I'm not going to lie, being an employee during the busiest time of the year is, by far, one of the most challenging experiences I have had in my twenty years. I mean, it's CHRISTMAS. Everyone is supposed to be excited, right? Wrong.
Too often, I have encountered people (sometimes even myself) who are too stressed out to remember what the season is really about. Things are busy. The shopping never seems finished. Holiday arrangements are being made. People are everywhere. But at what cost? Why does "the most wonderful time of the year" seem a little low on cheer?
As a person who has worked in a grocery store during the Christmas holidays, I see this negative side to Christmas more often than I would like to admit. Even in simple ways such as these:
Customers aren't always nice.
Man, some customers are absolutely a pain. News flash: the grocery store isn't always fully in stock of everything you need, especially if you're waiting the day before Christmas to pick up all your holiday groceries. Despite this, it is important to be kind. It's easy to get upset when things don't work out the way you plan. And it's just as easy to take out that anger on somebody else, but it happens all the time at my work. I get it, the last place people want to be on Christmas Eve is the grocery store, working or shopping. Don't compromise kindness. In fact, go out of your way to show them that you care because the attitude you have towards people makes a difference. Go out of your way to find the simple joy in other things even if the store was sold out of the Christmas ham. If you search hard enough, kindness isn't hard to come by, and a smile isn't hard to muster up.
Coworkers aren't always nice.
Coworkers are either a blessing or a curse in the grocery business and during Christmas, I can personally say, coworkers are stressed out. Trying to keep all the customers content is a task that is hard to handle. Remember to be patient with the people around you. Try to help if you are able. Understand that the season is stressful. You'll be fine, I promise.
One day while I was working during the holiday season, I asked a customer, "Are you excited for Christmas?" The response absolutely made me stop in my tracks and take a few steps back: "I'm excited for Christmas to be over." I was at a loss for words. I love Christmas. It was time off from work that I got to spend around the people who I love most, but most importantly, it was a time to reflect on the best gift that I could've ever received: a savior.
So while the momentum of the Christmas season seems to pick up, I encourage you guys (and myself) to take a look around at the people who are surrounding you, strangers and friends, and really dig deep to be compassionate during the season of business and beauty. The greatest gifts are those that are priceless.