Cashmas, often shortened to $mas, has been defined by a senior member of the Yummish Council as “the primary holiday celebrated in capitalist cultures. Generally observed around the winter solstice, $mas is a celebration of materialism in which its celebrants attempt to flatter or impress relatives, friends, and acquaintances with the extent of their purchasing power. (The "power to get".) $mas co-opts signs, symbols, and sympathies from other religious holidays of the winter season to mask its foundation of conspicuous consumption. In the United States, where the holiday is most actively observed, $mas traditionally begins on "Black Friday", that is, the day following Thanksgiving Thursday in November. Holiday observations traditionally end on January 2nd, but may arguably be said to extend through "Super Bowl Sunday" of professional American football. This event can occur as late as the month of February.”
$mas is not, as is sometimes misunderstood, a condemnation of the Christmas holiday. The Yummish Council is all in favor of that nice Jewish hippie boy getting to celebrate his birthday in a big way. The Yummish faith calls for all birthdays to be celebrated and if a few million people want to get together to mark the day selected to commemorate the birth of a guy who decided to blow off carpentry to go fishing for the rest of his life and then got nailed to a tree because of his lack of a Protestant work ethic, it is absolutely fine with the Yummish. Many Yummish celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus or a combination thereof and find that these celebrations are effective at increasing their Yum, which is ultimately the point.
There are others, however, who find themselves growing tense and angry, feeling inadequate, or stressed and stretched beyond limit. These are the victims of $mas.
With traffic, crowds, high prices, rude staff and other shoppers driven mad by the constant exposure to saccharine holiday music since early October, it is easy to get caught up in $mas. What may start as a deep and heart felt desire to do something pleasant – give a gift, throw a party, travel to visit loved ones -- can quickly devolve into something negative if we lose sight of the YUM.
There is no guaranteed path to avoid the pitfalls of $mas, as it is so deeply ingrained in our (OK American , but don't get too smug, probably yours' too) culture. Even the most devoted seekers of the YUM can find themselves getting swept up in the powerful negative currents of $mas. That is why it is important to keep your Yum strong and ready for the task ahead. Below are some suggested means of fortifying your Yum during this perilous season:
*Treat yourself. Gifts are more meaningful when the giver is joyful in spirit, so when you take a moment to go have your toes done, remember that you are doing it not just for yourself, but for everyone on your gift list.
*Skip something. Let one task go. Strike it from your “to do” list and savor the feeling of relief in having one less thing to accomplish. Chances are that no one but you will even know.
*Drink hot chocolate. Saint Peet forgive me, but Starbucks has the best, with Tully's a close and less humiliating second. The Yummish Council has done extensive research in this area. (If HC is not your trip, simply substitute your own preferred indulgence.)
Remember, only those things that add to your feelings of Yum are truly in the holiday spirit.
Today's Yummish Exercise:
Watch for signs of $mas invading your holidays.
Next: Probably something about New Year's Eve... or Day... or something else entirely...