By Karam Johal
Gone are the increasingly brief months of shopping mall insanity, overactive sweet teeth and forced camaraderie.
For another four months or so, anyway.
Though the wintertime brings everyone together in a fit of sugar-influenced festivity and gives us the strength to grit our teeth as we walk past aisles and aisles of fat Santas, there are certainly a few things about winter that I’m not going to miss.
Shopping, a chore in and of itself, becomes even harder during the holidays. The pressure to find the perfect personal yet recognizable gift for every single one of your closest friends and family members is a lot to handle.
Gift cards? Dangerous, considering half of the world seems to consider them an insult. What’s wrong with a gift card? Why spend hours on a precious Saturday navigating the holiday-manic mothers and the snot-oozing children searching for a sure-to-be-returned gift when you could simply hand over a bright, cute little rectangle? At least then you’re killing two birds with one stone — giving a gift and passing the burden.
2. New Year’s Resolutions
Even the one winter holiday that doesn’t involve presents is annoying. New Year’s. The chore? Listening to talk of New Year’s Resolutions. Sure, they’re a great idea in theory, but in execution? Oh, wait, there is no execution.
For most people New Year’s resolutions are an opportunity to recognize what is lacking in oneself and get another year to put off changing it. Listening to talk about New Year’s resolutions when you know the inevitable is frankly exhausting.
3. The Weather
One would think that we would get rewarded for these seasonal first world problems with a beautiful white Christmas. But in California, we might as well decorate the palm trees, for the temperature flirts around 70, always. Any day of the year one could walk around Orange County and not know which month it is. When the weather refuses to be special for a just little bit (a couple weeks! Is that too much to ask?), it makes “wintertime” a time of jealousy and wistful sighs as we watch New Yorkers watch the ball drop amid a cloud of white fluff and ABC Family shows us torturous scenes of a snowy Hogwarts.
The lack of snow and holiday weather doesn’t discourage holiday baking, however. I come home to a 13-year-old aspiring pastry chef who wants to try everything in the new cookbooks she gets every Christmas. And who could be a better guinea pig than the hungry college student who can barely boil water and is fresh from finals? Not that I’m complaining, but let’s just say that the results of this holiday baked good madness end up inspiring some of those oh-so-successful New Year’s resolutions …
5. The Guilt
Accompanying the masses of sugar, a bit of guilt tends to reside in Americans’ guts at this time of year too. Organizations like the Salvation Army tempt you to pull out a couple of dollar bills before you enter the mall for another unsuccessful shopping trip.
And, while the Salvation Army certainly does noble work, it’s disapproval of same-sex relationships between Salvationists and Officers, as well as past campaigns against laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, make the entire holiday guilt-inducing routine a tad hypocritical.
While I’m all for charitable donations, especially during the holidays, I don’t think ill-placed entitlement and superiority is the best way to invite donors.
Though there are always minor grievances and things we wish we could change about wintertime, it’s still my favorite time of the year, believe it or not. Looking past crowded malls and whiny friends and a couple of extra pounds is a small request when in return you’re granted a few weeks of food, family and fun. Not a bad trade-off.