Some say I’m a scrooge; they might be right. But here are three exhibits in my defense:
1. The early part of my career was spent in retail, which is tough on the holiday spirit. There’s a syndrome for everything else; why not one for retail survivors? Let’s call it PTHSS: Post-Traumatic Holiday Shock Syndrome.
2. Since I don’t wait until the holidays to give someone a gift, I just don’t get all worked up about holiday giving. Not that the ladies mind getting stuff all year (let’s not lose our heads!) — it’s just that they want me to be giddy about giving at Christmas-time. Giddy? Bah! Humbug!
3. As an avowed contrarian, it would be antithetical for me to feel obligated to do what everyone else is doing. And one thing that is part and parcel of the holiday season is obligation. For example:
a) If someone gives my significant other and me a last-minute gift before Christmas, “Other” feels obligated to reciprocate. I don’t. I’ll do something nice for them in March.
b) After the holiday cards have been sent, if a card comes in from someone not on your list do you rush to reciprocate? Not me – maybe next year. In fact, to a scrooge, not reciprocating is endearing.
It’s not that I don’t like the holidays. As a Christian, this is an important time in my faith life. As a capitalist, the importance of holiday spending to the economy is not lost on me. But I just don’t care for what we self-absorbed humans hath wrought on the holiday season; and if that makes me a scrooge, guilty as charged.
On behalf of my misunderstood brethren and sisteren (I heard of a female scrooge once), let me clear up a few things.
- Scrooges can be lovable – even cute.
2. Some are actually generous, but without the giddiness.
3. Scrooges can be compassionate without saying, “Bless their hearts,” over and over.
To influence my acquittal, I offer two challenges into evidence; one for me and one for us:
1. I challenge myself to be more receptive to, and tolerant of the silly parts of the holiday season. But please, be patient; the mill of a scrooge grinds slowly.
2. I challenge us to be more generous, loving, thankful and spiritual all year long, not just during the holidays.
Imagine what would happen if we all practiced peace on earth and goodwill toward everyone, every day. It might sound something like this: “Let’s help those people right now, in the middle of July!”
Write this on a rock...Peace to you and yours. Shalom. Salaam. Que la paz este con ustedes.
Jim Blasingame is one of the world’s leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and award-winning host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show. In addition to his weekly columns, Jim is the author of two books; Small Business is like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success.