Personally I am offended. The Christmas I grew up celebrating was all about snow. That was the object of worship in Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. That was the scene plastered all over every Holiday storefront window. That was the scenery which Rudolph traversed to save Christmas. And who can forget
that wonderful snow storm when George Bailey discovered what life would be like without him. Snow is what Christmas is all about, which is why I have started wishing everyone a “Merry Snowiday” or a “Merry Snowmas” depending on their religious
So when Starbucks issued a statement saying that their Christmas cups will no longer feature snow, I was offended. I wasn’t offended for any religious reason. I’m just mad that nobody called me and asked what I wanted on my Snowmas cup. After all, besides snow, December (or Snowmember) is all about me. It is about what I want, what I get, what I give and how often I feel the Snowmas spirit deep down inside my body. If somebody from the evil Starbucks corporation had called and asked me what to put on snowiday cups, my answer obviously would have been those evil snowmen from Doctor Who. I watched that episode a week or so ago and it was the last time I felt the Snowmas spirit. It would appear those lousy liberals at Starbucks don’t think Snowikah should be about me any more.
Of course, I am not the only one offended this season. It turns out my entire Facebook feed is offended because someone somewhere is offended at the Starbucks cups. Yes, this particular crisis is so “meta” that we are offended because others are offended. And, yeah, this post is even more meta as I am expressing my disapproval of those people who are offended because others are offended.
I am not actually offended, nor do I care about what some crazy guy who wouldn’t even have an audience in the non internet age thinks about Starbucks cups. And the cups themselves don’t offend me. Nor am I offended by the millions of people who flocked to Facebook to say, “I’m not them!”
However, I do wonder if there are other, more crucial areas in our life when we over react to overreactions like we all overreacted to this. I wonder how often we do it in our marriages, our families, our churches, our business places, our politics. After all, any therapist will tell you that when someone is yelling at you they are not really yelling at you and what they are yelling about isn’t what they are actually angry about.
Instead they are yelling because they feel marginalized, invisible, misheard and they think you, or the entire internet, may be a safe place to become visible again. If that is the case, then by overreacting to their crazy, you become crazy. After all, you are the one telling the marginalized person how stupid they are.
So instead I have learned that the solution is to ask great question like, “Why do you think those Starbucks cups set off an angry rant inside of you?” “What is it about crazy people who don’t like Starbucks that makes you run to the internet to let everyone know how crazy they are?” “Why does the absence of snow during the holidays leave you miserable inside?” “Should we say Happy Snowmas or Merry Snowidays or just sing ‘Snow, Snow, Snow’ from ‘White Christmas?'” “Are all snowmen with teeth evil or just some of them?” “How great was that Doctor Who episode?”
These questions open up dialog which leads to understanding which helps with self awareness. And our world needs so much more of those things, especially during this glorious Snowmas season.