Bah Humbug! Happy Holidays everyone! I feel like now we’re officially into the shopping portion of the holiday season, it’s time for a post on life lessons. Namely why it is so important to remember what the spirit of the season is really about.
I have avoided Christmas shopping so far this year. In truth, due to a number of circumstances, my gift list and wish list are blissfully short. Of course that doesn’t mean I am totally exempt from the crowds of stressed out people desperately searching for the perfect gift – or any remotely appropriate gift. Before I hit the crowds this weekend (metaphorically of course), I wanted to take some time to reflect on a few events and lessons learned from last year.
Around this time last year I was on the hunt for the perfect holiday card. I’d searched several stores and decided that I would find the perfect card at this last stop or settle for good enough. I’d had enough. All day I had ducked and dodged shopping bags, shopping carts, and shopping people very few of which bothered to take notice of my presence (mostly the carts). I was literally muttering Bah Humbug! under my breath as I walked through the store.
I arrived at the card aisle with 10 of my new closest pals and proceeded with as much caution as my nerves would allow at that point. I spotted a box, picked it up, stepped back to evaluate, then replaced in its proper spot pursuing the elusive card that would be appropriate for all the various backgrounds of my friends and family. As I was returning one such box to its place, I spotted the card! The only thing standing between me and my perceived freedom was a mom with her two children – one toddler, one baby. The toddler was happily chewing on a glittery Christmas ornament and the baby was sleeping. Mom was torn between her cell phone (someone was getting a d-i-v-o-r-c-e for Christmas) and the cards. She had already pushed her cart into someone else. She was oblivious and happily gossiping away. I tried getting her attention – I waved, she waved back (granted with a slightly confused look) – I gave the customary “excuse me,” which went completely ignored. Then I did something which I am very ashamed of even now – I knocked over a roll or two of wrapping paper onto the handle of the cart and woke up the baby. It was a horrible thing and I’m sure every mom out there reading this is horrified – I am sorry. But it worked. She finally got off the phone and seemed to realize there were 9 other people that would like to either get by or look at that section. With no words of apology or excuse she just pushed her cart away. I purchased my cards but the victory was not sweet.
We are all meant to be nice to one another, especially during the holiday season. Yes, that lady was being rude, but that’s no excuse for stooping past her level. I should have never allowed myself to go there – especially for a box of holiday cards that, ironically enough, spoke of peace and gratitude. I felt the hypocrisy in every one of those cards that I addressed.
These holidays – no matter what you celebrate – are supposed to be a festive time of year to show appreciation for our faith in God and in one another. Since I was old enough to realize how stressful Christmas actually was (right around the disappearance of Santa Clause), I haven’t liked it very much. I much prefer Thanksgiving. You get the food, the family, the friends, the gratitude, etc. without the pressure. I find it incredibly unfortunate that Thanksgiving gets pushed aside for Black Friday (but that’s a different soapbox). Regardless, the December holidays should still carry some of those good attitudes of giving and gratitude.
So what do I hope to carry with me into this year’s shopping battles?
- Be patient. Even when I feel like I have exhausted every last reserve, dig deep and find more. Walk away and come back later. It can usually wait.
- Be aware of others. We are all in this together, in an odd sort of way. It’s not an actual competition.
- Be truly giving. If someone else grabs the last (insert object here), let it go. Find a way to overcome the irritation and wish them the best with whatever it is. There will almost always be another one somewhere at some point. Give gifts that matter. Give my time and whatever else I can afford so that someone else can love this holiday, even if I can’t always do so.
- Be quiet. Just because I tend to be a total Scrooge at the end of a long day doesn’t mean I have to kill off Santa for everyone. If I can’t deal with it, I should find a time out. After all, if you can’t say something nice…
This year, I really don’t want to be Scrooge, or a Grinch. I want to encourage myself and everyone to take these same thoughts into their holidays so that we can all experience the joy of the season. It won’t go unnoticed – Santa is watching after all (smile).
Do you ever feel like a Scrooge around the holidays?? What’s your strategy for staying positive?