According to psychologists, holiday Grinches who excludethemselves from parties or gift exchanges may be doing so inself-defense, pre-empting the possibility that family andfriends will ignore or disappoint them. And a group of New Zealand Santas recently displayed the ultimate in Grincy behavior.

Psychologist Kipling D. Williams, who studies ostracism,says, “During the holidays there are high expectations aboutgetting together with family, celebrating with friends andgift-giving at the office or with neighbors. As a result,people are more sensitive. They may avoid or not reply tophone calls from friends or develop a negative attitude, allin an effort to make being ostracized less hurtful, but moreinevitable.”

Psychologist Jon Allen agrees that, “For most people…theholidays will fall short of expectations.” This can lead todepression. Some of the symptoms of holiday depressioninclude significant decrease or increase in weight orappetite, insomnia or sleeping too much, loss of energy,feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, and difficultythinking or concentrating.

The ultimate in Grinchcy behavior occurred in New Zealandrecently, when group of 40 people dressed in Santa Clausoutfits, many of them drunk, went on a rampagethrough Auckland, robbing stores, assaulting security guardsand urinating from highway overpasses. They then wentthrough a city park, overturning garbage containers,throwing bottles at passing cars and spraying graffiti onoffice buildings. Police have called the riot “Santarchy,”instead of anarchy. A spokesman for the group says Santarchy wasn’t just a bunch of drunk grinches, it is was actually part of a worldwide movement to protest thecommercialization of Christmas.

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