together with single friends and celebrate friendship. Reconnect with a long lost friend and make a phone call. Give someone encouragement to follow an ambition or goal. Give someone a compliment or praise. Show gratitude and give thanks for what you have and the people in your life. Just do something that’s not about you but about other people.

First Day of the Romantic Year

Whether you are in a traditional relationship, an alternative relationship or single, use today as the first day of the romantic year and set some goals. How would you like things to be over the coming year? What would be the tiny steps that things have begin to change in line with your goals? What small step can you make today to make this start to happen? Sometimes we take ourselves for granted, take others for granted and take our current situations for granted. Maybe today is the day to stop this and to engage more. Here are links to all of my goal-setting posts.

If not of this helps then wear black and play Death Metal music all day. Whatever you do, have a good day.

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About the author

Picture: Dr Gary Wood author of Unlock Your ConfidenceDr Gary Wood is a social psychologist and life coach. He is based in Birmingham and Edinburgh where he runs his own training and coaching practice and research consultancy. He is author of Unlock Your Confidence which is based on his confidence-building workshops. Contact Gary to see how his solution focused coaching approach would benefit you or your organization.

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