Can I have some scary ghosts visit me, please?

Just so I’m starting this blog on a positive note, I’m going to just say this: I love string lights. I like driving by people’s houses decorated for the holidays and checking out the light displays, as long as they are tasteful.  I also like my mom’s extra-spicy gingerbread cookies, and the other cutout cookies she sometimes makes with frosting and sprinkles. Mmmm…sprinkles! I also really like the Christmas song “Silent Night.” Those lyrics…”all is calm…all is bright.” God I’m SO there! Calm AND bright? What kind of magical place is this? And the “silent” part? Yeah, baby! And “Sleigh Ride” is all right as long as it’s instrumental.  What else do I like about Christmas? Well, I like the spiced high-gravity ales some of the microbreweries release around this time of year. What better time of year to drink something high in alcohol than the holidays? It will help make your relatives tolerable, it will help erase the badness of an insane day at work, it will make you more delightfully witty and loveable (in your own mind).

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Word!

Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland had a Christmas ale a couple of years ago that was just….dandy! And after working a Black Friday shift, it REALLY hit the spot! Well, about four of these hit the spot (about 8 percent ABV, don’t be calling me a lightweight, now)!  OK, I’ve covered string lights, cookies, beer, (mmmm…beer) listed a couple of songs…what else do I like about the holidays? Well, I actually kind of like the story “A Christmas Carol,” even though I am not a Charles Dickens fan. This story has creepy ghosts in it, a grumpy dude with mutton chops (probably wearing a nightshirt and going commando under it all…did you all just picture George C. Scott’s bare ass? Sorry for that)! Yes, it’s a tale about a guy who gets his holiday groove back after being visited by three ghosts. I’m sure he had good reasons for not being really super chipper about the holidays, but it’s still a good story!

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Throwing a robe on over your nightshirt makes you less cold when you’re going commando and following creepy figures outside on Christmas Eve. The more you know!

It’s amazing that there is ANYTHING I still like about the holidays at all. I’ve worked in a department store since 1998, so this is my 20th year of dealing with all of the holiday BS, and it seems to get worse every year. The holiday decorations go up earlier every year. The holiday merchandise gets stocked earlier every year. The holiday music gets played earlier every year. It used to be a fact of life that if you work in a retail job, you would have to work on Black Friday, but you would still get to have Thanksgiving off.  Now whatever powers that be have decided that people need to shop on Thanksgiving, so if you work in retail, you may have to work Thanksgiving, too (though not all retailers are open on Thanksgiving). The horror stories you may have read about Black Friday and Thanksgiving? Customers getting trampled by other customers? Violence erupting over “hot” items? The stories are all true. I have not actually witnessed any trampling or violence, but the potential is definitely there. Last year, I was bringing some pillows out of the stockroom and was mobbed by a group of customers who wanted to buy them (apparently they were on some kind of hot sale or something). They grabbed at me greedily like a pack of rabid, feral monkeys. I literally had to order them not to  touch me (unsure if all of them could speak English). When I went back into the stockroom a short time later to get more pillows, I asked one of the male supervisors to “guard” me while I brought them out. The customers left me alone.  I do tend to carry my box cutter in my pocket at all times while at work, so anything serious goes down? I’m ready! 🙂 If people can get that nasty over $9.99 PILLOWS who knows how nasty they could get over video game systems, TVs, air convection fryers or Bluetooth-enabled doorbells? People are generally not nice when they are in the throes of greedy, rampant consumerism. They are single-minded, selfish beasts at their best, and vile, despicable assholes when they are at their worst.  They are basically the same when they are at their best and when they are at their worst!

Another year I had to work in the shoe department, and I stood sentry at my post waiting for the mob to flood in. And flood in they did. A stampede of customers quickly poured in, one of whom was a 30-something pregnant woman who clearly had the “eye of the shopper.” Single minded she was in her goal, which was to buy a pair of $19.99 pleather boots, it was clear by her determined gait that nothing and no one was going to stand between her and the pleather boots! By then I was a seasoned veteran of the retail game, but I was terrified of her! I knew to stay the f— out of her way! A couple of years later, I got the shoe gig again, and found myself having a little freakout in the stockroom. I temporarily froze up, and didn’t want to bring any shoes out of the stockroom. I just wanted to hide out until my shift was over. I quickly powered through this little freakout, I got into my groove, started bringing shoes out by the pile, and tossing them onto the shelves. I used all of my dexterity skills to deftly maneuver in and out through crowds of shoppers and kept bringing out the pleather boots. Because somebody had to buy the pleather boots. Ideally, LOTS of somebodies had to buy those pleather boots! A couple of days ago, one of the supervisors said she was looking for a “vegan leather” coat for an in-store pickup order. I cringed at hearing the words “vegan leather.” But that’s another blog topic entirely!

I’ll be heading to the bar in a bit to help soothe my wounded, holiday beaten mind. I will try my hardest to get images of nutcrackers out of my head (they really freak me out, I unpacked a bunch of them today…shudder). And maybe when I go to bed tonight, I’ll be visited by three ghosts who will scare the crap out of me, and ultimately help me get my holiday “groove” back. More likely, I’ll just power through the remaining two months of the year with as much sanity as I can muster and look ahead to blissful, blissful January! Ah, January! It might be cold as f— but there is no more sure sign of the holidays being over than January!

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Me on a cabin trip in January, 2016 at Tawas Point State Park sporting my “the holidays are over” look. It was colder than Hoth on this trip, but my husband and I still managed to do a campfire!

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“All is calm…all is bright…round yon campfire…we drink…tonight…”

 

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