The "season" approaches. Pumpkin faces begin to wrinkle as turkey feathers fly, and every convenience store, auto manufacturer and household starts decking the halls with price tags, followed -- of course -- by the standard banner willing "peace on earth." We're not discussing a religious holiday here; we're looking at a month-plus reminder that "good will" spread to others neatly fits into a notion of money-spending and gift-giving that launches a new addiction: "retail therapy."
For the financially comfortable, good will as a tangible gift to oneself or to others actually does produce momentary happiness for the giver and the recipient. For those with friends, family and huggable pets, the holiday season promises a short-lived distraction from the quotidian grind.