*phew* glad that’s over

I've not been a big fan of the holidays since I began working retail. There is something about working in a retail setting that sucks the joy and fun out of the holidays. Working until close the night before any holiday blows unmentionable items more than anyone who doesn't work retail can understand. Imagine taking your usual routine of shopping and either having to do it far in advance, for which the retailer penalize you with full retail prices and no sales OR waiting until the last minute and chancing not getting gifts. And then imagine all those places where you are shopping and having to be the one dealing with all the last minute shoppers. The common mantra of the over worked retail wage slave is "Your lack of planing is not my emergency." Now take a deep breath and open your eyes, the nightmare is over. So now you can partially understand my lack of holiday spirit. Some holidays are worse than others as the wage slave could end up working until midnight the night before the holiday. If the wage slave is lucky they live in a  state with blue laws. The blue laws force the retailers to close before certain hours before certain holidays and force the retailer to be closed for certain holidays.

So for those of us who work in a retail setting (yes I'm in HR but I'm expected to work the sales floor during rushes and holiday sales times.) the holidays can be doubly stressful. Though I'll admit there are some people who truly enjoy retail.

I am not one of them.

Up until this year I've not felt that Christmas excitement, the build up until the holiday. The wonder of what is in store for the day of the holiday. The cooking, the getting ready for family and friends to visit and eat, drink and be merry. I've not had a proper holiday party for some years, about 6. So this year when my Mom had her surgery it was the most recent holiday that I've spent with my family doing much of the cooking and this past Christmas my mother wanted to go simple and do a ham with some sides, but not too much.

This year I felt the excitement. Christie and I were in charge of the ham and buying the pecan pie.I had done much of my shopping in advance. I have different ideas of shopping than many. In that I look for thought rather than dollar amount. This year was the first time in nearly 6 years where the shopping wasn't arduous to me. It didn't seem an insurmountable task. I took JOY in it. I had a plan and I stuck to it and the gifts were some of the more interesting that I've found in years.

In short I found a lot of joy in this holiday season. I'm glad to say that my Mom is doing well, my father is doing well, both my brother's are doing well and even my brother's girlfriend and her son are doing well. So I'm thankful that this year I was able to spend a good amount of time in Maine with my family and that the company I work for has been really really good to me concerning my time off to care for my Mom. Which was perhaps, the best early Christmas gift ever.*

Now I'll be happy if I don't have to make the damn trip to Maine again until…. Summer time. 6 hours is too long to spend in a car.

*well… My Mom did buy me a Cricut machine and a food saver vacuum sealer. Those rank pretty high on the "best gift ever"scale of things.