The season of irony, and what it could be

Whatever it is you do for others, do it more in the next few weeks, and keep on doing it.

Tis the season, right? The season of what, though? The season of joy, charity and goodwill you might find on a greeting card. Currently, it can seem reality is starkly different.

Holiday season, in its modern version anyway, is like a bowl full of irony and contradiction.

Giving is truly better than receiving. But ironically, The New York Times reported Tuesday that a trend retailers have noticed this year is people buying for themselves.

The season of joy is unfortunately a season of higher depression rates. Here, there is some good news, though: Studies have shown it is not the season of higher suicide rates, as is commonly believed. So, at least, we have that going for us.

Now is the season of peace on Earth, goodwill to men, everyone from Bing Crosby to Alabama has sang. Outside of the decidedly unpeaceful reality for many around the globe, just walking around a mall or braving a crowded freeway would make you wonder about the goodwill bit, too.

If it seems as though we got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, we might have. But seriously, we really can do better than this.

On the other hand, one can look at the glass as half full. Many people do genuinely think differently about things during this season. The amount charities take in spikes around the holidays, and people seem more warm, at least around familiars.

Even some governments act differently. The city of Riverton, Wyo., cut its traffic fines in half and will give the remaining funds to charity. It must budget better out there.

Any other time of the year, the Salvation Army’s bell ringers would be downright annoying. But there’s the rub. We seem to “open our shut-up hearts” for just a small window and then in the hangover of New Year’s Day, close them again.

Instead, the energy of the holiday season should reinvigorate our ideas of caring and consideration. Whatever it is you do for others, do it more in the next few weeks, and keep on doing it next year, the year after that and so on.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Sign up at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Pick a charity, and give what you can. Most importantly, treat those in your everyday life just a little bit better.

Have a good break, and enjoy whatever traditions you celebrate, or just enjoy the time off.