Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Everyone

My job has started playing Christmas music nonstop, it’s still there in the stores while I shop, the decorations are hung, the ugly sweaters are bought; it’s official! Christmas time is upon us. One of my favorite things to do with my gal pals before the holiday is to make a quick Starbucks run an head to the mall to get our shopping done. Though this is normally a jovial and rather relaxed process for me and my girlfriends, I need to remind myself that not everyone is having the same holiday fun I am. Though Christmas is supposed to be a time of warmth and good cheer, for many, it can be a time of stress, financial problems, and grief.

I’m sure we’ve all encountered the stressed and frantic shopper in the store, you know, the one pushing a heavy a cart who runs over your foot and has the audacity to get upset at you for it. Yeah, her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always annoyed in that scenario too, but instead of snapping back, try to think of why she may be having such a rough day. Maybe this is her first Christmas as a divorced mom and she’s worried about where her kids will want to spend Christmas. Maybe she just got laid off and has no idea how she’s supposed to get all the gifts she needs for everyone. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, just apologize anyway and tell her very sincerely you hope she has a very merry Christmas. I know it sounds stupid, but returning bitterness with love always makes a big deal.

So now, you decided just on the perfect gift for your sister, your boyfriend, and your dad who’s so hard to shop for, now it’s time to check out. You stand in line chatting with your friend and trying to hold all your stuff until you’re finally at the front of the line and you hear the employee say, “I can take you over here!”

Now let’s be honest, with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be super easy for your shop attendant to not be in a great mood. They’re probably pretty drained and hoping their shift is over soon because: their feet are killing them, they’ve had 10 people yelling at them about coupons and sales, and they’re really not making enough money for this. Instead of getting all offended they’re pretty reserved and demanding answers as to way you’re not getting the dollar off, simply ask them how their day is going, if they have any holidays plans, etc. Again, it really isn’t some dramatic gesture, but I know when I worked retail over the holidays, it meant a lot to me. If there is actually a problem with something, tone is everything. Remember no one wants to help you if you’re being obnoxious and rude.

I feel like Christmas overall brings out the best in us, but too often it’s easy to get caught up in the stress and overreact to a slight inconvenience. Try to keep your joy this Christmas, and do your best to not get stuck in your own little bubble of joy but to expand it to everyone you come in contact with. It’s too easy to forget not everyone has the same situation as we do, so be courteous, be polite, be helpful. Try to make this a very merry Christmas for everyone, and keep that same joy all year round.

Happy Holidays!