I’m about to get a little soap-boxy, people, but I think the title said all that and more. All the same: brace yourselves. It may get a little preachy up in this here blog post.
Christmas season is in full swing. Yards, houses, street signs, and every imaginable surface is bedecked with bright and brilliant lights, holly and garland, and will soon be a January-long reminder that maybe a little less could be considered more for Christmas next year. If nothing else, it has definitely reached that point where everyone seems to be getting progressively more frazzled. Listen closely, and beneath the jingling bells and choirs of angels you, too, may hear the sound of fraying nerves ready to snap at any moment. I can relate. There are a lot of gifts to remember to purchase at the last minute, wrap, rewrap, get drunk while wrapping for a third time, and so on. That’s probably not the most common experience so much as a crippling reminder that I am utterly incompetent at preparing gifts, actually.
The important point buried in that last paragraph is that everyone is a bit more stressed than usual, and that’s fine. What’s not okay is taking that anger out on other people. Before anyone leaps to the comments section to scold me for getting preachy: there’s a warning at the start. You couldn’t have possibly missed it.
I say most of this as someone who works, and has worked, in retail for the past eight Christmases, but also as a person who understands that the default reaction to another person shouldn’t be to see how much of a gigantic asshat one can be. In the case of a retail employee, please remember that the person you are so quickly tearing into is someone’s child. Someone’s significant other. Someone’s parent. Another living, breathing person who is working to eke out enough of a living to afford nice things for their loved ones. They are not always in control of the situations you are getting frustrated with, so please approach problems with a measure of understanding before switching to some sort of holly jolly nuclear meltdown. If not for those reasons, please also consider how absolutely embarrassing and ridiculous it is to flip out in public. No percentage off an item’s price is worth looking like a goddamn lunatic (and becoming the stuff of bystanders’ shopping horror stories).
Take a moment to remember to drive a little slower, be a little less quick to anger, and focus on the important things instead. Focus on the happiness of being with family, or finding that just right gift for someone who is a pain to buy for because they insist on saying “Oh, don’t buy me anything”. Be happy for the people who are still around to celebrate with, and remember fondly those who aren’t. I say these things because I found myself writing Christmas cards, as I did last year, and I hit a rather impressive stopping moment when I went to write cards for people who have since passed away. I had been guilty of getting so caught up in the running around and stress and “I can’t believe those assholes at Barnes & Noble didn’t have this book in stock” that I’d lost sight of the important aspects of this season.
So many people are so quick to rush into Black Friday shopping and the holiday buying season that a lot of this seems to be forgotten. Thanksgiving is less about being thankful and more about being the first to get a deal on a new flatscreen TV.
Not one to be a total downer, here’s some Muppet Christmas Carol joy. Before that: remember to not be a dick to your fellow people, mmkay?