Bring on the holidays!

I’m sick and tired of hearing people complaining about Christmas. I have worked in retail for the holidays since high school, so I realize that it comes earlier every year. Every year, customers complain that it keeps getting earlier and earlier. Well guess what, if you’re complaining about how Christmas is overshadowing Thanksgiving, gripe to someone who cares. I love Thanksgiving, but please remember that shortly after that lovely dinner, we exterminated the Native Americans and sent those left to reservations.

I could go on and on about how our culture has perverted the birth of Christ into a materialistic haven, but we’ve all heard it before. The nature of Christmas is not going to change anytime soon, so embrace it. I love walking through the mall with its beautiful decorations, sipping piping hot coffee or hot chocolate. I love the cheery mugs at Starbucks. I love the cheesy Christmas stockings for my dog.

Radford's fountain decorated for the holidays. Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

But the best part of the holiday season isn’t material at all. It’s the giddy feeling you get when you realize Christmas is right around the corner. It’s sincerely magical. Your friends and family become the most important thing, even if you forgot for a short time. You’re reminded of what’s important and what’s not.

With a bad economy and difficult times, the holidays should be a time to feel lucky and loved, not stressed out about what you can’t buy. Actually, with wallets being significantly thinner than before, I think it makes the time more special. Instead of wasting money on a lot of gifts, it makes you really consider what you’re buying to make it special.

This time of year is known as the “season of giving.” Even though, admittedly, it has warped into a season of receiving, I hope we can all realize giving makes you feel so much better than receiving. I’ll give you an example.

Photo from Creative Commons.

Last winter I was driving through Fairlawn and passed the Wal-Mart parking lot. I noticed not one, but two people sitting with signs claiming homelessness and hunger. The sad part was that these people were not together and one had a German Shepherd. While I’ve always been told not to give the homeless money, I went home and did the best thing I could think of: I made them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This was before I had my dog Hank so I didn’t have any dog food to spare. Instead, I “borrowed” some dog treats from my roommate.

I rushed back to the parking lot and delivered the goods. The looks of graciousness and relief on their faces was good enough for me. The guy working at the car wash actually came over and shook my hand for my good deed! I’m sharing this story not for praise, but to show how vivid the memory still is for me. It’s much more vivid than a memory of any present I received (well, maybe except my autographed Taylor Swift photo).

This season can bring out the very best in people and that’s what I love most. I even love my job more during the holidays. It’s stressful and busy, but I enjoy the chance to brighten someone’s day just because the season has brightened mine! In my opinion, Christmas can come any time of year it wants.

Merry Christmas!