You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch: Jessi blogs on Charles Dickens

Ahhhh, the holidays. I can’t deny that I love the festive lights, the hearty meals shared with friends and family, the warm fires, the aromatic winter smells, the time off work, the wrapping of the presents, the decking of the tree and halls, singing Christmas songs with my partner in the car, and the holiday movies under warm blankets, just to name a few. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I’m tired. I’m stacked to my eyeballs organizing my day job’s annual corporate holiday party, 4 days a week I’m only seeing my partner and my cat for about an hour  and a half only at the end of very long days, and the rain and the newly dark days have me feeling like I could just sleep until March. I feel like I’m one random germ-covered door handle or elevator button away from getting the flu. I’ve got family to shop for, Thanksgiving meals to help with, and just about a half million other things to scratch off my list before I crawl into bed and pray to the gods to turn whatever day tomorrow might actually be into a perpetual run of Saturdays. Around this time of year, my temper shortens, my energy flies out the window, my anxiety and credit card balance rises, and my motivation slips away. I get cranky, and stressed, and usually have a distaste for people and events in general. I want to fold inward, hunker down, shut off the lights and shut out the world. I want to recover from the mania that the summer months bring and just hibernate like the bears. WHY WASN’T I BORN A BEAR?!?! But mostly, I want to be left the f*ck alone… Just like Scrooge.

So let me be frank when I say that this time of year is precisely when I need the story of A Christmas Carol the most. Don’t get me wrong, I am among the many who groan upon the announcement that another theater is doing their rendition of A Christmas Carol- but that’s usually the Scrooge in me talking. Grinchly attitude be damned, every year as I sit in the audience, and hear Dickens’ incredible story wash over me, I am touched to the core of my seasonally ice cold heart. His characters and their tenderness grip me, and I am once again thawed into humanity. It is the gentle reminder that our time on this earth is short, and that our actions have an incredible ripple effect on those around us. It is the wonderment that only a changed perspective through grace given and grace received, can bring. It is the gentle reminder that happiness is manifested, not purchased, and is most rich when shared with those we love. This adaptation that Scott has written is such a beautiful tribute to Dickens, whose writing, year after year, has me in tears despite my best effort to shut out the world. Rehearsing this show has been a life saver, as it has kept much of my accustomed Scrooge-like sensibilities at bay. How beautiful life is, when I get to spend most of my week doing what I love with my wonderful B&B family. My heart has grown three sizes in rehearsing this show, and in spite of the holiday frenzy, I can’t wait to come together and share this wonderful story with you. May we honor Christmas in our hearts, and try to keep it all the year.