Click to Print
. . . . . . .
Monday, December 7,2015

‘Tis the Season

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

It’s that time of year again:


people cutting in line because they obviously have somewhere to go; crowded stores and streets; and the endless music being piped into our lives, indoctrinating the “holiday spirit” (spend your money) into our weary souls, if only for a few stressful weeks. The holiday season really has become a direct manifestation of our culture. We have a very all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to celebrating. Maybe that is because most of us are truly too busy working to take the time out to celebrate in moderation on a more frequent basis. No, in America it is “Go hard or go home! During the work week, we work hard. On the weekends, we play hard. During the summer, we vacation hard. And during the holidays, we rejoice – hard! We jam it all in: the food and drink, the running around, the sleep deprivation, and the dent in our bank accounts, the family obligations and politics… all in honor of the “holiday season.” I’ve never been much of a “Put the Christ back in "Christmas" groupie, but I have to say, in the WWJD camp, I’m betting he would have more than a few words of wisdom for our flawed ways. And it is clearly the result of our postmodern existence because people go through this stress whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Atheist. The “holiday season” is less and less about its message and more about scheduling in a little family time because, well, we should.

Predictably, with all of the added stress that this season brings, I too fell victim to the clock. My calendar has been full to the brim and I have not had a chance to come up for air. So, when this column was due, and I felt the swish of the deadline go by, I thought about what I could write that would be insightful, but not require an inordinate amount of precious time. Here is what I came up with: It is a suggested list of things we can give to each other this holiday season (adopted from Oren Arnold):

To your enemy, give forgiveness; To an opponent, give tolerance; To a friend, give your ear; To a customer, give service; To every child, a good example; To all, the charity in your heart; To a stranger, a smile; To yourself, respect.

If you are reading this, then you have taken a little time out to smell the roses. Maybe you are sitting in the doctor’s office (if so, good luck!) Perhaps you are in line at the supermarket (get those M&M’s... it is the season!) Wherever you are, may this poem remind you what this season is all about, and help you stay positive in the face of all of the stress that this time of year brings, and may you carry it with you into the New Year as a gift for those you have yet to meet. Blessings!


Jonna Shutowick, M.S. Ed. is a high school history teacher for the Palm Beach County school district. She has created a character named Rosey Shades TM , whose philosophy teaches students about the importance of choosing optimism over pessimism by asking, “What color are the clouds in your world?

For more information, visit


  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5