My producer has instructed me not to write a 10,000 word rant about why I hate the holiday season.
He also told me it would be bad form to write about sleeping with a nun, beating up a priest, pulling a rabbi’s beard or kicking the local pastor in the butt.
Fortunately I am a patient and tolerant man who believes in spreading peace, joy and goodwill towards all men so I didn’t do any of those things.
Why I Hate The Holiday Season
Hate is probably too strong a word so let’s adjust that to read why I really dislike the holiday season. That isn’t an exaggeration, I really don’t like this time of year for a host of reasons.
They range from the irritation I feel when I read about stampedes on Black Friday and fist fights in the aisle to the over-the-top advertising that comes with the push to buy, buy, buy.
I hate not being able to go to the grocery store or mall without being assaulted by music played way too loud and a dozen different people standing in the parking lot asking me to help their particular charity because it is important to give during the holiday season.
People Need Help All Year Long
Maybe it is my own issue, but people need help all year long. They aren’t any less hungry or homeless in January, March or August than they are in December. It drives me crazy to listen to people tell me that if I don’t give now “they’ll have a terrible holiday season.”
Yes, I know it is a special time of year and because of this some people think others are more likely to give, but that is all tied into messaging. We can adapt and adjust. I am willing to bet it might be more helpful for some people to spread out their donations over several months as opposed to one time.
What Message Are We Sending Our Children?
When my eight-year-old tells me kids in school are fighting about eight days of Chanukah versus twelve days of Christmas I have to shake my head. In part it is because I remember those conversations from being a kid, but I don’t believe that things were as crazy then as they are now.
Now I’ll allow for the possibility that this is a case of “misty colored memories” but I know for certain that in 1977 there wasn’t a Cyber Monday. We didn’t have 24 hour news cycle pumping out enormous amounts of information either.
Was it better or worse then? Well, based solely upon my memories I will say it was better.
More importantly as a father I am not pleased with the push I feel from the ads to buy more stuff solely because of time of year. My kids receive more gifts than I ever did and I am happy that people spoil them, but I work hard to make sure they understand their value doesn’t come from what they own or do not own.
Still, it would be unfair of me to say I dislike everything and that I don’t appreciate any part of this time of year. There are lots of special moments that come from the gathering of friends and family and there is something to be said for the foods that come out around this time.
I just wish we could dial things back a notch and change the message about doing more to help because of time of year.
What about you? What do you think?