Think outside the (gift) box

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

At one time or another, I think we’ve all seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas — either the original show or one of the modern adaptations. A new musical version was recently unveiled, and 2020 seems to be the perfect year for it; the storyline and the message are both highly appropriate for the current season.

For many people, there will be no festivities this year. The spread of the virus makes gathering risky, so there won’t be big get-togethers with friends and family. And for some, the Grinch might as well have visited their homes: there’s no money for gifts or a tree, and there may not be holiday fare on the table either. It seems like there isn’t much reason to celebrate.

But as the holiday classic reminds us, Christmas still comes, even if there are no presents or decorations or fancy meals. And there’s a huge gift on its way: a vaccine that will give us protection against the deadly disease sweeping the world. We just have to wait a little longer before we each get our share.

If you’re having trouble accepting the changes this year, consider this truth: there is no rule about how to spend your holiday. The day is yours to spend as you wish. Try letting go of expectations and tradition, and consider what’s in your reach that can bring you joy. Maybe it’s something as simple as sleeping in, or taking a walk through your neighborhood to enjoy the fresh air. Maybe you’d enjoy curling up with a favorite book or movie, or playing a board game with your kids. I feel certain there’s something you can do that you’ll enjoy, even if it’s not what you’d normally expect.

Try to remember the lesson of the Grinch. Don’t let your holiday be defined by material things, especially the ones that are missing this year. Acknowledge your loss, then try to find a reason to feel good, even if it’s only for a moment. And remember that there will be better days ahead.

What is Christmas? It is the tenderness of the past, courage for the present, and hope for the future.
Agnes M. Pahro
1904 -1985

Copyright © 2020 Cheryl Chancellor


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