I was hired as holiday help at Gap Baby / Gap Kids at Garden City Shopping Center when I was at school one year. It was described as mostly folding and stocking and putting things from the change room away again. But wouldn't you know, I distracted a few kids while their families were shopping and that became my responsibility for the season. I was so pleased, and my bosses thought that the parents whose children were in hand could buy more and spend more money.
A year or two later, I was off the Gap was pleased to avoid shopping centers for my holiday shopping. But then my best friend and room-mate thought that it'd be a lark to go to the Providence Place mall on Christmas Eve. I didn't really have any gifts left to buy, so the pressure was off and I could just ogle the chaos without anything at stake. On the way out we were stuck in the parking structure for 30 hours. We were in a borrowed Volvo that had no in car stereo and so had a boom box in the back seat. We blasted Christmas music and sang ourselves horse and just had the best time.
Today I was off for some final gift purchases and left enough time to be patient and courteous. But my patience might have been to a fault. At the craft shop, once I'd asked a shop assistant for something, she'd walked away mid-sentence, which seemed to begin with "I'll have a look in the -"
I waited 10 minutes before I finally plucked up the nerve to ask another assistant what my next step should be.
But nevertheless, I got done what I needed to do and had pleasant and friendly interaction with shoppers and shop workers alike and I'm so darned grateful for it. The odd child having a tanty will always evoke my mother's words about how unbearable children can be around the holidays at times. But there's nothing that makes one doubt the joy of the season like unfriendly interactions in the run up to the holidays.
Zürich has "Sonntags Verkauf" (Sunday shopping) through advent. It feels strange to me that the ban on shops being open on Sundays is all about employees getting to spend time with their families and one might argue that this time of year is all about spending time with family.
Nevertheless, I've already gotten to give some sweet kids some gifts and look forward to celebrating with some others tomorrow and hope that my family are having an equally easy time of it.