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I'm not really the Grinch or Scrooge ... am I?



shadow
shadow
December 22, 2010 | 07:57 AM
I've recently come to an important realization in life.

For many years, I have believed I was the ultimate Grinch during the Christmas holiday season. A "Bah, Humbug" growl here and there and an uncomfortable response when people say Merry Christmas. For me, the holidays didn't seem any different than the other time of the year.

But, this year I don't feel that way at all.

The Grinch is Dr. Seuss' green fictional character. He is devious and has an anti-holiday spirit that is now a term used to describe such people who oppose Christmas celebrations. As depicted by Seuss, the Grinch is a hermit who lives in an isolated cave. He has no emotion, no empathy and he really hates Christmas.

I'm not really Grinch, am I?

Although most of our family is not religious, we have always celebrated Christmas as a reason to get everyone together, share a meal and each other's company for a couple days. When I was growing up, we actually had two Christmas trees — one a huge tree in the living room with the fancy old ornaments, the other a smaller kid's tree in the family room with ornaments my brother and I made and a more youthful motif. For the most part, my brother and I helped trim the trees.

I remember the vibrant tree contrasting with old red wool carpeting in the living room we only really used on Christmas Eve. Every year there were perfectly-wrapped presents in a circle around the big tree. Late at night on Christmas Eve we drank eggnog and opened presents. Torn wrapping paper and boxes were everywhere as my brother and I played on the floor with our new toys.

It was always the best time of the year.

Then, we spent Christmas Day at grandma's house. We went to have dinner and see her very decorated tree — actually there were so many ornaments, lights and tinsel you couldn't see the tree itself. Then we all sat down for dinner and of course nothing was better than my grandma's seven layer salad.

At some point, years later — I'm not exactly sure when — I no longer cared about having a tree or decorations. The only Christmas-themed item in my condo was a golfing bear with a Santa suit — not very festive.

That must have been when the Grinch in me took over. It could have been all those years of being spoiled by having two trees or it was that I lived alone and had no desire to perform the work necessary to make it feel like Christmas. We also changed the family holiday tradition, spending just one day together instead of two.

But, after some time being the Grinch, the past few years have felt different again, although I still don't pass up an opportunity for a "Bah, Humbug" here and there.

Last week I placed some money into the Salvation Army bucket in front of one of the local stores and realized I responded to the woman ringing by saying, "Merry Christmas to you."

This week's Regional News is full of Christmas stories and photos all intended to remind readers about this special time of year. It also shows what a little caring and compassion can do for people during this time of year.

During the weekend I spent some time piling up gifts that will need wrapping in time for Christmas Day. They are all sitting in a bag and ready for my quality wrapping job that will probably occur on Friday.

Now, because everyone always asks what I will be doing for Christmas, the plan is to head to Milwaukee to my parents' condo to enjoy a nice dinner and give out some presents. There is a lot to be appreciative these days and what better way to celebrate than on Christmas Day.

Was I ever really a Grinch? Maybe it was more of an act.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.

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