Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry, or Not So Merry?

Yesterday, I met the un-merriest checker ever at Walmart in Columbia. The light was lit that indicated the lane was open, so Harold and I put our items on the belt. We could see the checker, who was supposed to be on duty, deep in conversation with another woman. Finally, she spotted us as we patiently waited for someone to ring up our purchases.

She sauntered over, not saying a word or even giving a hint of a smile, and picked up the items, one by one, scanning. The total came up, she glared and nodded toward the credit card machine. I scanned the card, and she handed me the receipt. Then, she begrudgingly murmured “Thank you,” beneath her breath. Anyway, she said something that ended in “you.” I wouldn’t a hundred percent swear the first word was “thank.”

“Wow! She was rude,” I said just as soon as I was out of earshot. Yes, maybe I should have challenged her to her face, but I’m not passive-aggressive so I didn’t say it loud enough for her to overhear.

I know she had a voice because we interrupted her conversation. I don’t know what her problem was. She certainly wouldn’t be in contention for employee of the month.

It was disconcerting to see someone act that way in a retail business offers a high level of customer service, but some people just don’t do holidays well. People who have suffered a tragedy at Christmas time often endure rather than enjoy.

Holiday cheer and noise don’t bode well for people with dementia. A lot of  holiday chaos can send a person with Alzheimer’s into a tailspin.

Just a few suggestions to make the holidays easier if you have a loved one with dementia:

1.      Keep the celebrations simple. It is much better to have an intimate dinner than a huge family gathering. If it’s too hard for you to host the holiday celebration, ask someone else to host it.
2.      Be kind to yourself! If it’s too much to maintain all the traditions of holidays past, choose the ones that mean the most. Especially, if they are ones you can let your loved one share with you. Can your loved one ice the Christmas cookies?
3.      Take time for yourself. Find a few moments to indulge yourself. You could go to a Christmas program, schedule a relaxing massage, or go to a movie with a friend.

The person who can make your Christmas merry is you. Everyone else can jump through hoops trying to make it happen, but merriness doesn’t come from Walmart, it comes from the heart. You will find those who give you the gift of friendship, kindness, and love will help bring joy to your holiday.

Don’t let anyone steal your joy or cast guilt on you for not being able to do all that you did in the past. Fill the holidays with peace.

If you happen to go into the Columbia Walmart see a checker with a scowl on her face and a Grinch in her heart, tell her I said, “Merry Christmas!” She probably needs all the encouragement and cheer she can get.
Copyright © December 2015 by L.S. Fisher

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