What are you doing for Christmas?
In which I compare the joys of being a kid at Christmas to the joys of working retail during the holiday season.
When I was growing up my parents were always self-employed, so taking Christmas holidays never seemed to be a problem. Some years we'd have family over to visit, and other years we'd drive down to San Diego to visit my grandparents who were snowbirding [wp] there for the winter. Kelowna rarely got snow, San Diego never did and the few years we spent in White Rock also tended to be snow free.
Snow or no snow the Christmas Break was truly that, a break in the rhythm of real life. School would end and for two weeks I'd go from worrying about trying to learn French to worrying about how much eggnog I could drink in one day without my mother telling me I was going to get fat. In Kelowna we'd go sledding at Bertram Creek Park if there was enough snow. In San Diego there'd be at least one trip to the zoo, and daily trips to the mall that my grandparents would use as a sort of home base of leisure.1
These days of course I have a job, strata fees and having gotten fat off of eggnog a need to eat great quantities of food which for the most part needs to be paid for. Since despite my ability to shred on guitar in Rock Band, I have yet to become a rock star and because of the eggnog my male modeling career is over, I had to go out and get a job in retail. The thing with retail is, there is no Christmas Break.
Last year I had to work six days a week through December, with the promise of course that the law states that I'd be making overtime wages on a good deal of that. Of course working overtime and getting paid overtime are two different things so I'm not going to be doing that again for this company. But still, taking time off during Christmas is not an option, even if I had a bank balance that did not make the Baby Jesus want to offer me frankincense and myrrh.
If Christmas used to be a break in the pattern of my existence, it's now an escalation. Like one of those cartoons where Donald Duck tries to sleep with a leaky faucet in the next room and just as he's about to fall asleep the rate of the dripping increases until he has to leap from his bed and tear down his house trying to stop the water.
At least there's eggnog.
1 My grandparents would walk or drive to the closest mall, and then walk around it. Then they'd have coffee with a collection of other elderly people who seemed to be assembled through central casting.