Why Xmas makes me bitter....(Long and ranty)

Hello all…

Anyone who has worked or lived around me around the Holidays will tell you I am not a fan…

but I thought I would share why…

The short answer is I have worked in retail…

I can’t stand the way things get around the holidays. And now it begins just after Halloween…stores putting up stuff so early…

I have never liked the idea that there are ppl who have to work up until and on Xmas day, simply so those who leave shopping to the last minute can get get what they need.

Stores like Walmart being open 24 hours to accomodate (given most of them have gone to a 24 hours platform now anyway, but still)

Ppl feeling the need to top each other…and get something for everyone regardless of how well they know them (my point here is just where does it stop…you get for Family and friends, co-workers, random ppl that stop by, etc…it can go on forever)

With the point above, just picking up “whatever” because something needs to be gotten…

This list could be a lot longer…but this is just a few things…

I will qualify what I am saying by adding this…

This is MY problem…I don’t expect others to share in my misery, nor do I want to bring them down. They are my feelings based on my experiences.

I have permanent neck damage from working several Xmas’ on a computer that was not ergonomically set up (yes the companies fault, but I did complain, and it did not get changed until several years later…still…it was the xmas crowds that exasperbated the problem)

I am mildly agoraphobic. This means (for me) that I can’t be out in crowded spaces. I am not to the point where I will not leave the house…I can still get things I need to get done, but I am at the point where I will start to get panic attacks when I am out in a really crowded spot…

From my experience, for a season that is supposed to be all about giving and sharing and peace and love…(and as a customer service rep) you don’t feel a lot of that love. Yes…some ppl are really nice, but most ppl are really cranky from having to stand in line, perhaps they have not been able to find what they want…they are unhappy from having to be out in crowds and unfortunatly…the poor guy/gal behind the register is the most likely to get blast…mainly cause they are the last straw!

And back to one of my first points…there are ppl who HAVE to be out and working for the ppl that WANT to be shopping…it bugs me…but to qualify that, I know there are ppl that don’t celebrate, or don’t mind to be working…my thing is that I don’t like to celebrate, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be like everyone else and just have a day off to be with my family…or friends, or even alone…and what kind of attitude is “you have to work your scheduled shift, or you are going to get written up”

I admire all of you who can set all this aside and enjoy the holidays. I really do.

If it were up to me, a small token gift for those closest to me would be enough. A good meal with those you choose to spend time with.
Nothing elaborate, with the spare need to “impress” others…just token kindness and a well deserved piece of calm and serenity in an overly busy world…

Thanks…I feel a little better now :wink:

For the most part I agree on some level. I do celebrate Christmas, and I have come to realize that the madness about the season has crept in and stolen some of that peace and love from the season.

This year most of the gifts we are giving are hand-made (some what out of necessity), but I have noticed that there is so much more excitement over giving it to the person, than when it is a piece of retailed junk…

Thanks for reminding us to stay grounded this season!

I celebrate christmas but I can totally see where you are coming from. For me christmas is more about spending time with my family than anything else anyway.

The thing that annoys me most about it is that my birthday is less than a week before so I tend to get forgotten. About half of my friends forget about it and the other half can’t afford to go out. I just always feel like my birthday loses something, its less special because it ends up being overshadowed. I hate joint presents, I’d rather have someone say ‘I have bought you a birthday present but not a christmas present’ than ‘I bought you a birthday and christmas (birthmas!) present.’ I just like to keep the two days separate.

I completely get what you’re saying. I worked in retail for years, and, it just about made me hate Christmas. I still loved spending the day with my family, but, the ridiculous rush to the stores, the crowds, the crabby people, the people walking into the store one minute before you close and decide to take an hour to look around and then buy NOTHING! Ugh, I definitely do NOT miss those days. However, I stopped working, over 7 years ago, when I was pregnant with my 1st child. It took a while to get that “Christmas Spirit” back, but, it eventually did come back. Now I really enjoy Christmas, and especially now that both of my kids are old enough to truly enjoy it.

I like Christmas a lot more once I decided that I would not do Christmas shopping in December. No crowds (I will walk away from a store if it’s too crowded - they just bug me), no stressed out shoppers. If I have to shop for some necessity, I try to do it in off hours (like at 8 am in Walmart) so I can avoid the crazies. I will admit that having Christmas stuff on sale early does make this easier to do (no more trips in crowds just because no one has wrapping paper earlier).

So during December I bake cookies, I do my Christmas cards, I watch Christmas movies, and I stay away from the stores. It is much easier to enjoy Christmas that way.

I sort of understand where you are coming from with that…

My cousin is 14 years younger than me, I was born on Oct 16, and I believe he is the 9th…

This crosses over the Canadian Thanksgiving…and when my family has Thanksgiving, they usually have a cake for us…well…no…for him. After he was born, I got forgotten at Thanksgiving…the cake is a joint cake, and gifts stopped for me…just a card. I understand what you mean about having someone rob you of a birthday…

Although your situation is with everyone…mine is just with the family that surrounds that cousin!..

I understand your taking up the cause for the oppressed holiday workers. Unfortunately, retail shopping is an industry that employs lots of people. And we need it to some degree. It doesn’t give people the right to treat the workers poorly though. But, perhaps some of them find joy in working retail at holiday time. I did. It was fun. Of course, I never worked anywhere that was open on Christmas, but I did work Thanksgivings and black friday a lot and didn’t mind it so much. In any event, for everyone, remember the following:

  1. Shop on-line. Don’t go out for anything the weekend after Thanksgiving.

  2. If you have to or want to shop, always treat those who work in stores like you would like to be treated. Give them a thank you and a well-done. If someone has gone out of their way for you, make sure to tell their supervisor that they have a keeper.

  3. Keep your cool while shopping. Plan ahead and you don’t need to rush and/or yell at the shopkeeper who’s doing the best they can for you. It’s not their fault that you waited until the last minute to get the hot toy.

  4. Only give or make gifts for those closest to you who you want to give to. Tell the others that you don’t want a present as you are not planning on buying for everyone that you would like to this year. Finances won’t allow it and your present to them is that they don’t have to buy for you. Their present to you is the same. Most folks like this idea. A lot. Try it - you’ll see. Eliminate the pressure of the gift-giving aspect of the holiday. I know it’s easier said than done, but it is doable.

  5. Go about your business with love in your heart for everyone you meet. Put some change in the Salvation Army bucket and give whatever you can to your local mission or your charity of choice. You know, the important things.

  6. Love your family and friends. Get together for some fondue and cards and some bubbly. Have a tree trimming weekend.

  7. Don’t get worked up over things you can’t prevent happening. Like, Old Navy having a sale on fleece and causing a traffic jam.

  8. Keep emergency rations of chocolate in your handbag or glove compartment for those really stressful times.

  9. Play with a yo-yo while waiting in lines. Seriously. What have you got to lose. You’ll probably keep the line quiet by having all the people staring at you thinking you’re a dork, but so what. At least their quiet. It’s like dangling keys at a baby.

You get where I’m going with this? Keep your joy and wonder up and it will increase that feeling in those around you. If we Bah, humbug it we’ll have a miserable time. I wish I could make you feel better Crycket, but please rant anytime you like. We’ll always listen. I hope this season is better for you than in years past. If all else fails, just snuggle up with your better half and bowl of popcorn and have a movie marathon. Only control the things you can, forget the rest.

I absolutely understand what you mean about the ridiculous commercialization of Christmas. I do celebrate Christmas, and I work hard to try to make sure my children get what Christmas is supposed to be about. It’s getting harder and harder, though. I worked in retail for 10 years, but I worked for a good company that was always closed on Thanksgiving day, Easter Sunday and Christmas day. Of course, the day before those days was always INSANE, but it was worth it to me to be given those days off.

I understand completely. Both my husband and I have worked various forms of retail for much longer than we care to admit. We both have college degrees (he actually has two) and we’re especially bitter about the fact that we’re having so much trouble finding “real” jobs and have to work yet another Christmas season catering to either:

  1. People who are grouchy because they have to spend too much money and/or don’t know what to get for people, and so take it out on defenseless sales clerks/cashiers/managers.

  2. People who are just too freaking perky for their own good and feel that it’s their personal duty to imbue the sales clerks/cashiers/managers with Christmas cheer. Trust me, it never works. In fact, it does quite the opposite.

It also just amazes me the lengths companies will go to in order to attain The Almighty Dollar. Luckily, the store I currently work for is closed on Thanksgiving, but the store my husband works for actually extended their Thanksgiving hours so instead of closing at 6pm, they’re closing at 8pm.

Seriously? First off, if you’ve been in retail any length of time you know the only people who go out after noon on Thanksgiving Day are just the people scoping out where certain products are so they can make a mad dash with the rest of the sheep at 5am the next morning. They don’t BUY anything, so extended hours is just a waste of payroll and utilities for the company.

Second off, most people have the big family dinner somewhere between 2pm and 6pm. The people who have to close are probably already going to miss most, if not all of this day with their family…so let’s just extend their misery by two hours. It’s just ridiculous.

Compounding this bitterness for me is that last Christmas season I had a very traumatic death in the family (my aunt was murdered on January 6th, I saw her the last time on Christmas) and I just want to go to sleep and wake up in February. Unfortunately, that’s impossible, so I’ve spent mad moments the past month making a list of presents to get for those close to me and then going shopping. I’m nearly done, and once I am, I’m pretty much washing my hands of everything else regarding the season. If anybody wants anything else from me, they’ll have to ask.

Say no more.
If I would’ve stayed at a wholesale tradeshop that serviced many malls I probably would’ve ended up going on a killing spree.

I am mildly agoraphobic. This means (for me) that I can’t be out in crowded spaces. I am not to the point where I will not leave the house…I can still get things I need to get done, but I am at the point where I will start to get panic attacks when I am out in a really crowded spot…

Me too.
Couple that with the fact that the general public really annoys me how they’re completely oblivious to those around them (trying to get around them) and that annoyance turns into more panic being around Xmas crowds is not a good thing.

Thanks for reminding me. I’ll make sure I change over to late night shopping trips for the next month.

I agree about some of the Christmas bitterness. Here are my reasons:

  1. My birthday is December 13th. Everyone forgets or it is put aside. Now I know it sounds selfish, but when I was a child I would only receive one gift and it would be “Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas”. Now I’m lucky if people remember my birthday at all. If my birthday had been in June I would have received two gifts. (I know, I know, but I was only a child!)

  2. I work in retail (not because I want to) and I will work Christmas eve and most likely Boxing Day. I don’t want to, but I will. I want to be at home with my family like everyone else, but instead I have to help those who left their shopping to the last minute.

  3. My high school boyfriend of 3.5 years broke up with me Christmas Day a few years ago and every year it’s like the anniversary of our break up. Nice, eh?

  4. My parents don’t live anywhere near me. Well my mom lives about an hour away, but my dad and stepmom live in another province. Since I work in retail I can’t get any time off to actually go and see them, so I don’t actually get to spend the holidays with my family.

  5. We are poor. We are young and just starting out and are saving to buy a house. We are lucky enough to be saving some money every month, but because of Christmas we have to use the money normally saved on gifts because those people will be buying us gifts.

Ugh, I’m not a negative person, but it felt sort of good to get that out. I really do love Christmas and I think it will only get better when I have kids and when I am closer to my family, (and when I have a better job!) but right now I am just poor and tired and bitter.

I know (kinda) where you’re coming from. I hate that if your present to someone isn’t as expensive/fancy/big as someone else’s - or as theirs to you - your present is sort of put aside with a token smile.

I dislike going shopping during the Christmas season, not necessarily because of the crowds, but (and I’m sorry) because of some of the people working in the stores.

Even though it’s Christmas shopping time, that doesn’t mean I’m at the store to do Christmas shopping. There are things I need to buy. When I can’t find something, I hate being yelled at, told to open my eyes and look, etc. I dislike when, at the register and the price isn’t right, but I dare mention it, I get the sigh. I’m told that I’ve made a mistake. They don’t want to bother checking. When I insist, why they talk to someone to ask the price and they gesture pretty rudely. Of course, when it turns out I was right, it’s still my fault that they made the mistake.

Yes, this has happened to me. It was a week and a half before Christmas last year, and I needed to buy clothes for my daughter – not for Christmas, just that she needed clothes and shoes.

I was once grocery shopping about 4 days before Christmas. Sorry, but I needed to grocery shop. I got home from work and realized I had nothing in the house. It was 9pm and the store closed at 10pm. As I was approaching the register to pay (at 9:20…not even close to the 10pm closing) the two girls were talking loudly to each other, saying how it was terrible how SOME people left their Christmas food shopping to the last minute and were so inconsiderate as to take up their time. 10pm is the regular closing time year-round, not just Christmas season. They were looking at me and giving me this look like “why are you bothering me?”

Yeah, can you tell I have a big problem with this time of year? LOL. I know the people working retail are over-worked and such at this time of year, but just as shoppers can be rude, so can the people working in the stores. It’s not all just one-sided.

If the stores are open, people will shop. If they’re closed, well, they’re out of luck. That’s how I look at it!

Christmas is not about buying things for people. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus. The secular world has made it what it is today, in many ways removing the religious purpose originally intended.

Unfortunately, this world operates on money and has skewed the mindset of this time of year.

I will say that while I do purchase gifts and will continue to do so, the downturn in the economy (and my search for a permanent job) is making me refocus my eyes on what is really important – the birth of my Savior and the blessings of family. As we downgrade presents (some of mine will be knitted items this year), I think we’ll really be able to enjoy the holiday for what it is supposed to mean.


Spend time with family and don’t sweat the other stuff, my friend.

I started worked at Hallmark at the end of September because I was too poor to live (hehe). We started putting out Christmas stuff my second week of work. Seriously. We’ve been playing this damn Cheryl Crow Christmas Crap for TWO MONTHS ALREADY.

Further, we have so much Christmas Crap that we’ve had to take down some of the regular crap we sell. More and more frequently people are coming in and asking “do you have such-and-such?” and I have to say “Oh, no, I’m sorry, we took those down to make room for Holiday items. We’ll get them back in January!” Most of those customers then remind me that it’s my personal fault that what they’re looking for isn’t out anymore :roll: and that it’s my personal fault that Hallmark decides Christmas starts right after freaking Labor day.

Don’t even get me started on the “get this extra crappy Christmas crap for only 14.95 with each purchase of 3 cards”… hello, three cards. Not three boxes of cards. Not 2 boxes of cards and a card. Not 1 box and two cards. THREE CARDS people. And if you want 2 extra crappy christmas crap things??? Guess what, you have to buy three more cards… that’s why it says each. And, Helloooooooooooo why do people insist on arguing with me and “well I was here last week and they let me buy 2 crappy things with only 3 cards” Well, lady, I’m sorry the dumbass that helped you before did it wrong… she probably didn’t want to hear your whining, either.

And then there’s the disembodied santa heads, with 3-foot beards. :shock: You just let that sink into your Christmassy little brain, and think about the horror that can instill on your holiday season.

And WEBKINS. Oh my GODDESS the WEBKINS!!! Actually, it’s not the webkins. It’s the kids who want the webkins. And the idiot parents who let them come in and go “LOOK MOM A CHICKEN” “OOOOOO it’s a SNAKE!!!” “HEY! There’s a PINK POODLE! YIPPEEEEEEEEE” while pulling out every freaking webkin and tossing them aside/on the floor/randomly around the area while Mom looks on and says “that’s nice dear, maybe you can ask Santa…” :doh:


I do get to wear the cool christmas light necklaces though. I guess that makes up for some things. :thumbsup: Oh, and honestly, aside from those very specific things, I like my job (really). And I’m very plesant to work with. AND I get to spend the holidays with my family for the first time in a very very long time, so I am thankful of that, no matter what godforsaken firey pit of hell distractions I must put up with along the way.

Dear Hallmark,

I love my job. I ate some oyster stew that disagreed with me, and it sent my emotions out of wack.

Pweeze dont’ fire me.

I love you. And hoops and yoyo too.

Hildie :heart:


Yeah…my personal fave was when ppl would go into something, and then when you finally give in with the qualifier “I could get in big trouble by doing this” they just look at you as if you aren’t doing them any favours…nice…really nice…!

I worked years in retail and I feel your pain. What I did was say “would you like to speak to a manager? They may be able to solve your concern” If they say yes, then the manager who gets paid to deal with this stuff makes the final decision. If they say no, they usually shut up and move on.
While I no longer work in retail, I still work daily with the public and it’s not any better here in the public sector. People are just as nasty and rude despite the fact that they are getting their services for free.

This whole post is brilliant and every person who has worked retail can relate! I must say that people like to make things your personal fault even in the public sector… But I love this!

"If it were up to me, a small token gift for those closest to me would be enough. A good meal with those you choose to spend time with.
Nothing elaborate, with the spare need to “impress” others…just token kindness and a well deserved piece of calm and serenity in an overly busy world…

Thanks…I feel a little better now "

amen! well said.