• Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

Top 8 Ways to Determine if You are a Scrooge

I've had changes in my personal life this year and, if I wanted, I could figure out a way to be the ultimate Scrooge. But my Smart Zone thinking allows me to see that I'm so delightfully happy and that life is full of opportunities everywhere. I've weathered this year and it's ending with a lot to look forward to in 2011. One of my children just got accepted into an incredible school for children with learning differences. My three boys and I have adjusted to living in our home with just the four of us. My professional projects, media and clinical practice are going well. I'm surrounded by the support of valuable family and friends.

Stay in the Smart Zone this month by not being a Scrooge.

The Top 8 Ways to Determine if You are a Scrooge:

  1. You count calories or Weight Watchers points out loud while eating holiday snacks. It's good to watch your caloric intake this time of year. If you watched my How to Avoid the Holiday Blues TV segment on FOX 4 recently you saw me say that nutrition experts believe that holiday depression can be caused by the high sugar and fatty foods we eat around the holidays. But, if you see me eating a Santa cookie please let me eat it in peace.

  • You complain about the company Christmas party. If you are one of the lucky people whose company is throwing a holiday party then be grateful for their generosity.

  • You feel so overwhelmed with everything you have to get done that you are angry at people who seem to be taking it in stride. This is the worst kind of Scrooge because anger like this is internalized and causes you to continue to focus on yourself. This inward focus can easily lead to depression.

  • You slack off at your job because the end of the year is near. After all, other people are on vacation so why should you have to work? This is the best time to get things done because there will be less interruptions. Use this time to be more productive.

  • You talk about how you don't have much money for Christmas presents in front of people you will be buying for. This is especially Scrooge-worthy when done in front of your kids. If a child is old enough, he/she will feel guilty for the gifts his parents give him. If you want to know how to talk to your kids about gift-giving when you are tight on cash, read my blog post "How to Talk to Your Kids about Gift Giving in this Tough Economy."

  • You haven't participated in any holiday volunteer activities or donated to any charities. Many of you already know the Smart Zone secret which is to take the focus off yourself. In the Smart Zone Survey many of you took last month you finished this statement, "The greatest joy in my life is _____." The response "Volunteering and helping others" was in the top 10 responses. I have a fellow red headed friend I adore and hang out with often. She has a habit of paying the tab for another table in a restaurant. She recently did that for our elementary school's counselor and her family when she saw them eating out last week. It gives her such a sense of satisfaction to be a "secret Santa" for people she appreciates and for total strangers. She's one of my closest friends because of her big heart and for other reasons too (our boys look alike and are best buddies).

  • If you buy house cleaning items like a vacuum cleaner, a mop or a toilet plunger for Christmas gifts - you might be a Scrooge. This is a little tongue-in-cheek but I know many of you can relate to this one. Even though I might need a new garden hose or screens for two of my back windows, something that is more personalized that shows you know someone's taste and interests is more personal and celebrates your relationship this time of year.

  • You are reading this list and thinking, "What's wrong with that?!" Need I say more?