Monday, November 24, 2014

Spreading the holiday cheer by keeping your mouth shut

The holidays are upon us, along with a lot of well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people who want to tell you how to celebrate.
I'm not talking about the ones who are hawking centerpieces, lights, or useless plastic thingamabobs. Those are advertisers and salespeople, and you can safely ignore them. Just like you ignore them the rest of the year when they are trying to sell you patriotic tablecloths and Easter egg wreaths.

I'm referring to the people you actually know. The ones who grab you and rail against materialism, or the lack of Christ in Christmas, or sol in solstice, or are in some way righteously upset about people  celebrating the holiday wrong.
I mention this because of a humblebrag I received on my Facebook feed, about being "so happy to have opted out of all the commercialism." You're really going to start the holiday season by telling everyone you know that the holidays are a waste of time and money?  How very considerate, and bah humbug to you too.
I agree that there are people who go overboard, but that is their business. It is not polite to tell people how to spend their money or celebrate their holidays unless you've been asked, and even then, I'd keep it to: don't put yourself into debt, and don't make yourself crazy.
If lights, presents, and overspending bothers you, then don't do it. Nobody is forcing you to buy presents, hang a wreath, or decorate a tree. If you like your tree covered with homemade ornaments instead of glass, that is your decision. If you prefer to leave the trees in the ground outside, put up a Festivus pole, or ignore the holiday altogether, that is fine.  Just don't lecture the rest of us about it.
Think how much better people would get along, if we kept our opinions to ourselves. Even if, (perhaps especially if) we think we're being funny. Which is why when your ditzy aunt shows up in a bright orange dress, with sparkles, you say "You look so cheerful!" and not "You look like a bedazzled traffic cone." (In full disclosure, I actually did say that, and I regret it to this day.)

In the immortal words of Thumper:

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