Monday 23 July 2018

I Hate Christmas! How to Identify and Overcome Your Inner Christmas Villain - Paul E. Nowak

I Hate Christmas!
How to Identify and Overcome Your Inner Christmas Villain
Paul E. Nowak
Eternal Revolution


This was the third book by Paul Nowak that I have read in the last few weeks. My introduction to his works of Paul Nowak was part of his effort to rescue out of print books and bring them back to life in high quality eBooks. Specifically, a book on The Life and letters of father Damien, Apostle to the Lepers, it was an excellent read, as was Paul's introduction to the work originally published in 1889. After reading that picked up three other books by Paul and this was the second I have read. What attracted me most to this book is that I love Christmas but hate the holiday season. I would prefer to not have to spend much time in public from early November until mid January. I was immediately attracted to the book, by both the title and the description:

"Sometime between the ever-earlier marketing of Christmas to the time that suburban streets are lined with dead evergreens, we wish for Christmas to be over. For some of us, the whole season can fill us with loathing and hatred instead of peace and goodwill.

This may be the cause of your inner Christmas villain. I Hate Christmas! takes you through four classic Christmas villain archetypes, how they may relate to your life, and how to conquer them and have a Merry Christmas."

And the chapters in this book are:

The Grinch - The Distracted
Ebenezer Scrooge - The Fearful
Jack Skellington - The Selfish
Miss Doris Walker - The Unbeliever
Saving Christmas

I think the only think that could have made this book more awesome would be if there was a chapter on 'John McClaen - The Complainer'. But even the chapter on Jack Skellington is amazing. It would be hard not to make it through this book in a single sitting. But that is one of the great things about it. It can be reread easily over a cup of coffee each year as a reminder. This book dissects the villain in 4 classic Christmas movies as personality types. Types each of us can easily fall into with the stress, bustle, and hustle of the season. By looking at a character from each of these movies How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dickens' A Christmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Miracle on 34th Street Nowak helps us seem them in a different light and offers some tips to counter that type when we find it creeping up on us or has complete hold as the case may be. And yea I read and reviewed this book in July, I just had to read it after coming across it, and even though I know I will be reading this book again, I wanted to review it so it can get on peoples radar as soon as possible to avoid the central villain types this next holiday season. 

The section on Jack Skellington begins with a quote from the movie: For those who have not see in Jack is trying to figure out Christmas after wandering into Christmas town, and he has been experimenting using the Scientific method speaking to himself he states:

"You know, I think this Christmas thing is not as tricky as it seems! But why should they have all the fun? It should belong to anyone! Not anyone, in fact, but me! Why, I could make a Christmas tree! And there's not a reason I can find, I couldn't have a Christmastime! I bet I could improve it, too! And that's exactly what I'll do!"

Nowak begins his section on Jack by saying:

"There are a myriad of Christmas villains that have embodied a greedy thirst for possessions, attention, or some other temporal benefit for themselves. A lot of the ones I considered were T.V.-special, one-dimensional stock characters that have become, shall we say, Christmas cookie-cutter. Among the more spectacular ones were B.Z. From Santa Claus: The Movie, Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life, Heat Miser, Freeze Miser, and the other Rankin-Bass Christmas villains who wanted to stop Christmas for their own reasons.

Yet when it comes to choosing a Christmas villain that seemed to best embody the selfishness of all those villains, but was relatable, one who is converted and not conquered, and part of a story that is generally considered a classic, Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas takes the pumpkin pie."

I can not count the number of times I have watched this move. My kids even call our call Jack, because it is white with Jack Stickers on the rear side windows. My children one Jack Skellington onesies and slept with Jack blankets. And yet I have never connected the dots and considered Jack selfish, I had always seen him as misguided. And the insight Nowak has into Jack and the other villains is penetrating. And his insights will help you see yourself, and hopefully grow and learn. Each chapter ends with a brief playlist, a playlist to help counter the main fault of that character. The book ends with these words:

"As a Christian, we are called to constantly turn our wills towards God's Will. In a fallen world, this requires an ongoing re-turning, or to use the Latin word volvere (to turn), an eternal re-volution. What better point in the calendar year to ignite this once again, at the celebration of our Saviour's birth? There may indeed be a war on Christmas, but the battle fought within you is far more important than buzzwords and displays and news stories in the media. Defend the front this year, and take back your Christmas celebration by identifying and silencing your own Christmas villains. 

So who's going to save Christmas this year? If you're going to do it (and no one else can) it starts right now with the resolve to keep Christmas, and not let anyone - even your internal Christmas villain - get in the way."

I cannot say it any better than that. I highly recommend this book even if you think you are just picking it up for fun, I guarantee it will have a lasting impact!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Paul E. Nowak:
The Way of the Christian Samurai: Reflections for Servant-Warriors of Christ
The Eternal Revolution: An Exhortation to the Modern Christian
I Hate Christmas! How to Identify and Overcome Your Inner Christmas Villain
The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut
Guerrilla Apologetics for Catholics
Guerrilla Apologetics for Life Issues
The Microcapitalist Manifesto

Books edited or reprinted by Paul E. Nowak:
The Life and Letters of Father Damien, Apostle of the Lepers - Edited by Pamphile De Veuster
Joan of Arc - Hilaire Belloc
Characters of the Reformation - Hilaire Belloc

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