Column: Happy holidays not so happy


Considering the significance of a little kindness

By Stephen Cook

With the holidays quickly approaching, the weather, the music on the radio and front yard decorations are all about to change. Unfortunately, those aren’t the only things that change seasonally.

It also seems people become something else during the holidays. I don’t know if it is their alter egos coming out or if the commercial madness just turns everyone into retail zombies.

It begins immediately – now that Halloween is over all attention is turned toward the upcoming festivities. First is Thanksgiving, a time when it is acceptable to gorge yourself and then turn around and buy more stuff on Black Friday, despite you supposedly being thankful for what you already have.

Then begins the downward spiral towards Christmas and New Year’s holidays: shoppers fill the malls and parking lots, overflowing in a way that would never indicate that the current employment rate is 7.2 percent and many families are still hurting economically.

Ironically, there isn’t much “happy” during the holidays for some individuals. Seasonal affective disorder (or SAD), is also known as the “Winter Blues” and can wind up “sapping your energy and making you feel moody,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The holidays tend to be a time of extreme emotional highs and lows.

When you’re out and about, or even with friends and family, do your best to be kind and courteous to others no matter the circumstances. During this time of year, you never know what somebody may be going through.

Working in retail can give you a unique perspective of the world. I can tell you from personal experience that just a little bit of kindness to a random Price Chopper worker can go a long way; especially during the holidays.

In short, treat others as you would want to be treated.

If everyone took a deep breath and thought about the real importance of that flat screen TV or Xbox One they are running over other human beings to get, then this world would be a very different place.

For all you know, your house could go up in flames the very next day; every gift and every steal-of-a-deal would be gone. Would you care about all that or would you care that your family or friends got out safely?

As much as the celebration and thanksgiving that goes on during the holidays should be year-round, so should your kindness to other people. After all, everything you know could change in a matter of seconds – treasure what matters most, not fleeting, material objects.

In 10 years will you remember the deals you got or the people you spent time with?

Contact Stephen Cook, editor-in-chief, at 



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