A friend suggested I write a blog about my least favorite holiday experiences from my working days in school administration, things that I no longer have to put up with now that I’m retired — sort of a reverse Julie Andrews, who sings of her “favorite things” in “The Sound of Music.” Fortunately the list of my gripes comes down to one thing, so I have plenty of room to add the things I also enjoyed.
My single-most pleasure-giving experience this time of year — apart from holiday festivities — is knowing I never have to be interviewed by a news reporter again. November was television ratings month and reporters worked extra hard to turn insignificant events into major news stories to ensure they were pulling in viewers and holding on to their advertisers. December guaranteed me a chance to hold my nose while appearing on conservative radio talk shows to defend the school system’s practice of not allowing Christmas trees in schools or the central administration building, against the host’s charge that we were being anti-Christian. Now when I see organizations’ spokespeople on TV, I feel relief that it’s them and not me.
Apart from showdowns with reporters, I remember December in the school system as a lovely time. School choirs came to the district office to sing to us. We could usually count on a performance by a high school steel drum band or stringed instrument players. We found abundant supplies of cookies, candy and sweet rolls available for the taking in every department. We sponsored either a giving tree or a food drive, both of which reminded us that many of our students and their families needed help this time of year.
Best of all, most of us used vacation days between Christmas and New Year. This speaks to what I enjoy most about retirement whether it’s during this season or any other, namely, not going to work.