Just go with it

by mollykl

Having spent the last 20+ years in retail, Christmastime is not lists on my list of favorites. You know what it has, for the past 20+ years, conjured? Working 40+ hour weeks and dealing with the public. And that’s a shame, because I loved the holiday when I was a kid, and a jaded teenager, and even a jaded college student.

I remember the way the lights on houses looked in the fog (it’s Sacramento, in December…there’s fog…lots of it). The way the snow drifted in Spokane downtown giving every stoplight facets. Dressing up for The Nutcracker at the Opera House with Suzy (yes, Spokane has an Opera House).  Marching in the Santa Parade and freezing my lips off (you try playing a sterling silver flute in 40 degree weather). My mom always had bayberry candles and these amazing pre-Martha Stewart decorations made from glass ornaments arranged as trees. Even after college I always loved the Saturday right before Christmas at Escential, because it was the busiest day of the year and we would invite all employees to our favorite bar in Portland and husband J would buy the first round (probably because he was damned grateful that he’d never had to work customer service!). There were even a couple of Christmas dinners that I spent with my then-boss that were amazing: that she would include me (I was used to being alone that day) still means so much (oh, and ok, it was so much fun drinking Sidecars with her kid E!).

That’s one of the nice things about having a kid: I get to hit a big re-set button. I get to go back and remember why I loved things, and experience them again. So, yes, we decorated the house for Christmas. Colored lights on the outside, white lights on the arbor vitae that stands sentinel by our door, and a pine cone wreath with, gasp!, gold glitter, on the door. Inside stands the tree, which is about 6 feet tall (we have vaulted ceilings so it doesn’t hit the top). Son J and I baked cookies last week, Christmas trees and snowflakes, covered, and I do mean covered, in sparkling sugar. We’ve already watched ‘Santa Claus is coming to town” and “Charlie Brown Christmas”. I’ve currently got a Christmas station on Pandora.

Yeah, work is busy, and I will have to work on Christmas Eve. People are stressed out and tend to get snappy with store clerks. It’s just the way things go. It doesn’t have to affect how I enjoy my holiday with my friends and family. I’m loving son J making “Christmas cards” for people, which consist of taped up pieces of paper that he presents to you as if it were a Middle East peace accord. His repeatedly asking if I know all of the names of Santa’s reindeer (for the record, I don’t). We turn on the Christmas lights as soon as dusk falls. We’ve been listening to Christmas music while making dinner. This weekend we’re going to take J out on a drive after dark to see the lights around town.

You can fight the holidays or you can just go with it.