rebeccajoneshowe.com
A Retail-Worker's Christmas Survival Guide: Vol 2 | REBECCAJONESHOWE.COM
Ever since I started working retail I have struggled with Christmas. At one point in time, Christmas was my favourite holiday. Presents were cool. As a Christian I think I put it up at #1 because I felt like I had to, December 25th being Jesus’ birthday and all, even though I now know that Christmas isn’t actually Jesus’ birthday and all that. Christmas just feels like it’s supposed to be everyone’s favourite holiday. The songs tell you so. The commercials tell you so. The stores tell you so. The sales tell you so. Capitalism has made it so. At one point in my mid-20s, I wrote a survival guide for retail workers. I’m going to do it again. A retail worker 10+ years in the making, I know that there’s no mistaking the awfulness of the capitalized holiday season. But I’m not about to put a bloody gun in my mouth and neither should you. 1. The Christmas music is going to come early but find some way to enjoy it. I grew up singing old Christmas hymns. Apart from “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and that stupid Britney Spears song that I identified with in high school because I was a sad angsty teen who couldn’t get a boyfriend and didn’t yet have access to Taylor Swift. I didn’t endure the true awfulness of mainstream Christmas music until I survived my first Christmas in retail. After that, nothing was the same as listening to Xtina drag out every syllable of “This Christmas”. Nothing was the same as listening to 70 different renditions of “Rocking around the Christmas Tree” every day. Nothing was the same was wondering how the hell one woman could obsess over a guy for an entire year while never seeing him in the song “Christmas Wrapping”. Nothing was the same as HATING MICHAEL BUBLE AND WANTING TO KILL HIM FOR SINGING EVERY CHRISTMAS SONG IN EXISTENCE. JUST STOP MICHAEL, LET SOME THINGS BE SACRED. I used to pick my most hated Christmas song every year. My suggestion now is to find just one that you can laugh at in a light-hearted slap on the shoulder kind of way. Now, I wait for the Jimmy Eat World version of “Last Christmas” to play during my work day? Why? Because “Last Christmas” is a song that I somehow found myself ironically enjoying. I know it’s a stupid song. I know it’s actually the worst mainstream Christmas song of all time (except maybe “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”, but we need not speak of that abomination). I don’t care. I like it. The WHAM original is pretty epic (and 80’s!) BUT the Jimmy Eat World version is just truly the best. THE BEST. It’s all my teen angst spit-shined into a Christmas song that 30-year-old me can appreciate. I’ll listen to it on repeat play. I love it. It makes me feel like it’s Christmas. It’s childhood and teenhood and adulthood all fused into magic that makes me feel goosebumps even at the peak busy hours of the day. (The Puppini Sisters’ version of “Last Christmas” is also pretty good, with some 40’s Parisian influence!) My point is, find a song that makes you feel this way. Christmas is so over-rated that there WILL be a rendition of a song out there for you. If there’s anything beneficial about the modern holiday season, it is that. 2. Have a drink. As in alcohol. Sometimes a glass of wine after an extended into 1AM evening shift (because now your work opens late all holiday season!) is all you need. Then go to bed watching Netflix on your phone. Binge watch a new show. Wake up late. Enjoy waking up late. Enjoy it. 3. Have some tea. It’s hard to really realize the impact tea can have until you swap your coffee for a big mug of Earl Grey in the morning. The hydration is like an extra kick in the face. Also, at the end of the night, swap your drink of booze for some soothing rooibos. Read a book. Make another cup. Variety is always nice. Buy some (preferably caffeinated) tea. Keep your tea in your work locker. Have a cup of tea on EVERY SINGLE BREAK. You’ll understand once you’ve done it. 4. Find ONE thing about working retail during the Christmas season that you can handle. For me, it’s making feature gift tables. Last year I made a killer duo of “Gifts for Him” and “Gifts for Her” tables that I kept spiffy and beautiful until I no longer had merchandise to fill them with. A part of surviving Christmas as a retail worker is having some kind of pride in what you do. 5. Find an alternative way to decorate your house that is comforting. Eh, it's a start. A post shared by Rebecca Jones-Howe (@rebeccajoneshowe) on Dec 1, 2016 at 10:32pm PST The year I probably hated Christmas the most, I decorated my house all goth. I got a black tree. I got red, white and silver ornaments. I went nuts. I haven’t decorated my house so much since that year. Now, I go a little more subdued in a more standard route with mid-century-inspired red, green, and gold on my white tree. It’s still “traditional” but it makes me feel happy to see my clean white tree when I come home from work. Over the years I’ve grown very fond of all things “Kitchmas”, which sort of leads me to my next point… 6. Make a tradition. I know the hardest part of being a retail worker at Christmas is trying to find a way to find “Christmas spirit”. Traditions help, even if only you abide by them. For several years I used to make shortbread cookies with tea and put them in mason jars with custom-designed labels to give to all of my managers. It just felt good to bake for other people, to give back. I …