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Just Call Me “Little Miss Grinch”

The mean ole Grinch is my long lost male twin. Ever since I was a child I always felt that I was drawn to that mean ole Christmas stealing little thief. I can still remember being a child and having my teacher read aloud “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and I actually felt sympathetic for the meanie. It was always so strange to me that other students always were scared of the Grinch.

As a child I came from a divorced family and I was always shuffled back and forth between my fighting parents during the holidays. I became accustomed to upheaval and turmoil during the holidays from a very early age and used to loath having to split Christmas time between two houses. Every year my mother would go overboard trying to erase the fact that there was so much bitterness and turmoil, so she would accrue enormous amounts of credit card debt buying my brother and I tons and tons of gifts that we didn’t even want or need. Every Christmas I would have to open up all of the presents and force a huge display of excitement if I didn’t want my mother to break down in tears.

And don’t get me started about the preparations leading up to Christmas. While the rest of you were sitting around and celebrating your great family traditions, I was in the house with my mother and brother decorating the Christmas tree. “Don’t put that bulb there because there is already a bulb of the same color too close”. “You can’t put two of those kinds of ornaments too close to one another”. “Stand back and look at the tree. Get over there and move that ornament. Why didn’t you see that there is an empty space in the tree? Why aren’t you paying attention?”

I think I first grew a little Grinchie heart during the Christmas tree decoration time my mother was just yelling, cursing, screaming or beating the hell out of us because we made a tiny mistake in the decorations or we broke an ornament by accident. Or maybe my Grinch heart sprung up when she was yelling, screaming, cursing or doing other similar nonsense when she was cooking or we were eating our lovely Christmas meal that she worked so hard over for us, you know, supposedly unappreciative kids. Perhaps my inner Grinch appeared when I just started rebelling against my mother’s insane attempt to force us to try to have a “family holiday tradition” in the midst of dysfunction and abuse.

Honestly, when my teachers read aloud “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” every year, I felt like I was not the only person in the world who had a rather hard time with Christmas. One year in class I told my teacher that I “hated Christmas too” and she talked to me about my home problems and allowed me to write about it in my journal. It was the only sense of sanity that I had left in a school environment where my classmates all talked so lovingly about their holiday traditions.

If you are a classroom teacher, have you ever considered that you might have a little mini Grinch in one of your classrooms during the holidays?

Over the years I have tried to embrace the holiday spirit, but I think that any chance that I had at loving the holiday was immediately beat out of me as soon as I started working in retail during the holiday seasons during college. I would work long, late hours and had to deal with abusive behavior from customers for one reason or another. At midnight on Christmas while everyone was celebrating their family traditions, I would watch customers fighting and yelling at one another over a little toy.

Since then I have locked myself up and isolated myself from anything related to Christmas other than when I would talk about it with kids in my classroom. Their happiness, joy and excitement lit an itty bitty spark of love in my heart for the holiday. And now this year I am reading so many blogs online about the wonderful and loving traditions that so many people have during the holidays, and it gives me hope that maybe one day I too will be able to forget the past and start my own traditions when I have children.

It’s going to take a while for my cold little heart to thaw out a little, but in the meantime don’t expect me to give up my favorite holiday song any time soon:

Happy holidays-keep up your wonderful stories online. Maybe one of them will help me change my Grinchie ways.

Purchase “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” book on Amazon.

Purchase “Cómo El Grinch Robó Navidad” book on Amazon.

Purchase the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” video on Amazon.

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