The Spirit of Christmas


Mr. & Mrs. Claus ornament


It seems there is more and more controversy every Christmas/holiday season over political correctness.  Every year there are more people who go out of their minds to get a great deal in the stores.  People pull their hair out trying to buy gifts for loved ones.  And some people become ruder and more entitled than they are the rest of the year.

I know that Christmas became the Christian celebration of Christ’s birth to replace the Yule celebration of the Winter Solstice and, in some cultures, The Wild Hunt.  Of course, I didn’t learn this as a child.  I learned this as an adult.  So, Christmas for me is still always a reminder of Christ being born and beginning of the fulfillment of a prophecy.   However, saying “Merry Christmas” for me isn’t about Christ being born.  Rather it is a greeting/blessing/wish for the spirit of Christmas – peace, love, joy, togetherness, etc.  Like Thanksgiving, I believe the reflection of this time of year should be year-round and not just once a year.

Now that I’m working in retail, I really see the other side of shoppers.  I’m no longer just another fellow shopper in the store.  I’m the one helping them find things and making sure the store looks orderly.   I’ve had a couple get upset because something accidentally rang up twice while I was doing backup cashier.  Even though it’s easily voided out, they spoke under their breath about me to each other in front of me.  I’d like to mention here that this couple decided once they got to the register was the time to figure out the plan of how to pay for everything.  It took them at least 5 minutes before I could start scanning things.  Even after I started scanning and hit the total for the first set of toys, they still didn’t know what they were doing.  Yes, for some reason that couple bothered me.  I’ve had people give me the “how dare you” look when I tell them we are sold out of something.  Regular price, sale, door buster item.  Doesn’t matter.  Apparently, some people think our back room should be a black hole of inventory just waiting for them.  Just last night I had a woman interrupt me while I was helping a gentleman and started to raise her voice because I couldn’t tell her exactly what aisle held the treasure she was seeking.  She disappeared before I could call a co-worker to help her.  Later, I found exactly the items she was looking for in an abandoned cart.  Some people can never be pleased.  Yes, because of how she treated me I started making up stories in my head about her.  You know the stories I mean.  She’s the type that has to have a perfect home presentation for company coming over, but is a procrastinator at heart.  You get the drift.

There are guests that come in that are truly thankful for any help they get, whether we have what they want or not.  One night I had a woman looking for polo shirts and I got a long story about how she had been to every other department store in town and no one had polo shirts.  She grabbed on to a rack near her as she told her story to emphasize her exhaustion.  I was worried the rack would come down on her and got her to the polo shirts as quickly as I could to prevent an accident.  I helped her pick a few shirts and as I was walking away I heard her say to a man who walked over to look at some of the polo shirts, “You won’t find these anywhere else in town.  I’ve been all over today looking for them.”  Last night, a couple was ecstatic when my co-workers and I helped them find a wine refrigerator when they couldn’t find it on their own.  It only took a few minutes of time, but they were thankful for the time as if I had spent an hour with them.  The gentleman I was helping last night when I was interrupted by the rude woman finally got what he came to the store for after a lot of time looking and patience on both our parts.

I am all about giving.  Anyone who has received presents from me will attest to that fact.  I’m not one that will wear myself down looking for “the perfect gift.”  I won’t go out of my way for that “great deal” for something on sale and then get mad at the sales person because they are sold out.  A lot of times I am shopping throughout the year when I see things.   I will look for things that are either useful and I know the receiver wants or things that I know they would appreciate.  I like to make gifts, too.  Aromatherapy baskets, jewelry, scrapbooks, and a cross-stitch here and there.  I’ve never really stressed about gift giving.  As I get older, I think to myself, “If I end up not getting them something, they’ll understand.”  I always have every name crossed off my list in the end though.  If a gift is late?  So what?  They just get to celebrate a little longer.  Right?

I have gotten real lax in the decoration department.  I really don’t care if I have 3 trees up, lights all over, stockings hung by the chimney with care…wait.  We don’t have a chimney.  Two years ago when I was real sick.  All I managed was to get our 4 foot artificial tree up and put lights on it.  That was it.  The ornaments, stockings, Christmas Village, and all my other decor stayed in boxes in the closet.  This year….nothing.  I have no room to put anything out because I still have things that were unpacked but not put away still everywhere.  I managed to find a small space in a corner to put presents for now.

I really don’t care that nothing is out.  It may not look like Christmas in here, but I can feel it.  Because that’s where the spirit of Christmas is.  Inside.  We just manifest it on the outside with decorations, gifts, and food.  My one wish for everyone this season?  Lighten up!  So your house isn’t magazine or Martha Stewart worthy.  So you couldn’t find that perfect gift.  So you had to get dinner from a food bank.  You have your family and friends.  Gift them the gift of you and it won’t matter what the setting looks like or where the food came from.

Merry Christmas!