There’s no shortage of self-help articles at this time of year, all promising to help you survive the holidays. But, for me there’s no need to look any further than the star of those old Canadian Tire ads, Ebenezer Scrooge. There’s a lot more to old Scrooge than Bah Humbug.
I’ve always loved the Alastair Sim movie version of A Christmas Carol, but I didn’t really come to appreciate the true wisdom in the words of Charles Dickens until I started reading the story out loud. For the past decade, I’ve been part of a wonderful CBC tradition that holds readings of A Christmas Carol to raise money for local charities.
Let me share some of what I’ve learned from the Dickens cast of Scrooge, Marley and all those ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
I think of this when I think I’m too busy to take time for others: “Business!” cried Marley’s ghost, “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.”
When I’m getting uptight or stressed and ready to snap at a cashier, co-worker or a family member, this is my guide. It also works at family gatherings when an argument is about to break out: “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”
When I’m trying to decide whether I should do something, especially if it involves some effort on my part, I weigh it against this bit of advice: “No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”
Finally, when I’m taking myself too seriously: “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”
Smart guy that Dickens. But, these are my gems, feel free to check out the story for your own or even better try and take in a reading of the Christmas classic on Dec. 11, at the Alix Goolden Hall, a fundraiser for Our Place.
One final bit of advice, in the famous words of Tiny Tim: “God Bless us everyone.”
Jo-Ann Roberts is an award-winning, veteran journalist who is host of CBC Radio’s All Points West, 3-6 pm weekday afternoons, 90.5 fm. Married to Ken Kelly, they have four children.