Today marks the last day of “normal” at my job. Tomorrow we’ll all have off to celebrate Thanksgiving, and Friday morning, bright and early, it is “The Holidays” ™.

(It’s been hinting at The Holidays ™ for awhile. The store is already starting to show signs of impending Holiday-ness, with displays of gift books and stationery and gift packs all interspersed with little evergreen branches and red bows. But it’s not really been the real deal yet.)

Bright and early Friday morning, as customers line up outside the door at the ass crack of dawn for the Black Friday gift bags, the CD player will be filled with Christmas and Winter music (because I really don’t think “Here Comes Suzy Snowflake” has anything to do with Christmas at all).

As an employee, this means being driven crazy with the music on repeat – no matter how many CDs we have, the CD player will play through the same tracks over and over and over, no matter how many times you push “randomize discs”. It means frustrated, hurried customers – thankfully made somewhat less grumpy by the fact that we sell books that look new but are priced at half or less of their cover price, as they’re gently used. People are always happy when they can get their gifts for less money than they thought they’d have to spend, especially during the holidays, when they are usually stretching their budget and credit limit to its breaking point.

To be honest, working retail sucks most of the fun of the holidays for me. It’s hard to be forcefully pleasant at the best of times, but when things are as busy as they get around Christmas, it’s even more difficult, as you don’t get a break. There’s no let-down at all really.

It’s frustrating, because normally I like this time of year (as I like all seasonally oriented holidays) – I like the slow change to the dark days, and the turnaround at the Solstice. I like the beginning of winter, and celebrating the New Year with champagne and black eyed peas. I like evergreen trees and pretty white lights – the closest it gets to snow here. I like getting presents for people, mailing cookies to my friends, and sending cards to family.

I’m usually able to let go of the crazy competitiveness and “gotta-get-it-all” attitudes, and just enjoy having an excuse to send people mail and cookies.

But working retail just sucks all the energy I have, leaving just the dregs for doing those things I look forward to.

So this year, I started early.

While I can’t make cookies early, I got all the cards addressed and most of the shopping done. Having the house ready for Thanksgiving means it’ll be just maintenance to have it ready for houseguests at Christmas as well, and maybe a New Year’s shindig. Gifts are mostly clutter-free, useful, needed (or delicious) items that I’ve been thinking about for a good long time, knowing that I won’t have to run out and just get SOMETHING for the sake of having it to unwrap.

We’ll see if all that does anything for my energy levels as The Holidays ™ wear on, but I’m hoping being prepared will help keep me from getting too Grinchy.

And So It Begins
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One thought on “And So It Begins

  • November 27, 2011 at 10:29 am

    This is one thing I don’t miss about working in the drugstore. Even if it did help me pay for college. Hours of piped in Christmas muzak, people annoyed because we ran out of a certain product, and the impatient customers. Look, I know it sucks that we ran out of the 99 cent light strings, but we’re out and yelling at me isn’t going to conjure up more.

    At my current job, we’ve had people bring us cookies and fudge because we’re working on the holidays. I love cookies, and I like it even more that they cared enough to bring us some. I like working in a place that people enjoy visiting and use as an escape from the craziness. So now instead of hating working around the holidays like I did in the drugstore days, I love it. Since I’m not Christian and don’t like going to bars on New Year’s, I’m more than happy to work on those two holidays and let my coworkers take the day off to spend it with their families. And getting blitzed at a bar. I’ll have coffee ready on Jan 1 for the hangover crowd. I work with a bunch of truly awesome folks, and it’s real damn nice to be able to pay them back a little for all the things they help me out with during the rest of the year.

    The change from fall to winter is my favorite time of the year too. This part of the Earth’s cycle really is very special for reasons I can’t put into words. Plus, I have to admit that I love Christmas lights. All that work people put into their houses? You all are appreciated.

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