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It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...
Soooooner Eeeeevery Yeeeeeear"

By Cheryl Lee

As a child and a teenager, the winter hollydays were my favorite time of year. Family gatherings at Thanksgiving wound into counting the days til the fat man was expected to deliver a bountiful harvest of Barbie dolls and cowgirl boots (and later stereos and Jordaches) under the tree. Living in the Deep South, I longed for JUST ONE white Christmas.

Being an adult and parent makes those joys move aside in favor of things like worrying over how Santa is going to afford that Wii system, and making holiday travel plans that now have to work around Mother Nature and her liberal sprinkling of white powder all over I-80. White Christmas, my eye.

But nothing, and I mean not even working in an ER (I'm guessing) will cure you of the sheer childlike joy in the holidays faster than working retail.

There's the decorations for sale, which in our store were out before Halloween this year! The Christmas tunes on the overhead, which you'd expect to start getting peppered into the regular songs a day or so before Thanksgiving, maybe, this year made their debut November 14. They were joined by tunes on one of our local radio stations going all-holiday (just for the weekend so far, thank goodness), and bell-ringers at every mall entrance appearing like they sprang forth from the very pavement. The very cold pavement.

Mother Nature has obliged this holiday look, sound, and feel by making it very cold and dusting that aforementioned white powder all over the place. Which we mall employees get to enjoy all the more, since we often have to park at outlying store parking lots and trek overland to work. It's hard to look attractive and professional when you have major hat-head from bundling up like Nanook of the North just to schlep from the mini-van.

It's not all bad. The good thing about WMEE playing only holiday tunes after Thanksgiving means they have to be a little more creative in their digging for variety. I think there's an FFC law about how many times a day you can play "Do They Know It's Christmas Time?" (And if there isn't, there oughta be!) I derive endless amusement from this one lady who rings TWO bells at once during her shift at the red bucket, and singsongs over and over "God BLESS you, have a HAP-py HOL-i-DAY!" And with my firm belief that I was a cat in a former life, being attracted to red, shiny things makes the decorations not so bad.

It's just a case of too much of a good thing, yanno? I know folks who work in retail who WILL NOT have a tree in their own home, because they get enough of that at work. I will have a tree, but it will go up when it is supposed to - Black Friday - and not a moment before.

Cause goodness knows I won't be caught anywhere NEAR the mall on THAT day!!

Copyright Cheryl Lee

* * * * *

Cheryl Lee, a.k.a. MamaKat, says her house has almost always been "outside of" some already-small town. She was born and mostly raised "outside of" Troy, Alabama. She guesses she is a redneck, cause directions to her house usually did include "and then you leave the paved road." She now lives in the frozen North in Indiana, where it is sometimes 5 degrees Fahrenheit. She has three boys two ex-husbands, one boyfriend, two cats, and a certifiably insane extended family back in the Deep South, more than enough material for a long and lucrative writing career.

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