C. Stroup: Christmas, Bah Humbug (That’s “My Bad!”)

I thought January would never get here!  Because the Christmas tree has been up since Thanksgiving, I relish January 1st ~ this is the day everything comes down. You may be asking yourself why put it up so soon and why take it down so late?  The answer is quite simple…after going through all the hassle of decorating (2 day project) I wish to enjoy the fruits of my labor for more than just a day or so of opening packages and having friends over.

I know I complain about these things every year so go ahead and call this every year.

Christmas Pet Peeves:

#1: The List.  I am very good about compiling mine several weeks, maybe even a month or so, before Christmas.  That’s partly because I’m organized and mostly because I want to make certain Santa doesn’t leave me out.  Getting a list from family members is like giving a cat a bath.

#2: The Labels.  The To/ From labels that go on packages are a hoax.  There is less than an iota of room to write names on these.  Even worse, the material they are made of is slippery and a pen won’t write on this kind of surface.  End result, nobody knows which package goes to whom because the ink has smudged so badly nothing can be read.

#3: The Bows.  Bows were never intended to stay stuck.  The pitiful little pads that are included on the underside don’t have enough muscle to grasp and hold on to the Christmas wrap, especially if it’s foil in nature.  You put a package with a bow under the tree and the lower branches just slap the bow right off.  I don’t make my bows, I use the prepackaged boring kind because I’m cheap (I like to say parsimonious) and I’m not particularly crafty.  I am, however, wily, and learned that a dab of gutter glue to the underside of any bow will cause it to stick, not just for Christmas, but until the end of time.

#4: Tissue Paper in a Bag:  I’ve never learned the fine art of stuffing tissue paper down in to a fancy bag.  For most people this shortens wrapping time by quite a bit.  The colorful tissue proudly peeks up from the bag creating perfect compartments inside to house perfect gifts.  I waste loads of time and tissue as the bags continue to rip huge holes in the flimsy paper.  I’ve seen others use this method of wrapping without a hitch.  And certainly my failure at such a simple task, and not in the spirit of Christmas, their success serves to provoke me into saying words that rhyme with hitch.  (If ya get my drift…)

#5: The Sales:  Who can resist all the sales?  “Buy one get one free…Save 50% if you spend $50 or more, but only on this Wednesday…Take an additional 30% off all merchandise marked with a red tag…Earn store cash of $1.00 for every $20 you spend in addition to our already reduced prices today only.”  Call me crazy but taking the time to add up all “my savings” as I shop is just overwhelming.  And comparing all these discounts with each store, well, that’s way out of my wheel house.  But my personal favorite…”Order online and receive a bonus discount by using our promo code.”  Promo codes are secret.  They are located somewhere on the screen that’s in front of you or the next screen or the next one ad nauseam.  Spend over $100 and your shipping is free!  (Nothing is free.)  Ordering online just might be the way to go but when they ask for my password I’m dead.  “Forget your password?  Let us help you create a new one!”  Those words send shivers down my spine!

#6: Now Hiring: Now hiring when?  I believe grocery stores are the worst about this.  They never seem to have enough checkers, especially at Christmas time.  The lines are ridiculous but you put up with this because you have to eat.  I, like my husband, refuse to use the self-checkout aisles…these are just one more of the ways we have been robbed of customer service.  Call us stubborn, call us dinosaurs but don’t call us late for dinner, no matter how long we have to wait in line.

Department stores run a close second.  While they may have added more warm bodies to roam the floors, the newbies don’t know where anything is but will gesture to an aisle at the other end of the store.  Arriving there, a seasoned employee will probably take you by the hand and walk you back the way you came.  Viola!  Your search is over.  Now to purchase, you stand in a long line behind others with shopping carts filled to the brim with Christmas stuff.  Three lanes out of twenty are open.  Now Hiring when?

#7: USPS: Actually this is not so much my pet peeve as it is my husband’s.  He was at the Post Office just the other day to drop off a rather large box.  The line was endless and he was bringing up the rear.  Too large to use the kiosk (the package, not Ken) he was relegated to join the ranks of the other minions.  A total of two of the four windows were open for service.  My husband is not a patient man.  He set the bulky, not heavy box down on the floor by his feet and began to shuffle back and forth, first on one leg then the other.  The snail-like pace of the line he was in began to really tick him off.  He offered the woman behind him a resting place for her box on top of his.  They stood in the same place for way too long and began to chat.  I don’t know if it was something she said or if a light bulb came on in Ken’s head but he grabbed up his package and pushed past the line of people overflowing in to the parking lot.

He remembered something a neighbor once told him about a mini post office residing in the confines of a cleaners!  It was a bonafide branch of the USPS tucked away where few people would ever find it.  Instead of there being 20 in line this was a gathering of a mere four.  He was in and out in no time.

Now despite all my “Bah Humbug” rhetoric, I genuinely do love Christmas…except for about 7 things!

C. Stroup
C. Stroup
Cindy Stroup is a Double Oak resident and has been contributing to The Cross Timbers Gazette for over 30 years. Read her column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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