There is an old holiday song by Jerry Herman that goes: Haul out the holly! Put up the tree before my spirit falls again. Fill up the stocking! I may be rushing things but deck the halls again now! For we need a little Christmas! Right this very minute! Candles in the window … Well, you get the idea.
More and more, that song tend to haunt me as we get to the end of every passing year. The holidays are no longer for the fainthearted. The minute Halloween ends (and sometimes earlier), the Christmas / Hanukah / … season begins. And while it might be true that we do "need a little Christmas", what about those of us who love the beauty and fellowship of Thanksgiving?
I'll admit that there is a definite charm that falls over us during the holiday season. We become less the "I" "Me" generation, and turn into a society of givers. There is true, undeniable beauty in that. We become stressed over not being able to do enough for other people during this time of year. And for those who try to live their lives like that all year round, it is gratifying when the rest of civilization plays catch up, even if it is just for a little while.
The problem that remains, however, is the pressure that gets put on most of us during this time of year. "Black Friday" now starts at 3:00 AM at many stores. Shoppers could be out of luck if they fail to get in line at 1:00 AM or before the line wraps all of the way around the block. I happened to be related to two young retailers (that being the first job of choice in my family), who relied on their misgivings of what was to come as we shared Thanksgiving dinner. Hardcore shoppers are gleeful at the thought of being the first in line for their purchases. But what of those who balk at such tactics? Should shoppers who prefer to enjoy their rare long weekends by sleeping in be punished? Almost so!
Of course there are other options for those who prefer not to go sleep deprived and bleary eyed to the mall. Many choose on-line shopping. This is a great option for those who live far from their relatives, and are not traveling home either at all, or not until the holiday hits. The gift can reach its destination before you, and all you have to worry about is wrapping it when you arrive. Although there is sometimes not so small challenge of ensuring that the overly curious gift recipient keeps their hands to themselves (this is a reference to my mother whose tactics are legendary in my family).
There is also the option of the personal shopper. A good internet search (or even word of mouth) is usually all it takes to find a business of this sort that will not cost you an arm and a leg. This service is ideal for the busy professional with gifts to buy, but no ideas or time to get it done. I've been in the zero hour position with zero to show for myself – it's not a good feeling.
Long story short, the holidays are here and that's a great thing: Seeking out friends that somehow we have not spoken to in awhile, decorating the house, and let's not forget the countless parties! But the least favorite part of them is the stress that we place on ourselves in an effort to get everything done. It is never a crime to ask for help when we need it. There are friends and family we can ask; services available. There is also a reason for the season. So happy holidays everyone! It's time to Deck the halls again now!