It’s not a day past Halloween, we see more and more of the red, the gold, the Santa’s, the Mrs Claus’. Its creeps into November and we begin to hear Fairy Tale of New York on the radio, in store and on TV, it’s everywhere.
By the beginning of November, every shop we go into has Christmas music blasting, decorations in their window and Christmas trees at the entrance and advent calendars in before the pumpkins sell out – commercialization at its finest. It is, the “Modern day Christmas.”
People line up for hours on end to get the most popular toys, shoes, clothes, new releases and to meet the “Real” Santa Claus. Everywhere we go we hear a strained mother or father whispering to their children “Santa’s watching” to get them to behave.
Today, Christmas has become writing the longest wish list, sharing videos on YouTube watching young children telling their friends “What I got for Christmas” stating they’re “trying not to brag” and let’s face it, everyone has access to YouTube now.
What happened to the days when we sat by the fire, watching Christmas movies in our pj’s with the family, everyone got one or two gifts and all were happy?
Christmas has become more than this, its parents posting to Facebook on Christmas Eve pictures of their children’s toys on the sofa for other parents to see. It’s a competition of who got what and who’s is better. Whether we like it or not, it is reality. It’s no one’s fault that this commercialization has happened, but it has and now many parents are feeling the pressure – after all, no one wants to let their kids down on Christmas day, especially not due to dry funds.
It’s supposed to be a time when families come together, not to talk about the presents our partners, our kids or our parents got us, but to talk about all the fun times had in the previous year and to plan the fun times in the year ahead, it’s spreading the festive cheer and making each other smile.
The thought of Christmas for some fills them with fear and anxiety, but for others, it is a joyous, fun and exciting time of year.
Being someone who has worked in retail at Christmas for over 3 years now, I have heard and seen it ALL. From rude and abrupt customers complaining about 5p for a bag to those requesting something “more expensive” or something “a lot cheaper” it is evident to say that, for the fortunate ones, Christmas can be a fun time for giving our loved ones what they want and deserve but for others, it’s not just so simple, its saving up all year to pay off last year’s Christmas debts, it’s the worrisome sleepless nights, the lack of funds for even the essentials.
Just remember that those serving you at Christmas have been working long shifts with neither barely a toilet break nor a bite to eat – it can get warm, repetitive and exhausting and sometimes we don’t want to smile when you complain or ask stupid questions. We are human, but again, that’s all part of it…
Not only is it ques upon ques, with wild eyed customers glaring waiting for your attention, it is long shifts, crowds, repetitive playlists of Christmas music, stockrooms brimming to the full, its 12 hours of fake smiling and conversation.
I may sound like a scrooge, but please, do not be fooled! I love Christmas, the cold nights around the fire and the Christmas songs on the radio, it’s cheery, full of bargains and after all, it’s time dedicated to spend with family and friends!
Christine Murtagh is a final year Bsc student in Communication, Advertising and Marketing at Ulster University. Find her on Twitter @Cmurtagh95, and Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-murtagh-413409b9/