‘Tis the season?

by Tamara A.

Christmas shopping.  Buying a Christmas tree.  Decorating the tree.  Baking cookies and other goodies.  Crazy Shoppers. Desperation to complete your list.  Wrapping presents. Last minute panic. Family gatherings. Watching A Christmas Story.  Stocking stuffers.  Christmas songs.  Traveling.  Seeing the Nutcracker.  Hot chocolate.  Hiked-up prices. Christmas lights.  Expected nature of giving.  Hopefully, snow.

There are a lot of things that the Christmas season brings about.  Some of them are good.  Some of them are bad.  Some of them that are good to me are bad to someone else.  Some of them that are good to someone else are bad to me.  Like everything else, there are positives and negatives.

Everyone knows a scrooge.  There is always at least that one person around you that doesn’t like Christmas.  They aren’t infected by the Christmas cheer; they can’t stand hearing the Christmas songs; they don’t watch the holiday movies; they hate buying and wrapping presents.  The season is more of something that they have to deal with for a month rather than enjoy.  I have come across many a scrooge and they each have their own reasons for their negative feelings towards Christmas.

One of the most common grievances against Christmas is that it has become purely a hot bed of consumerism.  Which holds some truth.  Stores definitely take advantage of this “season of giving” by telling you what you need to give for the best present or need to buy to make your Christmas perfect.  Christmas has become a money pit for those participating.

However, I heard a new argument this year…and it came from my boyfriend (I’d put him in the scrooge category).  He fights the Christmas spirit because he feels that the season is promoted as a time of emphasized generosity and giving that allows people to skimp on such things the rest of the year.  People use the phrase “tis the season” to explain being courteous, tipping their servers better, holding the door for people, making those extra donations, etc. when in reality, people should be doing these types of things throughout the whole year.  He holds that without a Christmas season, this extra compassion and giving should be and would be distributed evenly throughout the rest of the year.

I agree with the fact that people should be like that throughout the whole year. I disagree with the fact that such generosity would be evenly spread evenly throughout the whole year.

In my mind, there are three types of people in this equation:

  1. The people that have that generous mindset all year round.  They don’t need the push or the coercion of the Christmas season to give, whether that is of their time or skills or wallet.  They have a more charitable focus on life.
  2. The people who use Christmas or other designated seasons/events to fuel their generosity.  They don’t quite have the motivation to make donations on their own accord, but use a bit of Christmas persuasion and they are happy to join in.
  3. The people that won’t give no matter what the season.  They are focused more on themselves and what is best for their own betterment.

None of these people are bad.  (I would like to see fewer #3s.)  A person’s spirit of giving can be hugely affected by their environment, financial situation, or ability to contribute among other circumstances.  While I believe that, yes, it would be fantastic if the global population as a whole had this sense of giving and selflessness throughout the entire year, I will gladly except a season or defined period as the “season of giving” where generosity, compassion, sacrificing, and giving are stressed by all.  It is idealistic to think that people could and would donate consistently during the calendar year; however, it is more realistic to understand and accept the motivation that the Christmas season provides and that it would probably not exist without it.

Some is better than none.  And having Christmas time, that generates nearly a quarter of the yearly donations to nonprofits and charitable groups, is better than no Christmas time

And let’s be real, on top of boost in charity, I’m just a sucker for Christmas and the spirit it brings.  It’s fun.


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