Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Holiday Stuff

Working in retail for the past thirteen years has not made me go all bah humbug about the holidays like many a seasoned retail worker. I absolutely love the holidays and see no end in sight for my holiday spirit.

Now, It's peculiar to me how during the holidays shoppers can't seem to find anything. I'm not complaining because I really enjoy helping customers but it's like a phenomenon. The holidays are here = no one knows where anything in the store is. Walking customers all over the store to find this and that combined with the fact that my job does not have me confined to a singular department means I'm seeing sale after sale item, deal after deal, holiday display after holiday display hundreds of times during each eight hour shift. During a time of year when everyone is buying gifts for each other, and you're focusing on buying gifts for everyone I struggle with the onslaught of sale, sale, sale signs. I think we all do in a way but each of us processes it differently. I process it with increased anxiety and frustration.

To add to the visual over stimulation dilemma at the store, my mother in law and sometimes my dad give cash for Christmas. This means that me, someone who does not enjoy shopping or even buying things for that matter, someone who takes a bit of pride in using worn out items, getting by without, and reminding myself daily that, "no, that's a luxury and I don't need it," has metaphorically a window opened before my eyes displaying all these millions of "neat" things I could buy. Honestly I completely prefer putting Christmas money towards debt, or bills, or savings, or spending it on little Abe. As far as my dad is concerned, "go to town, it's your money do whatever you want with it." But my mother in law wants me to buy something I really want. I get it but holy wow it stresses me out.

I write all this (for probably the fifth or sixth year in a row) because at Thanksgiving time I am celebrating a season of gratitude, of being thankful for every little joy and every little blessing. Thanksgiving time isn't about excess as the fabulous traditional Thanksgiving feast would imply but about being thankful for all the simplest daily blessings. At Christmastime I celebrate the birth of Jesus. The Christ child was born in a stable and placed on a bed of hay. Materialistically, his birth couldn't have been any less. The holiday season is not about stuff. But as I walk through the store everything, and I mean everything stimulating all of my senses tells me that the holiday season is about stuff. A battle wages within me that wears me down.

I know some of you reading this completely understand what I'm saying. Some of you reading this think I'm at least slightly insane and way too intense. But in all honesty I live in a country, exist within a society, was raised in a culture that's accustomed to excess, luxury items, and having way, way more than any person truly needs. I don't want the holidays to be about stuff. I want the holiday season to be about love, peace, family, blessing, gratitude, tradition, everything wonderful in life that money cannot buy. But boy is it a struggle!

Abe's holiday craft last year

Don't worry, I'm not sad as this felt reindeer might imply, it just seemed fitting for this post and really it was too cute for me to not share again.


  1. Love the reindeer! He's adorable. And, the holidays are our busiest time (by far) at work, so Q4 always makes me think of stress, anxiety, and too much work. Other than one week, I'm on call every evening & weekend, and all of the major holidays, including days when our company is closed. Thanksgiving is the exception this year. Woohoo! :-)

    Would making a list help? I find that if I say, I'm buying X, Y & Z for the kids, and A, B &C for my other recipients, it goes a long way at keeping me on track & reducing the anxiety. Just having a plan is helpful for me.

    1. I started a list what feels to be much earlier this year then normal and I think it's helping. But the main thing I'm struggling with is the pull of all the "great deals" that somehow subconsciously tell you that you "need" this, that, and another thing whether for myself or someone else. It's kind of driving me crazy.

  2. This isn't really a comment on this post, more just a comment.

    I try to live a life of thankfulness but I can't tell you how much admire the American custom of Thanksgiving. A whole day of thankfulness. Wow!

    1. It is really awesome. That's why it's one of my top favorite holidays, right after Christmas. It's not commercialized at all (except for the Thanksgiving sales that really aren't about Thanksgiving at all and are just a start to the Christmas buying season). It's just a holiday of Thanksgiving and feasting. It's pretty great.