Friday, December 1, 2023

Andy Young: Is it time to rebrand December?

By Andy Young

Months are just like human beings.

No normal person wants to be inaccurately prejudged. But when it comes to stereotyping, many otherwise rational individuals only recognize the injustice of prejudice when they sense, justifiably or not, it’s being aimed at them. The sad reality: far too many people unjustly profile folks they don’t know based on one or more preconceived (and usually erroneous) notions.

It’s unlikely there’s anyone currently living in America who hasn’t felt the sting of being unfairly or wrongly characterized based on race, nationality, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, profession, mode of dress, or a combination of those things at some point in their life.

And even if such an inordinately fortunate person did exist, they couldn’t be female, African-American, Irish, Jewish, Asian, Italian, blonde, Hispanic, male, Islamic, Democrat, Republican, introverted, extroverted, Polish, French, gay, straight, nonbinary, an evangelical Christian, a baby boomer, a Gen X-er, a Gen Z-er, a car dealer, a lawyer, a vegan, a cigarette smoker, a government employee, a city dweller, a rural resident, a recipient of public assistance, a billionaire, a celebrity, or a billionaire celebrity, given the proclivity contemporary Americans have for being judgmental.

Are there positive stereotypes? Sure… sort of. But while complimenting someone based on their appearance and/or perceived talent(s) may seem like a kindness, the fact is not everyone over 6’6” is good at basketball, or has even the slightest interest in the sport, for that matter.

Which brings us to unfairly stereotyped months, specifically December.

Sure, being associated with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa is nominally better than a wide variety of lesser distinctions. But every month has something that makes it stand out. To wit: January: New Year. February: Valentine’s Day. March: St. Paddy’s Day. April: showers. May: flowers. School’s out in June, July, and August mean endless summers, which thankfully don’t include triple digit temperatures around here. September (Labor Day weekend), October (Halloween) and November (Thanksgiving) all have specific celebrations as well.

But having an entire month classified as “holiday season” is too generic. December is overdue for a strategic rebranding, and there are a myriad of directions in which the final month of the calendar year’s perceived image can go.

For example, America’s December is, unsurprisingly, already National Eggnog Month and National Fruit Cake Month. It’s also National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, although with no disrespect intended, every month ought to be National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

A trio of American presidents, Martin Van Buren, Andrew Johnson, and Woodrow Wilson, were born in last 12th of the year, but since three former chief executives (George Washington, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford) died during December, labeling it “Commander-in-Chief Month” seems a bit of a stretch.

Less USA-centric types might point out that December 2nd is Armed Forces Day in Cuba, the 9th is Navy Day in Sri Lanka, the 22nd is Unity Day in Zimbabwe, and the 26th is Thanksgiving in the Solomon Islands.

Maybe “Innovation Month” would work, since Chiclets (1905), Monopoly (1935), Scrabble (1948) and Count Chocula (1970) were all trademarked and/or patented during December.

Many accomplished musicians (Taylor Swift, Frank Sinatra, Ludwig van Beethoven), athletes (Larry Bird, LeBron James, Sandy Koufax), actors (Denzel Washington, Mary Tyler Moore, Brad Pitt) and other impact makers (Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, Walt Disney) were born in December. But so were Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Emperor Nero, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, and General George Armstrong Custer, so “Great Birthdays Month” is probably out.


After considering the alternatives, it’s abundantly clear: no rebranding of December will be necessary. For now, continuing to be “Holiday Season” month will have to suffice. <

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