Handling the Scrooge in Your Life at Holiday Time

By Megan Morrow
Published December 6, 2018


The holidays can bring out the best – and sometimes the worst – in people. If you have a Scrooge or someone who always sees the glass half-empty in your family, business or neighborhood, you might find yourself getting frustrated or angry and/or responding to that person in a more naughty-than-nice manner.

Rather than allowing one person, or a few bad eggs, to dim the brightness of your holiday events and gatherings, consider these suggestions for handling difficult personalities this time of year:

  • Recognize that “it’s not you, it’s them.” When someone steals your parking spot in a busy mall, repeatedly points out everyone else’s flaws or expects someone else in the family to handle all of the holiday details, do your best to not take it personally. Their behavior is all about them, not you. When you can get a little bit of distance, you will be less inclined to let that Scrooge steal your thunder or ruin your day.
  • Respect differences. The more respect you show to others, the more you are likely to receive in return. Recognize that you do not have to like someone else’s opinions, but listening to them cannot hurt; nevertheless, it is ok to avoid conversation topics that cause excessive conflict – religion and politics come to mind.
  • Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. If you know the person who is wreaking holiday havoc, perhaps you recognize that they are experiencing a health or personal challenge. If a stranger is making things difficult, remember that every person is going through their own struggles. The more compassion you can offer this time of the year, the more you will likely enjoy the season—speedbumps and all.
  • Try to reverse your reaction. If you are tempted to shout, speak softly. If you want to ignore the person completely, try to engage on a calm level. If you find yourself holding your breath until your face turns red because you are so frustrated, take some deep, slow breaths. Remember that you are in control of your reactions and responses, and leaning into your best impulses can produce better interactions.
  • Set boundaries. There are some behaviors that should never be tolerated. If you do not feel safe or if someone’s behavior is excessive or divisive, you can always leave the room or conversation. Determine what you can and cannot tolerate and establish appropriate boundaries.

During this busy time of year, make sure you take care of yourself and your needs so that you are better able to deal with inevitable stresses, last-minute issues and the occasional grouch. When you feel rested, nourished and energized, it is easier to smile in the face of the person most likely to put coal in your stocking.

We want to hear from you

Do you have a topic suggestion for an article in a future issue of Sims Insights newsletter? We would love to hear from you. Share your ideas here.

The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.

Do you receive our

Private Client Newsletter?

HJ Sims Video Series

HJ Sims Culture