The Scrooge Instinct

As we tend to watch the Christmas classics every year, you will find posts about Scrooge littering Decembers and Januarys on this blog. I’ve analyzed and overanalyzed this character because he’s so enduring to me: the opposite of a materialist who barely dwells in physical reality — an apparition of a human — until dear little Tiny Tim brings him into the warmth of humanity.

This year, the holidays are more difficult than usual, and my impatience with gaudy decorations, parties, Mariah Carey in the grocery store, shopping, and spending money is very strong. I can almost feel the crippled boy’s disappointment with me for not being willing to engage with the material world. How is he going to have his fat turkey? And where is the joy of the season going to come from? Certainly not from Mariah Carey’s artless vocals! Cue the wraith in the hood pointing at the grave. Death or Mariah Carey? Are those really my only two options?

The first candle to be lit for Advent is hope. There is another option, one I’ve forgotten over the years. Yes, I can attend Advent services, but that’s not what I mean. The church calendar goes on regardless of the encroachment of the material world. The spiritual world clashes with the material one; contending with the necessity for both is the ultimate human struggle. The hope I mean is rather the one brought by my very own version of a broken, yet lively child like little Tim. When I was younger, I coped with the holidays by writing a yearly Christmas story and passing it out to friends and family. That was what kept me from falling entirely into the Scrooge instinct. It also helped me recognize that a rejection of the material world is a rejection of the spiritual one, too. My stories are my wraiths, I guess…or perhaps they are my fat turkeys that I’ve purchased after struggling with wanting to reject this reality throughout the long winter night.

I’m going to write a story this year, even though it will pull me away from my book. I’m going to write it and give it to anyone who wants it via old-fashioned mail or email. If you would like a copy, let me know.



  1. I’ll take a copy. Fun!

    Scrooge is the opposite of a materialist? Most would disagree with you (not me). If you’re an evangelical nerd you’re going to say “lots of money = materialist hurrrr…” Do you mean philosophically?

    The book is actually one of my favorites, though I’ve only read it once. I plan on reading it again when I start vacation/surgery, so I’ll take note of certain things.

    1. To make my case: He doesn’t heat his home and eats cold soup for dinner. Yes, he hoardes money, but he doesn’t buy anything with it or invest it in anything, just squirrels it away. He quite literally eschews the material world as being unimportant for himself and everybody else. When he transforms, the first thing he does is buy something…a turkey, the biggest one available.

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