Does the Winter Warlock Have RA?
Every year when I watch “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (one of my favorite Christmas specials), I become more convinced that the Winter Warlock character has rheumatoid arthritis.
I’ve written before about lessons I’ve learned from watching holiday specials—and I continue to watch them every season (sometimes repeatedly). I never get tired of the stories and the joy they bring me.
In comes the Winter Warlock
But I continue to suspect that the Winter Warlock is not just a grouchy, old dude. I really believe he is a fellow RA sufferer. There are so many signs between joint stiffness, pain, crabby attitude, wanting to be alone, and so much more. Consider the evidence:
The Winter Warlock has extreme joint stiffness.
The poor guy can hardly move when we first meet him! What else could be the cause except for a serious case of RA? No one else is that stiff. And it’s definitely not just because he is older because once he’s “cured,” he looks younger and is more spry. He may be a warlock, but his joints are missing some significant mojo.
He is super crabby—could it be joint pain? If anything could explain why the Winter Warlock is grouchy, it’s severe joint pain. I’m an absolute Oscar the Grouch when I am having my aches and pains. Living in the cold North Pole with RA would definitely explain his joint pain, why he’s in such a foul mood and doesn’t want to be disturbed by visitors.
He’s got big lines under his eyes from RA fatigue. Poor Winter Warlock looks absolutely exhausted. He’s got RA joint stiffness and pain, lives in a frigid climate and probably cannot get any decent rest. This guy has a serious case of fatigue from RA. It probably doesn’t help that Kris Kringle keeps waking him up in the middle of the night to cross through his corner of the forest. I have to admit getting woken while I’m sound asleep makes me tired and crabby.
He feels better after some physical therapy. Once the Winter Warlock gets a little physical therapy and practices “putting one foot in front of the other” he immediately feels better. It just proves that gentle physical activity can alleviate even a terrible case of RA.
Once he feels better, he is able to engage and help others. Perhaps the greatest transformation is the Winter Warlock’s opinion of himself. At first he says: “I really am a mean and despicable creature at heart” because he feels so badly about himself and his behavior. But once he meets Kris Kringle and has a turnabout in his RA symptoms, it lifts his depression and makes him a much happier person. He’s then able to make friends and help them when they get into trouble.
Can the Winter Warlock heal is body and spirit?
I know the program is really about how Kris Kringle became Santa Claus and delivers toys to children every Christmas to bring joy around the world. But the story that most resonates with me is that of the Winter Warlock. I feel for him as he struggles to walk and move with those stiff joints. I understand his anger and grouchiness. I hope when he feels better and forms friendships that help to heal his body and spirit.
It may seem silly, but I’ve lost count of all the times when this Christmas special has lifted my mood and given me a much-needed giggle. A few years ago when I was recovering from knee surgery and working to get my standing and walking strength back, I sang to myself the Winter Warlock’s song. Still, when I practice my steps I hum: “put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll move across the floor.”
It really does help to recognize and connect with fellow RA sufferers. It makes us all feel a little bit more understood and a little less alone.
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