It’s holiday time for a lot of folks, and for many the mantra for the season is “Shop ‘til you drop.”  Even before Thanksgiving, ads beckoned to potential customers to shop early. 

For many people, Christmas has become synonymous with shopping.  And heaven help those who lack the money to get caught up in the shopping madness. 

Fortunately for me (who hates shopping), I have very few gifts to buy.

As Christmas approaches, I look forward to watching the movie “A Christmas Carol” on TV.  The movie is based on the story written by Charles Dickens (1812-70) in 1843. 

As most people know, the story is about an insensitive, mean-spirited old tightwad called Scrooge whose focus is on making and keeping money and shunning pleasant relationships.  Through visitations during the Christmas season by several ghosts (imagined or real), Scrooge metamorphoses into a kind, loving and generous person. 

I prefer the actor Alastair Sim in the role of Scrooge in the movie.  I think his facial expressions and body movements are superb.  Of course, there are those who think that other actors play the role better, but they’re wrong. (Smile)

Anyway, I was giving some serious thought to “A Christmas Carol” the other day and, along with thinking that the story is relevant for any time of the year, I wondered: Why did Scrooge have to be an old man?  Are there not young(er) people (including women) who are greedy, self-centered and workaholics? 

Are there not young(er) people who think the poor and hungry are shiftless? 

And in considering the poor, the hungry and the disenfranchised, are there not young(er) people who ask: “Are there no workhouses?  Are there no prisons?” 

Are there not young(er) people who say, “Bah!  Humbug,” when attempts are made to make them merry? 

But … maybe Dickens made Scrooge an old person because he wanted people to know that they’re never too old to change.

When I was a child, I told my mom that I hoped I wouldn’t get mean when I got old, like one of our mean relatives.  My mom said, “She didn’t get old and mean.  She was like that as a young woman.” 

Life is such a mystery.  Some people  experience pain and suffering and remain kind while others embrace pain and suffering and let it fester into misery and resentment.  

Well, let’s be optimistic.  Through patience, perseverance, generosity and caring throughout the year, we can sometimes convert the Scrooges amongst us into kind people.  A Carol.  

Happy Holidays!