Whatever happened to peace on earth, joy to the world, goodwill toward men, fa-la-la-la-la, and all that? Have you noticed? Lately I have been very aware of just how cranky people are this time of year. Snarls and glares and shoves and huffs seem to be the heralds of Christmas these days.
I get it. I mean people are so stressed out year round and then at Christmas they pull the strand a little harder and some of them just snap! They dump more stuff in their stress bucket until it overflows and we have stress all over the place, ruining our shoes.
"Have to decorate the house inside and out. Bake 40 dozen cookies. Make, write, and mail 200 Christmas cards. Make candy. Make pies. Cook your goose and mine. Shop, shop, shop, buy, buy, buy. Fail to find one "perfect" gift. Try to outdo what the kids already have, so they will smile. Diet. Help with the Christmas pageant by making costumes, baking a cake and selling tickets. Etc, etc, etc."
No wonder people are grumpy.
And the store clerks, who can blame them. They have to put up with hundreds of these people every day, standing on their feet. They're exhausted. They have their own list of things to do.
So, I have a two-fold challenge for you, my dear blog friends. Let us each find one thing this year that we can drop. Just let it go. I have already stopped sending Christmas cards; stopped baking,(unless I really want to – for fun); stopped decorating every room of the house; and we are seriously cutting back on spending, since we do it on a cash basis. My big meal is Thanksgiving. Christmas will be more relaxed and casual. One year we had sandwiches! Everyone loved it. So, think of just one thing. You're Christmas will not fall apart. In fact, it will be better because you will be better. I learned that my kids appreciate a happy mom, more that a postcard Christmas with the Grinch!
The second thing is for us to do the random acts of kindness thing. The season is seriously lacking in cheer. Let's do our part to restore it! Yes, some people want to be unhappy. They like being grouchy. But many will appreciate some kindness. They are just tired, over-worked, over-spent, disillusioned folk trying to be happy and missing it. Next time you are at Starbucks hand the barista an extra $5 to pay for the guy behind you. Or just give it to the barista. Especially be on the lookout for people who seem to be having a particularly bad day. People who are extra crabby. Give your favorite checkout girl a flower. Help the harried lady with her groceries. Or… well, you get the picture. It can be large or small; expensive or free.
Now, I know it's weird to feel like you are tooting your own horn. But I really want each of you to share the things that you do. It will not be a bragfest, it will be inspiring for the rest of us. It will give us ideas, too. So let's get out there and practice some goodwill toward men!