‘Tis the season, … and though we all do our best to focus on the positive side of the holidays – the giving rather than the receiving, the peace rather than the craziness, the precious family time rather than the inter-family squabbles – this time of year always seems to drag along a bag of mixed messages and negative emotions. Standing firmly in the ‘money is the root of all evil’ camp, I can’t help but feel that commercialism (maybe consumerism is the better term) has done its best to suck the goodness from these (and most other) holidays. Using the full complement of guilt, desire, envy, and the rest of the negative traits that help make us human, marketing science has honed the good cheer into a frenzy of spending to pump up the bottom line. An unfortunate result of all this is we end up being a hoard of unintentionally inconsiderate stressed-out lunatics stampeding through stores for the latest bargains, complaining we don’t have time for all we need to accomplish, and wishing a violent demise to the jerk that just cut us off at the gas station. Finally by January we are wondering what happened to the ‘true meaning’ and how long it will take to pay off the credit cards. Ho ho ho. That’s certainly not my idea of a pleasant yuletide.
Ahem. … I am actually not a complete Scrooge, and our family certainly enjoys opening more than a few thoughtful gifts on Christmas morning, but since each year we comment how the commercial frenzy increasingly suffocates that whole ‘Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men’ thing, my sincere wish for everyone this holiday season is that you all receive a stocking full of kindness, a world of peace, and a sleigh full of goodwill. And since most things must be given to be received, I promise to do my part to help make it so. Have a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy new year.