How are your holiday spirits now that we’re only a week away from Christmas? Do you have all your shopping done and your gifts wrapped and under the tree? Or are you about ready to pull your hair out as you scan the full parking lot for just one empty space or stand in a long line waiting patiently as the cashiers take their time ringing up purchases while trying to get customers to sign up for a card or fork over their e-mail addresses?When everyone is trying to do the same thing at the same time, it’s definitely the season when we might need the most reason to have patience, be kind and try our best at going with the flow. But that’s easier said than done.
I’ve had to remember to be patient as I try to move around town during my lunch hour, doing my best to fit in as many errands as I can so I won’t have to do them after work or on the weekend. It’s definitely harder when the area I work in is close to the mall and near many large retail stores. Traffic and long lines at the register are just par for the course this time of year and it means I have to prepare myself mentally so that I don’t add to the noise of frustration many store employees must hear every day.What’s funny about this time of year is that it really doesn’t have to be all that frustrating when it comes to shopping for gifts. If I just planned ahead of time, I wouldn’t be scrambling to find last minute gifts or cursing myself when I’ve discovered that one special item is now out of stock. How hard is it to keep my eye out for just the right gift whenever I’m away on vacation, or visiting Seattle or Portland (especially when there’s no sales tax!) or during the many hours I’m on the computer and can watch for deals available all throughout the year?
Again, that’s easier said than done. I’m not thinking about Christmas in the spring or summer…although to be honest there were a few years when I did start shopping in August or during one of our long road trips in July (Christmas in July?). I’d find a few gift ideas and store them away but then school would begin in September and we’d get busy with school functions and sports, then Halloween and Thanksgiving and I’d completely forget about making any further attempts at shopping for gifts until December.Well, it’s a never-ending cycle. If I don’t like it, I can change it. If I don’t change it, I have to deal with it.
And that’s what I’m doing. I’m not going to beat myself up if I can’t find everything I’m looking for. One thing I learned just this afternoon is that if you do go with the flow, something might come to you when you least expect. I was trying to run a simple errand to pick up an item I needed at the craft store and my plan was to get in and get out. As I glanced at the long line of customers in apprehension at the amount of waiting I’d be dealing with, I decided to take a look around after I found what I needed and I was thrilled when I spotted something that would be perfect for someone I hadn’t finished shopping for. With holiday glee I headed towards that long line, which no longer bothered me as it did when I first entered the store.
Through all the hustle and bustle, the noise and confusion, the last-minute prepping and the holiday hype, the last week before Christmas will hopefully mean more than that to most. To me it means looking forward to smiles on the kids’ faces when they open their gifts, it means enjoying the festivities this season brings with the many holiday parties, bazaars and gatherings galore and it means looking forward to time spent with family where another year of memories will be made.Even though one side of me would like to ‘freak out’ at the fact that Christmas is only a week away, the other side of me says…‘what’s all the hubbub, bub?’
How about you? Are you ready to freak out or are you going with the holiday flow?