Thursday, November 17, 2011

'tis the season


there's no denying it. the holiday season is upon us. as soon as halloween wrapped up, the country seemed to shift gears instantly and holiday mayhem was upon us. i, myself, prefer a more organized, systematic approach to the holiday season...there's less shock to the system that way. still, the other day, i was thrown into the "fun" of the holiday season like a child taught how to swim by being dumped in the deep end of a pool.

i had to go to the large, upscale mall with two of my children. this adventure alone i wouldn't recommend. there are certain malls that are made for moms and dads...the kinds with playgrounds, mcdonald's in the food court, strollers for rent. this mall is decidedly the opposite. nordstroms sits next to louis vuitton, which is next to tiffany's, which eventually brings you back around to neiman marcus and so on. there is nothing about this place that invites children. still, i trudged on with my four and six year old and hoped for the best.

besides the frequent looks of contempt from shoppers passing us by, the trip was uneventful...until we got to our car. holiday parking is one of my least favorite things about the season. driving a large mom-mobile makes this prospect even less enjoyable. as i was working to get my kids snapped in their car seats around their large winter wear, a man in a pricey, two-seat car pulled up next to me and honked at me several times to get my attention. i thought my head was going to explode. as i pulled my pregnant self out of the third row seats to go and talk to the man, i'm pretty sure he had no idea what was coming.

one of my close girlfriends says that every now and then "hurricane nellie" starts a brewing and when it does, everyone should get out of it's path. somewhere between the comments, "in what world has honking at someone become socially acceptable" and "i'm pretty sure your mother didn't raise you to be rude and disrespectful to others," the well dressed, easily 250 pound man switched from asking if i was leaving or staying to, "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am." i'm sure a pregnant lady in her seventh month and wearing yoga pants had never been more scary. after a thorough apology, i eventually turned and walked off with some comment about him perhaps using his manners next time. he may have just thought i was completely crazy...which there may have been a good argument for. i think i saw him trying to stifle a grin at some point in the conversation but i'm pretty sure he'll think before he honks at someone in a parking lot again.

i was officially inaugurated into the holiday season. somewhere in this time of peace on earth and good will toward men, we've lost our ability to extend common courtesy. during this season, i have to explain to my kids why people cut in line, rip things out of one another's hands, steal parking spaces, argue extensively with sales representatives and generally throw all manners out of the window. just wait until black friday rolls around. if you ever questioned whether or not the book "lord of the flies" is realistic, observe black friday rituals.

maybe we should come back to the meaning behind the season. we've become so wrapped up in the shopping for the season that we have managed to miss the message of it entirely. maybe i overreacted to the man in the parking lot. maybe i just saw the writing on the Christmas wall. regardless, i'm going to try to take this season a little slower. i'm going to try to smile more and hold doors open more often...even if that means standing in line five minutes longer. i'm going to say, "merry Christmas," and mean it. most of all, i'm going to try to show my kids that this season isn't just about how much stuff we can buy, but about how much joy we can spread.