Today’s commemoration is the one that makes me cringe. Today is National Whining Day. The unofficial holiday is difficult to write about without sounding whiny myself. So I’ll try and make my point without too much tap dancing around the elephant in the room.
Dreaming up Whining Day was a no-brainer because today is the second most busy day for retailers trailing “Black Friday”. This is when people stand in line to exchange the Christmas presents they don’t like for something else or for cash.
The gift recipients often complain about getting the wrong color, style, size, or not even wanting the thing in the first place. While stewing about the inappropriateness of the gift to meet their desires, they may even whine about the indignity of having to wait in long lines to rectify the gift-givers error. If they received gifts that were purchased in multiple stores, they may have to stand in several lines today. I know I’m glad I don’t work behind the counter of a returns department at a retail store.
One solution may be to wait until a later date to return an unwanted gift. That will give the recipient some time to ponder the Christmas present and appreciate the fact that somebody thought kindly enough to go out of their way to purchase something.
National Whining Day could be turned around by contrarians by celebrating gratitude and thankfulness. I can be a curmudgeonly contrarian guy myself. I think I’ll celebrate Whining Day by personally celebrating it as “Count Your Blessings Day” instead. I’m glad there are people in my life who think enough of me to send a greeting card or some token of our friendship.
It would be wonderful if the United States declared today as Boxing Day. Americans could really benefit by celebrating Boxing Day. My friends in Canada and the UK look forward to the day after Christmas as Boxing Day.
My old pal Andy from Toronto has made a tradition of celebrating Boxing Day by volunteering for his neighborhood food bank. He helps the staff distribute food to elderly and disadvantaged people. The staff appreciates his time because they receive a lot of requests for help after December 25th.
My friend Craig in Vancouver spends Boxing Day at Stanley Park with his friends playing football or basketball. Some years they simply bicycle around the large park and enjoy the scenery. It’s a good way to burn off a few of those excess holiday calories.
Many retailers in Canada have Boxing Day sales. Craig sometimes chases down price reduced things often at steep discounts. If there is something he really wants, Craig waits until Boxing Day to buy it.
“To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want. The world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a whole bunch of undeserving people.” This uncomfortable truth from Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charles T. Munger may be hard for most of us to accept.
Overall, most of us are quite fortunate. Compared to many other people, we have much to be thankful for. We have more convenience and comfort at our fingertips than our grandparents had. It can even be said that even royalty from past centuries didn’t enjoy the conveniences we now take for granted.
We all know at least one acquaintance who indulges in the pastime of complaining and whining. Perhaps they believe their habit makes them a tragic figure in other people’s eyes. The opposite is true. Constant whining and complaining makes a person seem less attractive and desirable.
Since today is National Whining Day I suppose I should air my own main complaints about the holiday season. The relentless commercialism and advertising that goes into fever pitch after Halloween. There are the expectations from ourselves and others to receive something really nice for Christmas. There is the financial pressure. Add to these stresses, the demands by a vocal minority who insist that we greet each other by saying, “Merry Christmas” instead of the more inclusive phrase, “Happy Holidays”. In other words, the holidays seem to inspire a lot of whining. Including my own.
Due to the fact that so much of the whining is about what we did not receive for Christmas, a more practical, constructive approach might be better. Save up some money beforehand to buy yourself a special, affordable gift. This solution will assure us that there will be at least one less whiner on National Whining Day.