Warning...rant ahead

Posted: Friday, November 13, 2009 by Travis Cody in
29

I'm cold. I'm tired. And I don't understand something. Yeah, I think I'm gonna take a moment and rant a little bit.

What has captured my ire? I'll tell you...those who complain about the retail holiday season.

What's the problem? You have a choice...participate or don't.

But why waste energy railing against a commercial system that has been in place for generations? Why roll your eyes when you see a store that has put out its extensive holiday displays? Why rain on somebody else's fun just because you have a different idea of what the holiday season should be?

You might think you remember a different time, back when you were a kid maybe, when the key winter holidays didn't seem to run into each other like they seem to do now. You know what? We don't know what time is when we're kids. Everything bleeds into everything else. I remember that the Toys-R-Us catalog used to come out around Halloween. I distinctly remember sitting on the floor with our Halloween candy, my sister and I, paging through and circling all the great new toys we wanted.

Each to his own traditions I say. Nobody has the one true format for the way people should celebrate, or not celebrate, the winter holiday season.

I respect an offered greeting of Merry Christmas when I'm out and about during this time of year. But I don't appreciate being taken to task when I say Joyous Yule in return. That's my tradition and it doesn't disrespect any other. It merely expresses my happy feelings and my wish that others share in them. I don't accept this religious "reason for the season", but that doesn't mean I don't respect someone else's right to enjoy it and celebrate it in whatever manner is appropriate.

Why waste time being negative? How about this...instead of spending time considering what you don't like, maybe consider what you do like. Focus on what's fun about this time of year. Enjoy your holiday traditions, and leave others to enjoy theirs.

You know why? Because we don't live in the world by ourselves. We can each have our own traditions without trashing others.

So here's to all of you, no matter what you do to mark key dates over the next couple of months.

To the retailers, have at it in your search for our hard earned dollars.

To the programmers of the muzak piped into elevators and grocery stores, cue up that seasonal play list.

If you personally want to put up your lights and decorations now, then go for it.

May each of our holiday seasons be filled with the people and things we love and enjoy. And may we all find it within ourselves to let others with different traditions enjoy them without our social judgments.

29 comments:

  1. Free world, free country. A freedom to choose how we want to celebrate/commemorate something without being critised is a right.

  1. Michelle says:

    Excellent rant. I enjoyed readin it and agree with you. My rant is politically correct holidays which end up bland and lifeless. A few years back they decided to remove "Christmas" from everything here and have Happy Holidays instead.

    YUCK!

    I have a Wiccan friend who sends me a Pagan card each year and a Jewish friend (with a secret addiction to Christmas trees) who sends me the most gorgeous Christmas cards - the real soppy sentimental traditional stuff. THAT is how holy-days and festivals should be ... respecting and enjoying our differences, not trying to hide them under politically correct whitewash.

  1. Good rant! Cheers to all this happy season time! I know I will be smiling!
    <><

  1. jennifer says:

    You have no idea how many nerves you touched with this post. So well said!

  1. Anndi says:

    HUZZAH!

    Too many people are too busy trying to make the world as vanilla and bland and unoffensive as possible with political correctness, and too many people have veered off into that pernicious extremism that they have forgotten to live and let live.

    I'm sure some people object to stores commercializing the season, and I understand that for some it's offensive. It's no reason to go about cursing everyone. If they don't like it, it's their right to steer clear of those establishments.

    People are different. They have different religions, values, traditions and we must be compassionate and respect them. They're not flaunting anything, just being joyous, just being themselves.

    P.S. I used to gather the Sears and the Bay catalogues, lie on the living room floor and draw circles around the treasures I hoped Santa would bring... and my daughter does it now (with different catalogues)

    I've been guilty of blinking my eyes in disbelief when I see the first Christmas commercial on TV, but I think it has more to do with amazement and some measure of desolation at how quickly time slips through our finngers...

  1. Let everyone enjoy as they see fit. And let everyone remember, it's a time to spread a little happiness and cheer, no matter how you worship or don't.

  1. I do wish sometimes that they would let the other holidays have their chance before they bombard us with Christmas, but I appreciate this rant! If only more people would have this attitude, Travis! Let's all just enjoy the brotherhood of mankind and appreciate all beliefs, even if they are not shared by us. It is such a beautiful thing to enjoy the diversity and love your fellow humans! :) Thanks for this great rant!

  1. Akelamalu says:

    I don't celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving so seeing all the Christmas stuff is exciting to me!

    Each to their own I say and as you say 'if you don't like it don't participate'! :)

  1. Linda says:

    Well, as you know I am one of those who probably remember things wrong and now see the holidays all blurring together which could very well be simply because, as you said, as a child time has no concept. Especially when you get to be my age!

    I fully understand the reasons that retailers stock their shelves as early as they do (I used to work in retail years ago) and I can also understand why others want to celebrate the Christmas season as long as possible and have no problem with it starting as early as possible. I guess I just find it a little dismaying that I feel like I'm way behind if I didn't start my holiday shopping in September, though. As a single parent with a single income, holidays can be kind of stressful and there's always a certain bit of pressure involved with this time of the year.

    That said, though, I really do love the Christmas season and am looking forward to putting the tree up after Thanksgiving and enjoying everything that goes along with the holidays. As you have said I can just ignore the rest of it until then and certainly let other people celebrate as they wish - whether it's before Halloween after Halloween or whenever they choose as that's certainly their right.

    I think that Anndi said it best in her comment, "... Inthink it has more to do with amazement and some measure of desolation at how quickly time slips through our fingers..."

    I apologize if I offended you in any way with my post, that was never my intention - I just felt the need to rant a little myself when I wrote it and Lord knows we can all do with a good rant once in awhile, right?

  1. My only issue with the retailers is that is sucks the fun out of the actual MONTH of December. I like the traditions of Thanksgiving too! Especially....the mashed potato and Pecan pies!

  1. Jeff B says:

    One of the things I enjoy about Thanksgiving is that it's more about spending time with family and/or friends than shopping and spending.

    For many retailers, the Christmas shopping season can either make or break their year, so I completely understand why they pump so much into trying to entice us to shop at their establishments. I wish the commercialism didn't play such a big part of the season, but such is life.

    Good rant my friend.

  1. Travis says:

    Terra: Yes.

    Michelle: I don't think it's about being politically correct to wish someone Happy Holidays...I think it's being polite.

    NNG: And cheers to you too! Smiles are the "reason for the season"!

    Jennifer: I hope I touched them in a good way.

    Ann: I just don't understand why it can bother someone so much when I wish them Happy Holidays or Joyous Yule. They are both seasonally appropriate and meant to wish someone joy and happiness. Isn't this time of year supposed to be about those things? Oh...good point about the time going by.

    Charles: Co-sign.

    Clancy: Yes! Maybe the retailers jump the gun, but that shouldn't have any impact on our own individual enjoyment of the time.

    Akelamalu: I went to Home Depot today and got a bit old happy when I saw all the cool holiday stuff.

    Linda: Awwww...you didn't offend me. This post has been building for several weeks in answer to a lot of stuff I hear around me in my brick and mortar life. But I was confused as to why you would let it upset you or put any pressure on you. You're such a positive person and it caught me by surprise. Besides, I'm really only right for me. And your rant was about your feelings. I would never tell you you're wrong about the way you feel. I can't speak for anyone else. I just like to try and keep control over what makes me happy, and let go of what doesn't. Thanks for coming by!

    Starr: But they only do that if you let them! You are in charge of the fun in your life, not the retailers!

    Jeff: Hey buddy! I think that any holiday can be about exactly what you want it to be about. We control that, not some nebulous "them" that says you have to celebrate in some specific way.

    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and opinions!

  1. Linda says:

    Figured I'd stop by cuz I know you're so good about answering your comments!

    I guess what got to me about all of this is that it's like Starrlight said, it just "seems to suck some of the fun out of December" and the rush also overlooks most of November which is a pretty cool month in and of itself. Thanksgiving is just one of those holidays that I have such happy childhood memories of because it's all about family and getting together to have a good meal and watch football or old movies and then eat again when you aren't really hungry but who can resist a turkey sandwich?!? Sadly, in the Christmas crunch some of that just seems to get lost.

    I guess maybe another more personal reason is that my Dad's birthday is the 25th of November and some years we were lucky enough to have that fall on Thanksgiving. My father's been gone for 6 years now but I can't help but think about how much he liked Thanksgiving and my Mom's cooking and having us all over even when he acted like he didn't.

    I know that I can ignore the retailers and as much of the commercialization as possible but when you start the Christmas season in October, it just seems to make the rest of the year go by too quickly - at least for me - and I'd like to be able to savor each holiday on its own.

    Now as for people getting all bent out of shape when you give them yuletide greetings or wish them a happy holiday rather than a Merry Christmas then to them I say "Bah humbug!" and may they be boiled in figgy pudding or staked in their yards with candy canes until they regain some of their cheer and goodwill! You may wish me a joyous noel anytime you choose, good sir, and I shall wish you the same!

  1. Jan says:

    You have every right to rant. It's your blog. And I agree with you whole-heartedly! I'm a big fan of the winter holidays. This time of year brings out the child in me and at my age that's not a bad thing! I hear others grumble about having to get out and fight the crowds. I love it! It puts me in the spirit of Christmas! My kids complain how expensive Christmas is. I tell them I don't need or want a thing but allow me to spoil them cause I love doing so. Don't rain on my parade.

  1. Cherie says:

    One of my favorite Christmas traditions is watching the Claytronic (or whatever it's called) "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town". It's got the Fred Astaire opener, and I think that Mickey Rooney is "playing" Santa. It's from the 60's or something, and they were complaining about the "commercialism" of Christmas then. What is "Miracle on 34th St" other than a complaint about the "commercialism" of Christmas. The people who think that this is a problem that just popped up are plain crazy. I think that the season is wonderful from so many different angles. And I'm praying that the retail sector is able to end out the quarter and the year well. So, however anyone wants to celebrate the season is great with me, but I'm not ready to put up my lights just yet. ;)

  1. Mama Zen says:

    I've never understood all the angst about holiday greetings. How hard is it to just be polite and move on?

  1. Sasa says:

    Cheers!! You are very wise!

  1. Sadie says:

    I agree.

    You know, I don't understand getting mean and grumpy over someone's attempt to share joy.

    I think your response to Merry Christmas is entirely perfect. When I say Merry Christmas, I basically mean "yay! It's snowy and there are lights and I like the way cinnamon smells! I hope you're feeling cheerful!" It's just easier to say Merry Christmas.

  1. Anndi says:

    OK. So I gave your question about someone getting upset about the "Joyous Yule" response some thought.

    Yes, the season IS about glad tidings... overall. But it does carry very specific meanings to different people based on religion and culture.

    This could have been an instance of pressure being released. I'm assuming that this person is of Christian denomination since they wished you a Merry Christmas.

    Thing is, with all the PC sanitization of the season that's been going on, and the constant push to remove anything remotely "religious" from public life, your response may have been, for this person, the proverbial straw breaking the donkey's (since it's Christmas and Mary rode a donkey) back. We DO have differences, and this sanitization does in a way tend to erase them, but not really in a good way. It takes away our ability to accept that we are different but can and should co-exist.

    When someone issues such a specific greeting, they're basically (unless under employer restriction to utter the non-denominational "Happy Holidays" thing) identifying their beliefs and the significance the season has for them. And they're including you in their community by assuming you are a part of the same "flock". So when you wish them something different, it may come off as a "diss".
    I had a lot of Jewish customers in a previous retail life. If they wished me Happy Hannukah first, out of respect for their beliefs, and in the spirit of "brotherhood" I never answered Merry Christmas even if it is MY holiday.
    I do that as a way to put them and their beliefs as the center of the exchange and to honour them as a valuable person. To me, it's a kindness, pure and simple... and a gratitude that they see me as kindred. I let the person that extended the greating to me first, set the tone... because THEY tendered a kindness onto me.

    I'm not saying their reaction was OK, but I can fathom how it came about.
    My response to your question, and my understanding of the blow-up would have been enriched if you'd told us what exactly the person huffed about. So I'm just going on a few hunches here. Just my two cents adjusted for exchange rate and inflation.

  1. Jamie says:

    Great rant Travis. I do come from a slower era when Halloween was halloween. Thanksgiving was thanksgiving, and Christmas didn't start until the weekend after when my aunt made her fruitcakes and divinity to start shipping to relatives. We still try to adhere to the schedule.

    It is pleasant, but it is ours and as with many other issues, I see no reason to foist those traditions off on anyone else. Can I be mildly irked at the sight of stuffed Xmas animals made in China on the supermarket shelves? They are so tacky sitting there next to the spaghetti. :-)

  1. Great rant, Travis! I'm definitely with you on this! I'm gonna try "Joyous Yule" next time someone says Merry Christmas! Thanks for that! :)

  1. Jo says:

    I applaud you my new Blog friend. Thank you your visit to my blog and leaving a trail of bread crumbs to follow you back to yours. I agree with you whole heartedly and commend you for the way you presented it. :o)

  1. I'm a Christmas maniac who haunts the still-in-boxes Christmas departments as they're being set up. Like my mom and I did yesterday, in fact! LOL!

    My very best friend is a bah-humbug person. Go figure.

    The world indeed is made up of all kinds, and as Monty Python's Brian from Life of Brian says: 'There's no pleasing some people.'

  1. jennifer says:

    Yes, your post touched nerves in a good way.

    My Tide had a good game and our QB is looking so much better. I'm hoping the yardage that Ingram got helped his Heisman prospects.

    I'm sorry about your Fighting Irish. I didn't see any of the game but it appears to have been a close one.

  1. Rant heard. Rant received.
    Well ranted, I might add.

  1. P.S. Why would anybody object to Joyous Yule? I don't get it!
    Bah Humbug!

  1. TopChamp says:

    NICE! I like you ranting.

    However I did object to playing at xmas opening preview charity night or whatever it was in October. The 8th I believe. I didn't object so much that I wouldn't take the money.............

  1. Bond says:

    I also use Happy Holiday when out in public. It jsut seems easier for me.

    I do have to say that Saturday we went to pick up some take-out and the store next to the pizza place had their tree and decorations up...Nancy and I both commented that we wished they waited until after Thanksgiving to do so...

    I don't remember Christmas/Hanukkah taking over Thanksgiving.

  1. I agree completely, which is why I dropped ALL holidays when I left my ex. If it weren't for Charles, I still wouldn't "celebrate" anything. I prefer to give gifts when the perfect gift appears, rather than waiting for specific days. Life's so much easier that way.