Christmas stampede kills holiday vibe

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, we have collectively entered holiday season proper, complete with the myriad of responsibilities that accompany it. Most people require copious amounts of time to prepare for festivities, but that does not stop many of us from frantically scouring commercial establishments for last-minute gifts and foodstuffs.

While any attempt is better than none, we should all make a concerted effort this year to give our celebrations a degree of forethought, and channel our inner Pinterest moms, in order to have our necessary preparations locked down tight by the Eve of festivities. While we will certainly spare ourselves unnecessary stress by this, it is also more considerate to those around us.  

For all the hullabaloo surrounding the holidays, and their gradual creep across the calendar, people seem to be shocked when they actually occur. Chaos ensues: people running out to buy gifts for visiting relatives instead of spending quality time with them; no one planned a menu, and hangry people are biting each other’s heads off; and, perhaps the most pitiful, the retail workers who have to weather the flood of exceedingly stressed customers with a jolly smile and merry attitude. This doesn’t have to be anyone’s holiday experience, but proper planning and execution is paramount.  

On the topic of gift-giving, notes can be helpful. If the giftee mentions something they need or spots something they like in a store, the gifter might want to type it into a notes app on their phone afterward, or very subtly in the moment. This works best as a year-round habit, as it gives options and shows the giftee that the gifter is paying attention. Another strategy is to use a shared memory or inside joke as the basis for a gift, as it feels personal.

Finding presents for people can be incredibly fun when people are able to do it within the buffer between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stores have more stock, which means better variety and a greater chance of finding the perfect gift. Even online shoppers should try to be early, as shipping takes longer and opening an IOU is not equivalent to tearing into the thing itself. 

Shopping for presents with others is also a great bonding activity, and it can be helpful to have a second opinion.  

Either way, if we are going through the effort to give someone a gift, we should do our due diligence by making sure it will be appreciated and on time.

Perhaps one of the worst atmospheres for a holiday is a living room full of hungry people arguing about what to eat.  Some of us start snacking on what’s available only to be yelled at by others, who are waiting for a proper meal, for spoiling our appetites. 

Needless to say, having a menu established ahead of time could spare families heart and stomach aches. People should know who’s making what and coordinate with others in attendance. Timing is vital for anything in the kitchen, so deciding when things get made ahead of time is incredibly important.  

With much more home cooking going on during the holidays, securing all groceries and ingredients should be done as early as possible. There are few worse feelings than being unable to finish a recipe due to an ingredient being out of stock, especially after wasting time checking several stores while the festivities continue at home.

Lastly, retailers keep track of their sales and some will remain open on holidays if they believe there is enough of a profit. This means more workers scheduled during the holidays to meet the demand. Instead of enjoying time with their loved ones, they’re stuck working in an extra stressful environment. 

Some employees voluntarily work holidays for bonus pay, but many are required to. If we can better spread our shopping out over the season, it could help to lessen the demand for retail employees working holidays. 

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