• jaedakotapoetry

the grinch who “tried” to steal Christmas; it’s me, I’m that grinch

“Maybe Christmas”, the Grinch thought,” doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…. perhaps…. means a little bit more.”

-Dr. Seuss


Hi friends. The quote above is written by one of my all-time favorite poets, Dr Seuss. I love the way that he is able to take a story and make it not only fun to read, but also have meaning in it. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is a great story about the true meaning of Christmas and how that can bring joy, even if you tend to get sad around this time of year, like the Grinch. No matter what version of the Grinch you watch whether that be the 2000 version with Jim Carrey or the newer 2018 version with Benedict Cumberbatch, there is a reason the Grinch doesn’t like Christmas and it’s because he had a bad experience around that time of year when he was young. Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen one or either of those movies, but in the 2000 version with Jim Carrey, the Grinch doesn’t like Christmas because he got made fun of by his classmates during that time. If you watch the 2018 version with Benedict Cumberbatch, then you know that the Grinch doesn’t like Christmas because he was an orphan who didn’t have a family to spend time with during that holiday. Either version you watch, you feel for the Grinch a little bit more and understand why he is bitter around that time of year. Although, he thinks that stealing Christmas from everyone by taking gifts, bows, and boxes will make them feel as miserable as he does, he realizes that a true meaning of Christmas involves simply finding joy in the spirit of the holiday surrounded by others, and that is something you can’t steal.

I think that all of us at some point can be like the Grinch around the holidays. I don’t mean that we want to go around, steal presents, and make everyone else’s holiday miserable, but that we just maybe aren’t finding as much joy in the holiday as we usually do. When we are kids, Christmas is such a magical time of year. Lights are twinkling everywhere, letters to Santa are written and mailed, gifts appear under the tree Christmas morning, and there’s lots and lots of sugar. As we get older, Christmas still has that sense of magic to us, but life gets more real and can change how we feel during the holidays. Maybe a better way to put it is that Christmas can become bittersweet as adults versus the pure joy we feel as kids. Maybe someone lost a loved one that year and it’s the first holiday without them. This can be bittersweet, because we love spending time with our families, but someone is missing, and it doesn’t feel the same. Maybe you’re a parent from a big family and this time of year gets hectic trying to make it to every family dinner or holiday party. It can be bittersweet, because you see the joy on your kids’ faces while you are trying to give them a magical Christmas, but you are getting worn down from all the shopping, baking, cooking, and traveling for every holiday event throughout December. There are a lot of things that can make Christmas bittersweet as we become adults and I think it’s okay to feel that way.

Growing up as a kid, Christmas was my absolute favorite time of year. Decorating the tree with a variety of ornaments, watching Rudolph with my family when it was on TV, seeing my cousins for a few days, getting to dress up for Christmas Eve church service, and just spending time with my family in general. As I got older, all of those things I loved as a kid stayed the same. I still got just as excited to decorate the tree or watch Rudolph or see my family. I probably got more excited knowing I had money to buy my own Christmas decorations since me and my family have different tastes …. white lights versus colorful lights for the tree will always be a debate in my family 😉.

There have been different years where Christmas didn’t feel as magical to me and this year is one of them. When I see all of the lights and hear the Christmas music playing, I feel joy well up inside, but along with that joy, sometimes tears start to form. The holiday season is a joyful time, but sometimes it can be hard for people. Almost everyone can attest to feeling loss around the holidays, whether that be a loved one passing or losing a relationship you thought would last. People who have experienced this understand the bitter-sweetness of the season; how you can feel joy and grief at the same time and how it can be a confusing feeling to muster through. In previous years, I have lost a loved one and Christmas felt different, but this year it feels different for another reason I haven’t experienced before.

I have talked about how I was in a relationship for a long time with someone I cared a lot about. We were together for about 8 years and we were long distance for most of it. He was in the military, so most of the time we were able to see each other was during Christmas when he had leave, so it became the time of year I knew I would see him. Even on years I knew we weren’t together, I would still anticipate seeing him or us getting back together eventually, because we had been getting back together for years. Finally, this last summer we dated and we decided to be done, because the going back and forth was too much for both of us when we didn’t have the same future in our minds. We have been broken up for about 3-4 months, but this holiday season hits harder than most. Every year, I thought we were going to end up together, but now that I know we both are done, I have let the grieving process take over for our relationship and that's why this holiday hit different. I realized that my Christmases no longer involved him and that I would have to adjust accordingly. Although it can be hard, I think it is important to be single, because I think it gives people a good chance to figure out what they want to be and what they want in a relationship, but this year just hurt more than most because I knew that me and him were done.

Although it's hard, me and him not being together is for the best, but that doesn’t mean those memories just disappear along with the relationship. Lately, I’ve been more sad than usual about life in general, but this time of year has made it harder. Seeing everyone around me spend this time of year with their loved ones and their own families just pulls at me a little more each day realizing that I don’t have my own person to spend it with. Although I feel this way, I want to try and enjoy the holiday season, because it is my favorite time of year and when you find joy in it, it can change your perspective.

I’ve been trying to do things during this holiday season that I know bring me joy. I make sure I turn the lights on the Christmas tree when I get home at night after a long day. I light a candle and fill the room with cranberry scents. I watch some of my favorite Christmas movies, like The Santa Clause or Rudolph, to remind myself of the holiday spirit. And I write what I am feeling to try to make sense of it all. There are days when I get home and I think, “what’s the point in turning on the tree or watching a movie, because I don’t feel it will change my mood”. But then, I turn on a movie and find myself absentmindedly giggling at the Grinch talking to Cindy Lou Who about their Christmas celebrations, and I realize that there is still some joy inside of me that my wall of sadness is trying to block.

soft carols on the radio

silver and champagne ornaments glistening

cranberry scents filling the room

on the tree, white lights illuminating

taking in the surroundings

I feel warmth spread as joy fills my soul

but the sadness that is too familiar

tries to block it and down my cheek tears start to flow

this season brings with it many emotions

something may feel off, different than most years

something may be missing

among all the holiday cheer

although things may feel different

it’s important to find happiness

in the meaning behind God’s gift

and time with family and friends

joy within ourselves

is something nobody can steal

including our own grief or sadness

although these things can feel very real

enjoy the ambience of the holiday

absorb the lights, music, and company

let those little things bring joy to your heart

because Christmas is a gift from God to everybody

There are so many other things going on in the world and everyone has their own stressors in life, but I think that’s why Christmas can be a blessing. The joy that the holiday brings can distract us from our troubles for a bit and remind us of what it feels to be happy. The meaning of Christmas is different for many people, but my definition revolves around the reason for this holiday, which is God giving us the biggest gift known to mankind, His Son. The joy that those shepherds must have felt seeing that gift, I can’t even imagine. And I believe that’s where the joy of the season originally comes from. “Joy to the world, the Lord has come”. All of the hymns and sermons around Christmas are all full of praise and thankfulness for the promise God gave us during this time of year. It started as a religious holiday and cultivated into more of a Hallmark holiday that’s main aura is still joy. One of the magical parts of Christmas is the happiness that radiates off of people everywhere you look. Although, people all may have different meanings of Christmas, most of those meanings surround the main sentiment, which is joy.

If you’re like me and you need a little more reminder of why the holidays are so joyous, I challenge you to find what makes you happy and try to do it when you get a chance. Whether that be something small, like light a candle daily that fills your senses with comfort or if it’s something a little bigger like going to visit a loved one who you haven’t seen in a while. Christmas is full of opportunities to feel joy and if we remember how it feels and how to tap into that emotion, then no one, not even yourself, can be a Grinch and steal it from you. Thank you for continuing on this journey with me, friends. Stay tuned and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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