Ho Ho Huh?

IMG_8346So Starbucks has found itself in the middle of a brouhaha (more like a brew-ha-ha, amirite?) over its austere red ombre cups for the holidays. Internet outrage abounds. Not only are some people offended by the lack of vaguely Christmas-y doodles on the new cups, but other people are offended by the fact that people are offended.

And even though I think this news has run its course, Donald Trump — arbiter of all that is rational and compassionate – is weighing in, so I can’t let it go. Trump suggested boycotting Starbucks. Good luck with that. He also promised that if elected, everyone will be saying “Merry Christmas” again. Which begs the question that I shout at the TV to Trump and all other politicians again and again: how exactly are you going to do that?

Ok, here’s the thing. If today is one of the 364 days of the year that is not your birthday, I won’t walk up to you and say happy birthday. Similarly, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I won’t wish you a Merry Christmas. If I don’t know you well enough to have insight as to what you celebrate in December but want to wish you well nonetheless, I’m going with happy holidays. That just seems to make sense, right?

Starbucks chose a simple red cup to acknowledge the upcoming holidays. This should not impact anyone’s holidays. I think the bigger question needs to be why are corporations so deeply involved in our families’ celebrations in the first place?

Just as I don’t need a pumpkin spice latte to let me know it’s fall, I don’t need a decorated cup to let me know the holidays are coming. Nor do I need Lexus suggesting that a luxury sedan wrapped in a big red bow is a reasonable gift this time of year. Instead of worrying about whether or not companies use the word “Christmas,” why don’t we push back against their efforts to whip us all into a gift buying frenzy in the first place?

We consistently say the holidays aren’t about the gifts, they’re about people – family, friends and those in need. Therefore, the most important thing to be spending this season is time. Time with people we love. Time helping others. Time cultivating gratitude. This isn’t news. We all know this. I’ve even written about it before (although in a much more profane way) in this post.

But it takes blinders, earplugs and an iron will not to succumb to the message in the media. I’m glad Starbucks’ cupgate happened in early November so I have a head start in thinking about what’s truly important this season and how my family will celebrate. I simply want time with them. Maybe even at a Starbucks, sipping hot chocolate out of a plain red cup.

Happy holidays, may you spend wisely this year.

Gingerbread What?

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Hey you – the crazy lady in the mirror with bags under her eyes and a sizable zit from stress-eating too much chocolate.

Did I really just hear you refer to gingerbread men as “little fuckers?”  As in, “how am I ever going to find time to bake those little fuckers?”

You’re missing the whole point and you know it.  Christmas could be tomorrow and it would be perfect.  The magic has already happened.

The kids are more excited about picking out gifts for each other than they are about their own Christmas loot.  Everyone worked together to decorate the house.  It looks like it’s been styled by Martha Stewart’s quirky, possibly drunk sister – and it’s awesome.  Putting the kids in charge of Elf on a Shelf on weekends so mom and dad could be surprised was a brilliant move.  Soak this in.

You know that the only thing you want everyone to remember about Christmas this year was how much they laughed and how much they loved.  Nothing that can be wrapped will ever do that.

So stop this nonsense.  Get some sleep.  Go for a swim.  Enjoy your friends and family.  And by all means, knock off the frenzied shopping and use the extra time to bake those little gingerbread fuckers – they’re one of the best parts of Christmas.