It’s getting near crunch time, when all of the procrastinating gift givers like myself are frantically shopping to get it all done by Christmas.
I have a bad habit of putting many things off until the last minute, because I am always trying to do 100 things in a day that only has time for 50. So I squeeze in as many things as I can and delay those that don’t have to be done today.
But I make it a point not to shop on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day because those days are for family, and I don’t want to be rushing around running errands. Even if I’m only with my immediate family of four people, and my two teens are ignoring me, I want us to be together and relaxed and maybe watching a Christmas movie — not shopping.
I’ve heard people ask retail workers around this time of year: “Why do they make you guys work on the holidays?” Employees often shrug, or say they don’t have enough seniority to get the holiday off.
But there is only ONE reason why people work on a holiday like Christmas.
Because YOU AND I are at that business on a holiday!
For stores and other similar businesses, I believe it is the customers’ fault entirely that people have to work on holidays. If the store was empty, I guarantee the owners would eventually get the message and shut down that day. No business owner wants to pay employees when they are losing money because they are not making sales.
It may sound sexist, but I mostly blame men for this. I hate to admit it, but I shopped for Christmas gifts one year on Christmas Eve. I was SHOCKED how many people were in the stores. I was even more SHOCKED how many men were in the stores. I would estimate more than 90 percent of the customers were men, who probably don’t like to shop and didn’t know what to buy, so they procrastinated until the last minute.
I can relate. I don’t like to shop. I sometimes get physically ill when I see so many new things piled up in a store, knowing how many people throw away the same perfectly good item just to get a different one that is trendier. I once had to walk out of a Bed, Bath and Beyond store because I started crying. It pains me to know we live in such a throw away society that people will get rid of perfectly good towels (and everything else in a bathroom) just to change a color scheme or update it. I feel like there would be enough clothing, dishes, furniture, etc. for every person in the United States even if nothing new was produced for years.
But my procrastination caused by anti-consumerism should not impact others by forcing them to work on a holiday. I have not gone gift shopping on Christmas Eve since that time many years ago. I will admit I have sometimes gone grocery shopping on Christmas Eve, because I didn’t plan my Christmas Day menu until the day before.
I also admit I have spent part of Christmas Eve wrapping gifts.
I’m determined not to do that this year, and it’s not just because of my family. It’s because of all the other people in my community.
If I got my Christmas food from the grocery store on December 23 or earlier instead of December 24 — and so did everyone else — then the store would be empty. (Thank goodness my local grocery store is closed on Christmas Day.)
If I realized I needed more tape while trying to finish my wrapping on December 23 — and so did everyone else –then the stores that sell those supplies would be empty on December 24.
So this year, think about the people at their job who would rather be with their families on December 24 and December 25. If you see them working, it’s your fault. If you and everyone else were not there, neither would the employees be there.
Every effort starts with one small step. You can be that small step. Make sure you don’t step foot in any business on December 24 and 25. Fill up your gas tank on December 23. Send your packages by December 23. And buy and wrap your presents on December 23 or earlier. You will be doing yourself, your family and your community a favor!
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