Pity the poor celebrant who is allergic to Christmas. Trees, that is. That tannenbaum—a real one, not an artificial evergreen—standing majestically in the corner of the living room carries mold and other allergens into the house, making sniffling or wheezing as common a holiday sound as carolers singing before your front door (at least in my Frank Capra version of the wonderful life we all live).
Oh, and let’s not forget allergies also can be triggered by stress. Few times of year are more stressful than the end of year holidays. Notice I didn’t single out Christmas. As if they didn’t need more tsuris in their lives, Jews get agita from picking the right Hanukkah presents for their loved ones and from having to fight crowds in stores. The Chosen People don’t all buy at wholesale. Some of those fantastic retail discounts really are worth the ride to the shopping center.
Of course, getting to the store is among the most dreaded activities. Today, for example, is a gridlock alert day in New York City. Moreover, according to a Consumer Reports online survey of 1,100 consumers, 40% rated “aggressive, thoughtless driving in parking lots” as among their most dreaded aspects of the Yuletide season. It trailed only “crowds, long lines” at 58% and “weight gain”, 41%. (Totals exceeded 100% because multiple responses were allowed.)
Consumer Reports also found “60% of shoppers would rather receive cash as a present than a gift card. And 8-in-10 would rather receive something practical over something ostentatious as a gift.”
By the way, as irksome as seasonal music can be to some, only 14% said it bothered them, just slightly more than the 12% who said they dreaded “seeing certain relatives.”
One aspect of the holiday the CR survey did not measure was annoying commercials. Today I heard for the umpteenth time a spot for Hoodie-Footie pajamas, “the most talked about gift” of the year. For sure it was most talked about, given all the ad time the company has bought. It’s doubtful anyone but someone paid to talk about the hoodie-footie is talking about it.
I also have problems with an ad for a not-so-typical Christmas gift, that of an electric garage door opener. LiftMaster is advertising the ability to remotely access your garage from anywhere in the world just in case you realize from afar your need to open or close your garage door. Don’t bother wondering why you could be halfway around the world before realizing your garage door may be open. Wonder instead why you are so detached from society that you don’t have a relative or friend who lives nearby whom you would not trust with your garage door code.