Apparently, I have been part of the War on Christmas for a long time without being aware of it. This is because my Christmas Spirit was removed long ago by 4 years of working in retail. At Radio Shack (RIP).
Working retail is an unpleasant way to make a living in the best of cases, but the Christmas season tends to bring out the worst in people. Crowds, hard to locate parking and inane elevator music playing over and over again will do that for you. The first four bars of the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album can still cause me to crawl under my desk to lie in a fetal position.
The worst part of the whole experience was the endless variety of noise making toys that were required to have fresh batteries at all times. This created a cacophony of whistles, buzzes and howls. The whistles and buzzes came from the toys, the howls came from the toddlers who had to be dragged away by their parents to go to another store. Frankly the howls were probably hard to differentiate from the sobs coming from the back room as we snuck back there to have a smoke and try and recenter ourselves.
My favorite part of the experience was helping the dads. My philosophy of buying toys as a dad is to buy toys you want to play with. This is not entirely a selfish motive, since if a dad wants to play with a toy, they’re more likely to play with their kids with the toy. RC cars were always a big hit. We also sold slot car sets and those were also very popular.
I only have one Christmas tradition I insist on keeping. The week before Christmas, I read “A Christmas Carol” and then watch every adaptation I can find. My favorite is the Patrick Stewart version, followed closely by the animated one Jim Carey did for Disney. The only other story that comes close is “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” But only the Chuck Jones animated version.
I think something appeals to me in someone who is a grouch being redeemed somehow. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.