What Season is it Anyway?


Last week — on Tuesday, November 1, to be precise — Hubs and I went into Kohl’s to return a few things. The second we hit the door, I cocked my head to the side in disbelief, then looked at Hubs and asked, “Is that REALLY Christmas music I’m hearing?”

Before he could respond, the cashier at the front of the store quickly verified that it was, in fact, holiday music pouring forth from the speakers. Walking in a Winter Wonderland, in case you’re wondering. Now, it wasn’t exactly balmy outdoors, but it certainly didn’t qualify as a winter wonderland by any stretch of the imagination. Nonetheless, as we made our way to the back of the store, I wondered about first my reaction, then the cashier’s. Why is it, exactly, that hearing holiday music bothers us so much? I don’t go  into Hollister complaining about their soundtrack, or whine about a restaurant’s dinner music, even though I sometimes feel the need to shout over it.

So why the holiday music? Is it because it’s the “thing to do”? Are we just too cool to profess our giddiness about the season? Have we let commercialism strip every bit of enjoyment out of the season of “peace on earth and good will toward men”?

I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that this year that instead of complaining about the early onset of the season, I’ll embrace it. Rather than the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas being one frantic bolt for the finish line known as New Year’s, I hope to sit back and enjoy the time. I want it to be more about people and less about presents; more quality and less money. I’d like to enjoy the families that we enjoy socializing with, but don’t find the time to due to busy schedules. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll even figure out a way to sign a few Christmas cards per evening than give myself carpal tunnel from one four-hour marathon signing session.

Maybe this weekend we’ll go out to tag our Christmas tree, or perhaps we’ll get started on those gift-in-a-jars that we’ve been planning. Even better? I’ll dig out the Christmas music and get my own head start on the season, right here at home.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Ramadan, or just wondering what the fuss is all about, why not share with the rest of your military tribe what you’re doing this year to kick off the season right? After all, who couldn’t use a little more cheer?

About the Author

Shari Smith

Shari is the wife of a career Air Force man and mama to a beautiful teen daughter. Though she describes home as "where the Air Force sends us", she remains devoted to her southern roots.

After spending twenty years in the corporate world, both in the legal/financial fields as well as more recently in online media specializing in women's interests, Shari's professional life took an unexpected turn when an injury paralyzed her left leg. As a direct result of her injury, Shari was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Through her darkest days, Shari has found her faith renewed and strengthened. Not content to merely accept such a diagnosis and determined that something positive would come from the negative, Shari launched Rain into Rainbows. Rain into Rainbows serves both as an outlet for Shari's thoughts and emotions regarding her life-changing injury and chronic illness, as well as a resource for other women with similar experiences. Her hope is that by sharing her story with others, she might begin to turn the page into the next chapter of her life as well.

  • Kelsey

    FYI: Ramadan is not a winter holiday. The Islamic calendar follows a different system, so sometimes Ramadan is in the winter, but this year it was in August.

    I’m Jewish, and I enjoy the holiday, but not the season. I worked at a grocery store in high school, which meant I heard the same five Christmas songs covered by about 20 different artists for months. I like that people are nice during the season, as long as they are truly nice, and not just pretending. People put so much pressure on the holiday that it drives them crazy. They get mad and angry if something doesn’t go their way. I wish more people could be like you and just enjoy the time with family and good cheer, instead of worrying about all the details that don’t really matter.

    Hannukah is a quiet time to spend with family. The short version of most Jewish holidays is, “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” We constantly celebrate the fact that we are still here.

    • “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” LOVE!!

      Thank you for the info regarding Ramadan. I’m not sure now, come to think of it, why I (erroneously) thought that Ramadan was always a winter holiday. A quick Google search would have solved that, and I’m a tad embarrassed that I didn’t perform my usual due diligence when writing about subjects with which I’m not familiar. Great reminder for me!

      I’ll be honest with you. Prior to my injury, I *was* one of the ones that was rushing around, putting enormous amounts of pressure on myself as well as others. Funny how a significant injury or illness can change your perspective like that, isn’t it?

      I think this holiday season will be interesting given the nation’s continuing economical woes. I would love to see a return to simpler times, where the season became more about the people and less about the presents.

  • Michelle

    I totally agree Rain to rainbows. I want to make it about the people this year. I would love to open my home to military personnel that are not able to go home for the holidays and would end up being alone. Those that would enjoy a huge dinner, wall to wall to floor to ceiling decorations (next best thing to the north pole), music, laughter & lots of love. But how does one find the military program that would connect us? Is there even a program like this in existance?? Any help would be appreciated

    • That is a lovely idea, Michelle! I’m sure you’d be able to find some military personnel and families that would truly appreciate such a thing.

      As to how to find a program, I’m most familiar with the Air Force obviously, so my ideas would come from that end. I’m sure other readers will be able to chime in with more.

      Are you near a training base with students? If so, invariably there are those who can’t make it home for one reason or another, whether it’s finances, logistics, or even because they have no core family to which they can return. Probably the best place to find kids like that would be talking directly to instructors, as they’re usually most aware of what’s going on with their troops.

      Other than that, you can ask at your local Family Support Center (or whatever your branch calls it) to see if they know of anyone or if they maintain a list or would like to keep your name on file for families without a place to go for the holidays.

      And one other idea — if you’re part of a local civic or religious group, put out the word there as well. Chances are someone might know someone, or know of someone, who doesn’t have a place to go for the holidays.

      And wall to wall, floor to ceiling decorations? My kinda place! :-)