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Work Song by Dan Reeder
For the last seven years or so, I've had a lot of difficulty really getting into the Christmas season. I've tried, but there's something about working the holidays in retail that manages to suck all of the enjoyment out of it for me. It's weird. I know a lot of people that work all Christmas and love it, like being surrounded by the retail wonderland fuels their heart where all I see is greed and disgruntled people, buying things they don't need, or gifts for people they don't really like.
I used to love the season. I'd wear a felt elf hat and deliver Secret Santa cookies to people, I even went caroling and on a hay ride once. Now, instead, I wrap my blackened heart up in gay tinsel and try to act peppy for the few holiday shoppers I get that do truly love the season. I want to be bitter, act like a horrible Grinch, but I hate to think that I'm that guy that crushed their Christmas Spirit. So instead, I smile nicely and say all of the things I say every year, things that used to mean something but now are merely little platitudes, a Merry Christmas Mantra said to those true believers in the hopes that they don't see through the charade and attempt to recruit me.
'Cause there's nothing worse than a Happy Holiday Who attempting to cheer up someone who is genuinely miserable. All it does is piss 'em off, trust me. On the bright side, it does make it easy to get along with almost all of my customers. I break out the fake happy for the Hermies and the Bah Humbugs for the Bumbles.
This year though, I wanted things to be different. I want my heart to swell to whatever size that one guy in that one cartoon's heart did. Unfortunately, the fates have not been kind to us in 2009. Last year we wrote about our exciting future in our Christmas letter, how we were close to signing with a motel, how we were packing the house up for the move. Then things went sour and it's gotten rough. The motel dream was placed on the back burner, money has gotten tighter than it's ever been, my mom and brother are living in the basement of the house that we couldn't sell, it looks like my transfer is never going to happen. Just a lot of things that find themselves piled onto our backs all at once.
Through all of the doom and gloom though, there have been a few truly bright spots in the year, our writing is progressing well and both of us have gotten a bit of attention from professionals. No sales or agents yet, but we're loving the process, and that's important. We're all in good health and the kids (Our pets) are a source of constant amusement. Despite the fears, we should still manage to make ends meet and neither of us have lost our jobs, so there are still reasons to be hopeful.
So I've continued to try. We've made Christmas decorations, gotten a tree, wrapped what gifts we could buy. And it's helping. We may not be out of the dumps, but there's enough to look forward to that we keep digging. We're going in to talk to the bank about our School Loans and debts, we've started making plans for our future if the transfer never progresses, we're planning a tentative vacation even.
Most importantly, we're doing the little things this time of year that help us find the spirit and joy. Burning holiday candles, the simple joys of making Clove Oranges and cookies. Watching holiday classics like The Muppet Christmas Carol. The light snow we got yesterday helped tremendously too, it seems like the white stuff always makes it seem more like Christmas to me. As an added bonus, it looks like I might actually get the entire day of Christmas off this year, which would be the first time since I started with Walgreens. As long as that doesn't fall through, that could make the biggest difference of all. I really like the idea of being able to spend more than an hour or two with each of my families.
I can't promise a changed man this year, I'll probably still be grumpy, but I'm trying to find the happiness that I used to have.
What things do you do for the holidays that help you get in the mood?
Not a lot here again, just a few pages revised. I think I'll likely start in on my query letter sometime this month with an eye towards sending it around in January!