The holiday season can be a time of great fun, in the company of family and friends, reliving the joys of Christmas past while establishing new traditions and making new memories. The preparation for this festive time does involve a few lists, some organization and a bit of elfin’ magic for it to all come together, but ready or not, here it comes. Even in 1950 when Jay Livingston and Ray Evans composed and released the song “Silver Bells”, references to “City sidewalks, busy sidewalks” clearly implied a more hurried pace. But the song also references “meeting smile after smile” not “yell at the sales clerk, act like a big jerk”
As much as the holidays are punctuated with messages of giving and generosity, I don’t think the intended meaning is “giving people a piece of one’s mind”.
Over a busy weekend of holiday shopping, scooping up the last items on Santa’s list, for the most part my errands were productive yet uneventful. However, my empathy kicked in full blast when seeing some folks making spectacles of themselves in public, projecting a tornado of negative energy on unsuspecting sales clerks. I really felt bad for the clerks, having been in their shoes before.
Since when did the holidays become so adversarial? If a store is out of the product you want, look elsewhere or go to the next item on the list. Maybe the “perfect gift” will have to wait until next year and that you will need to settle for a “pretty good gift” this year. Better yet, get a gift card, relax and call it a day. Maybe next year you might consider shopping earlier and avoid getting flustered. It’s not like the holiday stock isn’t out early enough as a visual cue. Seriously, the Christmas trees are out in August now!
For me, news footage from Black Friday shopping makes me cringewith people storming in at crazy hours of the morning, pushing and shoving their way in to buy electronics at deeply discounted prices. I don’t quite get the connection of these events to the holiday season – I don’t recall any nativity scene depictions of the three wise men lugging a 60 inch flat screen TV or that the Star of Bethlehem was powered by multicolour LEDs with 12 pre-set blinking patterns.
As a child, after unwrapping my shiny new toys, my Grandfather often shared the story of how when he was a child, if it was a good year, he would get an orange in his stocking. Nothing else.. an orange! When he did, it was not a “Debbie Downer” moment, he was just trying to help me to appreciate what I had, the spirit in which gift exchanges happen and that it’s not all about entitlement and big expensive gifts.
I am not trying to knock the spirit of gift giving, but if holiday shopping requires protective gear and referees, have we gone a little over the edge? Is it really worth getting THIS stressed at this time of year if we don’t get what we want, when we want?
While I can definitely relate to the concept of frustration, I am human, how do people not see themselves get in a rage on the roads, in the parking lots and in the stores? Are people just forgetting the moral of the story and what the spirit of the season is about? Even though the holidays can represent different things to different people, at its core, isn’t it about connecting with loved ones, renewing connections with faith and basking in the traditions of good food, good company and good times? Shouldn’t the holidays be about being in the moment and spending quality time together? Shouldn’t the holidays be about kindness, forgiveness, understanding and generosity of spirit? Shouldn’t the holidays be about peace and good will?
While some might be thinking that I may have hit the egg nog too hard or that I have been watching too many sappy holiday movies, I’d like to think that upholding the romantic notion of what the holidays can represent, is just an extension of what it means to be a kind, respectful human being not just for the holidays but throughout the year.
I draw the line at saying that we should live every day as if it were Christmas (in the literal sense). If we did, I’d be broke and in a perpetual turkey coma.
But as we are well into the home stretch to Christmas, if you have last minute shopping, please be kind to each other, don’t lose your cool, take deep breaths and have a happy and safe holiday.