Turn down the Christmas music, please.

December 24, 2008

Penelope Trunk made a good point on her blog earlier this morning.  I commented, and my comment inspired me to elaborate on why Christmas at my “office” sucks.

I’ll tell you what I hate about Christmas at my “office” (read: restaurant). I hate that one of my coworkers says “Merry Christmas” to guests as they leave. I told her we should probably say “Happy Holidays” so we don’t offend anyone, and she said “well I didn’t get that memo, and I’m saying Merry Christmas”.


I hate that we’re tuned in to Sirius’ Christmas channel from the day after Thanksgiving on. I can only take so much of the carols. And the volume at which we project said music through the restaurant is at borderline obscene levels. Add to that my said coworker above loves to sing at the top of her lungs while making martinis for the regulars. It’s annoying.

More over, I hate the guilt that I feel, this year in particular, because I can’t afford to buy presents for people. Sorry, but I’d rather have a roof over my head and the electric paid. I’m a “starving” college student, I have maxed out all of my cards, I am living night to night on tips alone – I don’t have the money to get the stuff that you won’t buy for yourself.

Christmas at work would be better if we got bonuses.  Then I could pay my Verizon bill on time.  Christmas at work would be better if I didn’t work in a restaurant.  Who wants to eat at a steakhouse on Christmas?  Nobody – they’re all at home with their families, like I wish I could be as well.

Why do I hate Christmas at work?  Maybe it’s because I come from a very loose Christian background.  I was baptized Lutheran but I can count the number of times I’ve been to church on two hands – half of those times for funerals or weddings.

My dad’s parents were Jewish – but we don’t practice.  We eat Matzo crackers and Matzo ball soup around Passover but that’s about the extent of our Jewish life.  We practice when it’s convenient – say, when, we’re hungry for Matzo ball soup.  That’s about as into it as we’ve ever gotten.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind working Christmas if I thought we’d bring in more money than it takes to keep the lights on in that place.  When I was at Disney, I worked 12-15 hour days before and after Christmas – because those are the highest attendance days of the year.  I got OT and Holiday pay – which brought me up from $7.53 an hour to like $10.  Whoa.

My sister, for example, is still at Disney.  She’s a PhotoPass coordinator for the resorts on property and will be in charge of six resorts tomorrow with no direct management to report to.

Our Christmas has never been traditional.  We always did our own thing once we realized that getting together with everyone on my Dad’s side of the family sucked.  Seriously, like 50 people packed into a clubhouse at somebody’s golf course or Aunt Paddy’s complex, cold food, old people – it wasn’t our scene.  After my sophomore year of high school, we started taking vacations instead of putting up a tree.

My idea of what Christmas is differs drastically from those around me.  My friends always have to pick their jaws up off the ground when I tell them my family doesn’t do presents.

Well, until this year.  Now, because my sister is at Disney every day around Christmas, we’re doing presents again.  We can’t get organized enough to do a vacation because of our schedules, so we’re doing our Christmas on Sunday, and going back to exchanging gifts.  Read above paragraph for my thoughts on gifts.

What is the holiday season like for you and your family?  Do you have a “traditional” holiday (whatever that means in your world) or has your family created their own traditions?



  1. We have a sort of traditional Christmas. There will be presents for my husband (but this year, most of his gifts were things he needed or wanted for work). There will be presents for my grandparents (because they are old and presents break up nursing home living for them). And my husband has bought presents for me (but he’s also the type to come home and surprise me with something he thinks I would like because it is a Wednesday).

    But overall, we’re low key. I spend the weeks prior to Christmas making paper German stars and baking cookies. We celebrate Advent. And when we have kids, it won’t be too much different from what we do now.

    We’re still working on creating our own traditions but for now, the simple things are what we value about the season – not more credit card debt in January.

  2. I am not in a position to give gifts except kisses, and those are always welcome and appreciated. 🙂

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