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Santa baby, please bring us stores that don’t play loud, tacky Christmas songs, that don’t decorate too early and don’t get the dates of Hanukkah wrong. And while you’re at it, bring us party guests that come on time (not early); real mail, not junk; and people who don’t get their tails in a knot about the phrase “Happy Holidays.” These are a few of the nits readers picked about the holidays when we invited them to blow off some holiday steam. Don’t worry, faithful R&R readers; Rant & Rave, Standard Edition, is being published today, too.

RANT For too-loud, inane, commercialized Christmas music in stores. Christmas songs by a pop, rock-and-roll artist, swing, country, ’50s era or goofball songs like “Jingle Bell Rock” or someone’s grandmother being run over by a reindeer are stupid. Shut off the music!

RANT If I could change one thing about the holiday season it would be that stores PLEASE turn down (or turn off) the same old Christmas songs that are so unbearably familiar it makes one roil in agony. How about trying some Mozart or Haydn? Hearing some of these songs over and over each year drives me batty and often causes me to leave a store. Not everyone can or wants to subscribe to the Christmas holiday as it’s celebrated in stores. No wonder many of us shop online.

RANT To people who are offended by my sincere and heartfelt greeting of “Happy Holidays.” Why is it that I — a stranger — can apparently ruin their holiday by offering the wrong sentiment? If they celebrate Christmas and want to be more religious — isn’t it up to them to put the Christ back in Christmas? Why should it have anything to do with me or how I greet people? Stop shopping and help the needy or feed the hungry if you want to put more meaning in your holiday.

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RANT To the mall Santa who tossed aside a cookie from a senior lady, muttering “Just what Santa needs, another cookie!” If little kids do the same kindness, I hope you’re more polite. Merry Christmas!

RANT To major retailers who displayed Thanksgiving items in mid-October, but with Hanukkah starting the night before Turkey Day, there was nary a menorah or dreidel in sight at many stores, and little more before Hanukkah ended on Dec. 6. The clueless retailers equate Hanukkah with Christmas, so will probably display Hanukkah items up until Dec. 25!

RANT To those who give animals as “surprise” Christmas gifts for others as if they are objects or toys. Owning a pet requires a 10- to 20-year commitment.

RANT Dear early-arrival party guest: I get it … we haven’t chatted in a while so you show up 30 minutes early to catch up and claim you are here to “help.” You aren’t helping. At all. In fact you are in the way. I am in my underwear, I still need to clean the guest toilet and the cat box, and put the finishing touches on five items on the stove. Every party host knows that’s its 5 hours of prep with 30 minutes of chaos at the end. I love you but please, I beg you, show up at the invite start time or “fashionably (30 minutes) late.”

RANT For the junk mail that fills the mailbox at Christmas. I’m sick of the catalogs full of stuff from charitable organizations. Instead of spending tons of money on printing catalogs and maintaining a warehouse full of stuff, they should use the money for the people they’re supposedly collecting it for. I don’t ever give money to any organization that pesters me with begging letters or catalogs.

RANT To Dr. Dre for creating $200-$300 headphones that every boy aged 8-18 has on his holiday wish list and rant to every parent who passes on that wish list to the aunts and uncles without ever checking the prices of the items the child has on the list.

RANT To local television stations that refuse to acknowledge the holidays in any form on their sets. How pathetic is it to see them ignore the season, appearing to be completely out of touch or catering to small groups with agendas.

RANT To the U.S. Postal Service, who happily offered me insurance on all my packages, but didn’t tell me that gift cards may only be claimed for a maximum of $15, even with my receipt showing the full value. You added insult to injury when you sold me insurance I couldn’t use, and then lost my sister-in-law’s Hanukkah gift card. I’m out the insurance money, the $75 I paid for the card, and I still have to buy another gift card! You took the Happy out of my Hanukkah.

RANT With holiday commercialism running rampant, a huge rant to marketers who use the phrase, “The more you spend, the more you save!” In what world does that make sense?

RANT As I drive around the wet, winter-dark streets of Seattle, I’m amazed and concerned to encounter so many cyclists cloaked in invisibility. Please! Wear reflective clothing and lights. I don’t want to wreck your holiday or mine by running into you. And drivers, please turn on your headlights.

RANT It’s one thing for a 4- or 5-year-old to get restless at the holiday family dinner table. But when a 19-year-old finds it necessary to hide under the table to avoid the company, that’s a bit much. Grow up and show a little courtesy!

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