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

Guess what? It IS up to you. All you need to do is step off the crazy train.

I know what you mean about overcommercialization etc- but I won’t buy into it. Our Christmases are very conservative and family focused anyway- and this year it will be especially so since I lost my job- Friday. Kids get 5 presents each, and we spend about $75 for all 5. Some years we have a “big” presents like a bike, but not every year (and certainly not this one.) For extended family- we like to get them an ornament (dollar limit $5-10 per person) and a small toy or book for the kids.) Stocking stuffers come from the dollar store. I do like to make sure these small presents reflect the person in some way (ornament about their favorite hobby, something their favorite color, etc.)

We go look at lights every year, and decorate cookies. We watch our Christmas movies and hang out together. We have fun on Christmas eve and remember to leave carrots out (because the one year we forgot-the reindeer ransacked the fridge and left chewed up carrots all over the floor! PS- possibly the most fun I have ever had with the kids!) Seriously- the biggest stress we have is getting ready to go to my sister’s after presents are opened and untangling lights.

Telling your family you are simplifying the season so you can actually enjoy it is all it takes. Anyone who has a problem with not getting the big presents from you isn’t getting the big picture.

I hope you have a less hectic Christmas this year with your new husband! :heart:

I love this one especially! :roflhard:

I agree with Simply Renee - Christmas is what you make of it in your family. I do understand that working retail can ruin your holiday spirit, but believe me, everyone that works with the public gets the same crap and it is not just isolated to Christmas. I work in the medical field and get yelled out everyday b/c people think I should see them whether they show-up an hour late, and hour early or without an appt all together. They think I should work Thanksgiving day to accomodate their schedule. While yelling at me they are listening to their Ipod, talking on their cell phone, and drinking coffee. For pete’s sake, I had a women show-up 35min late and then spread out a picnic in our front office to eat her lunch before “we got started” b/c she was hungry !! Commercialization has blown every holiday out of proportion - not just Christmas. There are sales for Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day.
Make Christmas (or any holiday for that matter) what you and your new husband want it to be. If you don’t like shopping then don’t get each other gifts - take turns making each other dinner. When the hubby and I need to slow down he plans a day and I plan a day. We go for hikes, take a drive and pick a random place to have lunch, see a movie, stop by the SPCA and bring home a puppy, buy a fishtank, go horseback riding, tour a historic site…

Ha…yeah…my fave was when someone would demand a supervisor…and it was me! That always gets them in a tizzy! Some of them would stammer with eyes bulging “YOU are the supervisor…?” and others still would try to demand someone higher up…it was then my decision whether I was going to keep them dangling “Oh…no the manager isn’t in right now…it is just me”

The truth changed now and again…we went for a stretch of time with no boss…and I was technically “assistant senior clerk” meaning if I was really having a hard time and either my boss wasn’t around or we didn’t have one…I could always pass it on to the Senior clerk…but really…most of the time ppl who ask for a higher up are just blowing hot air! 9 time out of 10, it was something I was well equiped to handle anyway!

Oh how I wish it were that easy…

Knit4pie mentioned one of the big ones for me…my previous job was in tourism…and my days off were Sunday Monday…Fine…I ran my normal errands on Monday…it was nice most of the time…I didn’t have to encounter some of the craziness some ppl face going on a Saturday…but on the same token…most holildays land on Monday…meaning almost once a month…I get raked over the coals for my errand day…

Same thing happens with Xmas…you want to do your normal stuff…and it takes you 3x the effort, because other ppl are doing xmas stuff!

That aside…it is really hard to get ppl on topic with this “Don’t get me anything” deal. In my experience, it has always boiled down to “Thats fine, you don’t have to get me anything…but I am still getting you something” mentality…which is all well intentioned…but upon that…I always feel guilted into returning the favour. Then the cycle starts again…

My BFF expressed the same thing to me recently…I mentioned earlier…the JW, she is trying to break free of traditions like birthdays and xmas and…well everything really…and she says it is really difficult, as there is always someone pulling you back in…

I guess it is just a matter of having iron will…but it is really hard when you have family and friends giving you the old puppy dog eyes, acting as though you have literally “cancelled xmas”…

C’est la vie…

I must say my favorite thing has actually been the secret exchange…

This is especially good for a situation where there are more adults then kids…rather than pulling names and being forced to get a specific person something…we do this

Everyone buys a present in a certain price lvl (ours is usually $20), it is meant to be something non gender specific, and basically something you would likely want for yourself…

The gifts are placed in a pile and everyone draws a # from 1- the # of ppl participating…

#1 picks a present off the pile and opens it…, #2 can choose to either pick a present off the pile and open it, or give it to # 1 in exchange for what they have already opened…

Etc…of course, the higher your #, the better the chance that you can see all the already opened gifts…it can be a lot of fun!

As an added trick…we have incorporated a “mystery gift”. This gift is generally marked with a bunch of question marks, and remains unopened until the very end…the person who opens the mystery gift, brings nexts years mystery gift…

I prefer playing games like that…cause you are only bringing one gift…and I am not sure about some of you…but there is so much “junk” I get at X mas time…from ppl, who are well intentioned but just don’t know you well enough…

I have actually started a box for the womans shelter…when I get stuff that just isn’t me, I put it in the box and let it build til it is big enough and take it to the womans shelter…all the Spongebob nightgowns, large print mystery novels and 30 extra lip chap sticks will get used by someone who really needs it.

What a wonderful idea! :slight_smile:

I got a fish tank U can HAVE
comes with clean sanitized gravel and a Filter with working Pump and about 3 months worth of filter inserts if u follow the manufacturers recommendations
I am fine with you just hanging out and knitting as LONG as U want before taking it home (traffic to and from Maine can be a B***h)

just a thought

for the holidays I;
make knitted stuffed balls, not very big. but with bright colored yarns, and GIVE them away to kids in the supermarket, or library:knitting:
I am the lady wrapping gifts on Black Friday for the non-profit organization for tips (not for me, but for the organization), :present:
or making LARGE batches of food and begging my needy neighbors to please help me “I made too much, and the kids don’t like this recipe” (yes this includes family members sometimes):mmm:
or buying the VERY cheep Lobster from my Neighbor (who is selling them at way less than he can really afford), not just because my kids worked hard enough to deserve it, but to help this neat family that lives down the road from me {@ $5/# it is cheaper than steak):drool:
or throwing a snickers bar in with my groceries and giving it to the check out girl after the sale is final :happydance:(or buying a round of drinks for the wait staff to enjoy at closing time, at a restaurant I really like as long as I trust the owner to honor the gift):clink:

just my take on the random acts side of things
also, no one can accuse me of being overly christian, but my favorite holiday song is “when Jesus was a kid” by peter alsop


I can see that your past experiences with Christmas have not been really good ones… no wonder you feel this way…
That being said…
Surely there is no reason that you cannot celebrate Christmas in your own way…
So you don’t want to have a tree, coloured lights, all the fribbles that go with Christmas… that’s okay. It’s your Christmas, you do what you want.
I’m not real partial to crowds either. That’s why I get my shopping done before the end of November… but really, you don’t have to shop if you don’t want to.
I think the trick is to separate your work life from your free time.
What you do with your free time is totally up to you, don’t you think?
There’s no rule that says you have to celebrate Christmas in a certain way… make up your own Christmas traditions.
Celebrate the spirit of Christmas not the commercial aspect that it has now become.
After all, the Baby born in Bethleham didn’t come so people would go out to spend tons of money or eat a big meal… did he?
Just a few thoughts… Just a tad concerned the Christmas holds no magic for you…
Best Wishes,
TEMA:hug: [/COLOR]

:hug: I’m sorry retail has made you feel that way. I know Christmas growing up my dad would have to work…or when I worked you would only get the morning off or I would work the mornings so others could be with their kids…

I do love Christmas though, I always have. I think it goes back to my dad though. He was raised in a very strict southern Baptist house so there was no Christmas tree, presents, or anything special. So when I was growing up he was just like a big kid and loved it. He loved (still loves it) the decorating, going out and looking at lights, reading Christmas stories to us, watching Christmas movies as a family, the big meals when we could (growing up a lot of times he worked 2 jobs), and so on.

He made Christmas about the reason but also the family traditions. We were far from rich so we knew that we wouldn’t find much under the tree and didn’t care. We just got wrapped up in the traditions we had with them.

I try to do the same with my kids, I’m a big kid when it comes this time of year. I put up 7 trees!! My kids know why we celebrate Christmas and they also love the traditions. They kept asking me on Sunday where is the count down box? I make candy every year and as they open each day’s box they get candy and hang an ornament on the tree. They would then ask where is the nativity scene, where is the missle toe, where is the etc…when are we going to go look at lights…I realized this year that they were seeing the traditions as well.

As far as gift giving, my family always made or just gave what you could. You were never expected to show up with a gift. I still do that, my kids don’t get everything they want they write Santa and ask for 3 things. Usually we try to get those 3 things and then fill in with little toys that are not much at all. I don’t go out shopping the closer it gets to Christmas, never have. I don’t go out on Black Friday either. I order a lot online and do lay-a-way early.

I do like to make up little baggies for the n’bors and leave them on their step Christmas evening. It usually contains some cookies and a dishrag.

I really try to just stay happy and just stay in my own little world :teehee:

Not down playing that it’s no picnic working retail during the holidays, but the psych wards fill up as fast as Walmart, and this ‘ain’t’ fun either. We couldn’t find beds the last year I worked for all the depressed folks.

Since we believe that the celebration should be about Christ’s birth, we don’t go overboard on the rest of the stuff. It’s a lot of fun to decorate a tree and get together with friends, but our gift lists are very short.

It is extremely comforting to hear everyones tales, whether they be words of encouragement, or whether they are commisseration…

My family drives me mad…on a normal basis…let alone at xmas…

I don’t hold any particular religion dear…and so there is no special meaning for me, other than presents and pretty lights…as I am getting older, the want for presents has died away…So the bums rush thing gets amplified…

I didn’t get any of my xmas stuff done early this year cause I was busy planning the wedding…so I have decided it is going to be a one stop trip to the wine store, and endless wine cozy knitting until the big day…smiles

OK everyone…the days are counting down…it is time to breath deep!

You have my sympathy and understanding. I intensely dislike the entire period from Thanksgiving to New Years and would be quite happy if it just disappeared from the calender.

My children are grown and the holiday has become less stressful for me because i have been intentional about doing things to “de-stress”.

As someone already suggested, I do all my shopping on line and completely avoid the stores. I use gift bags to decrease the work of wrapping. I don’t go to any of the Holiday parties that abound this time of year (work church social etc).

The hospital where I work has a “Secret Santa” where everyone draws a name a buys a gift. I politely decline and make a donation to the local animal shelter instead.

On Christmas Day DH and I always offer to cover the ambulance (he drives I’m a Critical Care EMT) and spend the day at the Fire House doing what needs to be done.

The highlight of my Holiday are the Christmas Cards. I participate in an on line forum (dogs) that has a long established tradition of sending cards to each other. We make our cards and most have our dogs on them. This year I am sending out over 100 cards to fellow forum members all over the world. I LOVE going to the mail box an opening the cards throughout the entire month.

But most important, I don’t let myself feel guilty for not enjoying the holiday, I simply recognize that for me it has not always (or ever for that matter) been a “wonderful time” and move on.

My gym (I run a Cardiac Rehab Program for the Hospital) is declared CHRISTMAS FREE, there are no decorations, no music, no Seasonal insanity. You would be amazed at the number of patients who tell me they APPRECIATE having one place to go that doesn’t serve as a constant reminder of the holiday.

There are many MANY lonely people out there for who the holiday is torture. I am lucky to have a wonderful loving family so while I don’t care for the season I recognize how blessed I am and just deal with it.

Ya see…I like that…

People seem to forget that not everyone likes the holidays…or celebrates them…or whatever…

One of the things I can’t tolerate is walking into a mall or stores and having Christmas carols playing constantly! Mainly cause it is the same 10 songs between US thanksgiving and Boxing day…

Given there are now a lot more artists who have recorded the same 10 songs now…compared to a few years back where you only seemed to have them sung by the oldies (but goodies)…

The Barenaked Ladies album is one I really like…aside from being a huge fan…I like the album…it is diverse…and doesn’t delve too much into one thing…Jingle Bells (with the old Batman smells in there)…Auld Lang Syne… Do They Know its Christmas…Two Jewish tunes (one original) and my favorite…what I like to call anti-xmas songs…Green Christmas (from the Grinch soundtrack) and The Elfs Lament…

My obsession aside…I saw a group on Facebook the other day that was “Its Merry Christmas, Not Happy Holidays”…
That kinda bugged me…this whole debate about which is appropriate to say…Quite frankly say what you feel comfortable saying…If someone says “Merry Christmas” to me, my knee jerk reaction back has been “Stay Warm” in the last few years…but to each there own…smiles

Christmas is usually really mellow for me but this year we are going away for a week so I am SUPER stressed out!To top it off we have had to spend in the last month about $500. more dollars than we normally would have because the extreme cold arrived earlier than normal and my husband needed some cold weather gear to work outside and it couldn’t wait plus the kids needed boots and snowpants,This year I find myself just anxious for the month to be over!

One of my PET PEEVES is that everywhere you go, EVERYONE says "MERRY CHRISTMAS? or less often “Happy Holidays”. It has lsot it’s meaning. The clerk at the hardware store really doesn’t give a rats rear what kinf of holiday I have but it is “expected” to say that to every customer.

I am Christian and do celebrate Christmas but live in a college town where there are people of every ethnicity and religion immaginable. I often wonder what it must be like to be Hindu, or Muslim or even atheist and have to face 30 days of Christmas wishes. Many years ago, I was newly divorced with two young children, BROKE and worried about buying groceries let alone busying Christmas gifts. The entire holiday season was torture and just one reminder after another of what I didn’t have.

At work we’ve been forced to preface our phone greeting with “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!” Honestly, I don’t care about how people personally greet me…yes, being Catholic means I do celebrate Christmas, so either “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” works for me. I also try to make sure I greet people with “Happy Holidays” (unless they’ve already initiated a “Merry Christmas.”) I would hope that if I were Jewish, Hindu, or whatever, if someone told me “Merry Christmas” that I would be open minded enough to realize that they’re just being ethnocentric and don’t mean me any slight…quite the contrary, that they’re wishing me well in the only way they know how during this particular season.

However, with that said, I DO cringe at having to say the “Merry Christmas” part of the phone greeting at work. To me, a business should be completely neutral in the situation, since they do have to serve a wide range of people.

I am also completely opposed to the fact that state lawmakers (here in Utah) are trying to pass a law that will “encourage” businesses to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.” That sort of politics just strikes me as wrong on several levels.

That kinda of politics is wrong, IMO…

I agree with you…unless someone offers a Merry Christmas, then a Happy Holidays should be good enough. That boils down to Political correctness anyway, and businesses should be sensitive about that either way!

But it just goes to show you the power of the all mighty dollar. The last place I worked was owned and operated by a Jewish family. And yet, every year, the theatres were decked out with Christmas decor. And lets face it…the stat holiday falls on Christmas…not Chanukah, not Kwanza…etc…

It has become a social holiday…rather than a religious one, especially in a society that hails so many different ethnic groups. The stat was chosen based on the fact that ppl in the area were of the same backround…and that has changed over the years…dramatically. So what does one do with that? It is easier to let sleeping dogs lie…and keep things the same…and Christmas morphs into a generic holiday headed up with it mascot Santa. Those who still know what it is about hold it dear, and the rest, go with the flow.

It is really interesting to see where life takes its little turns. How life evolves…it really is a small world…and a global village in many ways…smiles

In the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to be in Israel on Christmas Day. Its a regular day there with work etc. The English newspaper, The Jerusalem Post, always seems to have an article about some Christian, living in Israel, trying to scare up some Christmas spirit.

I grew up as a Catholic and later converted to Judaism as a young adult so I’ve been exposed to both having Christmas and not. But the funniest Christmas memory came on my first trip to Israel. On my second night there we went to a restaurant on the Sea of Gallilee that specialized in serving a lot of roast meat. We were in heated tents right on a dock so the appetizer was cooked on a hibachi right on the table. Each table had to have a person in charge of the hibachi to make sure it didn’t burn and I was nominated.

What was the date? The evening of Dec 24th. What was the appetizer? Chestnuts! I had had to change religions, travel thousands of miles to Israel to finally have a chance to roast chestnuts on an open fire on Christmas eve.:rofl:

In all fairness, though, to “defend” the celebration of Christmas over Chanuka (pardon my spelling); every year most Jewish newspaper writers, radio personalities, etc. make the distinct point that on the Jewish calendar, Chanuka is considered a “minor” holiday. Christianity has several celebratory days, but really only 2 - Easter and Christmas - are widely celebrated, so I’d guess you could say their “minor” holidays aren’t recognized either.

And personally, I’d never even heard of Kwanzaa until a few years ago. As what to me is a fairly new holiday, it’s not hard to figure out that it’s going to take a while for it to get widespread recognition. JMHO.

awww yes, tis the season.

I’ve been in retail my entire working life (not THAT long, but long enough.) And so has my fiance been for the last several years.

And what Christmas has boiled down to - hell on wheels for WEEKS and then one day off. And then Clearance Season. (Christmas really lasts until mid to late January.) This is the first year I haven’t had to work at the head of mobs of angry customers bickering over prices and why isn’t this in stock, and how come the lines are so long. Ug. And then people trying to return things without reciepts, without gift reciepts… Not to mention trying to keep a store in working order when people are stampeding around the racetrack…

So - my short guide to shopping and not irritating the bloody life out of everyone working.

1 - Read the signs. Blasted idiots never read. Odds are the price is listed. READ.
2 - Almost every other mom/dad/aunt/grandma/friend/coworker/sister- you name it - is out shopping during the same few weeks as you. Odds are other people wanted the same aquadoodle or medium sized sweater. It is not my fault that they bought it first. Talk to them.
3 - The lines are long because everyone and their mom is shopping on saturday, just like you are. If you don’t like long lines please ask the other shoppers to leave. Otherwise deal. The cashiers don’t like lines either, and it is not their fault.
4 - If you see someone working very hard to fold a huge table of sweaters, please don’t trash it right behind them. If you intend to trash it, wait until they are finished and have left.
5 - Don’t get mad at an associate if something you have asked about it out of stock. Odds are you aren’t the first to ask about it, so if they know without checking don’t glare at them as if they’re lying to you.
6 - For God’s Sweet Sake - Don’t throw a fit at customer service if YOU don’t know the return policy or have lost your receipt. That is not my fault. Odds are the policy is posted at the desk, at the front door, oh, and on the back of the receipt.
7 - Someone didn’t give you a gift receipt? Not my problem. Talk to the gift giver. Someone once had the gall to say “What should I do? Regift this? Give it to Goodwill?” Well, yeah, maybe you should. And don’t let whoever gave it to you know how ungrateful you are, maybe you won’t get something next year.
8 - If you are the parent of a young child. PLEASE don’t a. ignore them as they throw a tantrum and disrupt everyone else. b. ignore them as they run around and make a huge mess. c. be surprised when they wander off because you weren’t paying attention. (it happens very often. Mom’s on cell phones? Usual culpret) d. shop with them late at night. Who the HELL shops with their toddler at 11 p.m? A lot of people, surprisingly. And shock of the world, the poor kids are usually tired and cranky. huh, gee. Wonder why. (hint - IT’S 11 AT NIGHT)
9 - Don’t get mad when there isn’t someone to help you the Moment you decide you need help. Odds are the people working are busy. There are a lot of shoppers that need help, you might have to wait a minute. Especially in a department like - Shoes, toys, electronics, jewelry, apparel. Be patient. And don’t cop an attitude when someone does come to help.
10 - DON’T trash fitting rooms! All you women on here - I am talking to you! At least hang up what you tried on and put it on the rack. Most fitting rooms have a limit. At least TRY to adhere to it. Christmas is not the time to look for an entire new wardrobe, and then leave all of the losers on the floor in a crumpled heap. Be nice, someone has to clean up after you.
11 - Don’t assume that because someone in a name tag isn’t working a register that they should be. Believe it or not there are jobs that aren’t cashiering. I’ve been a cashier supervisor, and it was lucky me who got bag refills, change, dealt with angry people, solved price issues, etc. I had a lot of people be rude when I didn’t open a new lane for them. Not because I didn’t want to, because the store wouldn’t run if I wasn’t doing exactly what I was doing. Not running a lane.

Ug. I’m all worked up now.

I used to work in a clothing store and I had it happen a couple of times where I’d go to check for go-backs from a dressing room and there’s the article of clothing neatly hung up…inside out. Seriously, wtf? If it was an article of clothing that didn’t have much of an obvious difference between right side out and inside out, I could have dismissed it as an oversight, that they didn’t see the seam. But it was never anything like that, they were clothes that had some sort of embellishments (and thus threads and whatnot on the inside) and all I could figure was that the person who had tried it on and hung it up like such was either a dumb@ss or the type of person who doesn’t give a rat’s @ss about other people, let alone the clerks in a store.

11 - Don’t assume that because someone in a name tag isn’t working a register that they should be. Believe it or not there are jobs that aren’t cashiering. I’ve been a cashier supervisor, and it was lucky me who got bag refills, change, dealt with angry people, solved price issues, etc. I had a lot of people be rude when I didn’t open a new lane for them. Not because I didn’t want to, because the store wouldn’t run if I wasn’t doing exactly what I was doing. Not running a lane.

I HATE that! People also don’t realize that employees have to take breaks. A store can schedule a certain number of cashiers but at SOME point the number of cashiers will drop by at least one because someone will have to take a break. Yes, stores try to stagger schedules and breaks so that this doesn’t happen during peak times but there’s only so much that can be done.

Oh, and edited to add this:

If something doesn’t have a price sticker or a bar code, DON’T inform the cashier that it must be free. It’s not. Period. It’s also a “joke” cashiers have heard WAY too many times to be funny.