In a fractious holiday season, are there glimmers of hope?

In Washington, Santa’s naughty and nice list will be mighty lopsided this year. Donald Trump sealed his fate when he went after Speaker Nancy Pelosi — for her teeth. Then he followed with a six-page letter, a rant that projected many of his transgressions onto those he has labeled his accusers, targeting Pelosi, again, and mentioning the Salem witch trials for good measure.

Perhaps you have to step away from politics for some relief. Well, not this year, as even escapist Hallmark Channel fare has been sucked into arguments over love and family and the true meaning of the holiday.

It isn’t pretty.

Despite the Trappings, Holiday Spirit 2016 Looks Iffy

Since they usually jump-start around Thanksgiving, we are well into the time of Frosty and Rudolph and Tiny Tim fronting animated specials, annual favorites and tinsel-soaked movies of the week that end with the battling protagonists making up under the mistletoe.

Do we believe in Santa? I have to get back to you on that one. But I do have my favorites, all with the theme of redemption: Charlie Brown’s taunting gang recognizing the beauty of his scrawny tree; old Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim in the best version) waking up on Christmas morning, amazed that he indeed has time to be a good man, and, of course, the Grinch with his Grinchy small heart growing three sizes.

Most know these shows by heart, yet eyes moisten each time the Grinch, courtesy of Dr. Seuss, realizes “something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” These moments teach love and forgiveness and the meaning of the holiday, lessons that hit home because of their simplicity.

In any year, with retail and toy stores — both at the mall and online — becoming battlegrounds, a little reflection would be welcome. In 2016, with the results of Election Day still raging, and competing political operatives raising the stakes and their voices everywhere, including the halls of Harvard, only the Grinch, at his worst, could make sense of it.