I have a confession to make: even though Christmas is my favourite holiday by far (next to my birthday… yes, I count my birthday as a holiday), I have not had Christmas spirit the past couple of Christmases. Let me tell you, it’s a hard thing to maintain when you work retail. Though I’m not working in the retail business anymore, Christmas at that time can leave you feeling like you just took the Warhead challenge.
It can be a rough and thankless profession. I have a lot of respect for people that work in retail because I was one of them… but it can leave you feeling bitter and hating people. The consumerism around the holidays is a bit outrageous in my opinion. The worst thing about it is that people will want to scream at you and blame you when things don’t go their way. I’m sorry, but your stress is neither a good reason nor an excuse to get huffy with me and throw a tantrum; I’m not making you spend the money!
Having said all of that, it made me, one of the merriest people I know around this time of the year, more like the Grinch than a lover of Christmas.
If any of you have ever let the stress get to you, I feel for you. Between getting a tree decorated, planning a family get together or any type of Christmas party, going to a Christmas party and trying to buy presents for loved ones is a lot to worry about! Let’s not even mention the tons of people and the increase in traffic! If you find yourself feeling like you’re turning into a killjoy, I have a few suggestions that might help:
- Christmas songs. Certain radio stations will play Christmas songs all the way through to Christmas. I don’t know about you guys, but when I hear Andy Williams sing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year”, I really believe it. No matter how Scrooge-like you might feel or are tempted to be, Christmas songs will often help. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Christmas carols; I like off-beat Christmas songs myself because they make me laugh. A couple of my favourites are: Nuttin For Christmas, I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, Christmas List by Simple Plan… and there are many others.
- Do unto others. It’s the season to give, right? Then give! Not necessarily to just people on your list. Try doing an awesome deed (like giving an extravagant tip at a restaurant), or find a way to give to the less fortunate. I’ve seen banks with a tree in the lobby that has names on it… and with the name will be what that person wants for Christmas. I know my mom has done this, and my church has done things. There are may organizations that help give to kids that, otherwise, would have nothing for Christmas. Taking the focus off of “your four” can also help to get you into the Christmas spirit.
- DO NOT over extend yourself! This is a big one, and I think this is the cause of a LOT of holiday stress. It’s okay to say no, or to perhaps give some “far removed” people on the list cards instead. There’s no saying you have to give to every person you know if it’s going to cause stress, including financial stress (which, in turn, causes emotional and mental stress). The holidays are supposed to be enjoyable! Do what you must to keep it that way. As far as the key people on your list, give them that one big thing that they’ve been wanting to have. I’ve found personally that getting the one big ticket item was enough to keep my close friends and family happy. If you know the one big thing the person wants and it’s within your means to get it, get that one thing!
- Bake. Hey, even when it’s not a holiday, baking makes stress melt away. Even if it ends up being a disaster, even the biggest disasters make great stories. Get in the kitchen and have fun! Just be sure that if you bake, put cookies on the list… and make sure to use lots of frosting, sprinkles, and candies to decorate your cookies.
- Make time to wind down and relax. Even when you are having fun this season, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you have to do something like: chill at a coffee shop, get a mani-pedi or book a massage, make sure to take care of yourself, too. I know you have a lot to do, which is all the more reason to take time for yourself! Everything will get done; I promise. It will be be much easier for you and everyone else around you if you’re making time to relax. That way you’re not screaming at innocent retail associates because they don’t have the brand of tinsel that you want.
- Be especially kind to everyone around you. You’re not the only one that’s stressing out. Be kind to everyone. Heck, even go out of your way to be kind and helpful to someone you don’t know… and try to be forgiving. Even the kindest of souls can have an off-day depending on what they’re facing. I wish I had kept this in mind when I worked retail last Christmas, so I’m hoping some of you will learn from my mistake. Don’t let others’ foibles and lack of social graces affect your mood. While you can’t control what others will do, you can control your responses. Don’t worry, you can always vent about it later in the comfort of your home. Or on your blog… and put the Christmas carols on full blast while stuffing your face with the cookies you made earlier.
Well, that’s all I have for now. Stay safe and enjoy this season; it’s meant to be quite enjoyable, and can be with the right attitude. If you have trouble, hopefully, these tips will help… along with a good cup of either hot chocolate or wine. There will be spirit one way or another. 😉
Cheers! Merry Christmas everyone!