It is December and the Christmas songs are in full force. One of the most popular song sings “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” In so many ways it is the most wonderful time of the year. It is a time to create memories, a time to be with family, a time to celebrate new and old traditions and a time to see some bright and colorful decorations in the middle of a dreary winter.
Although the song sparks joy and happiness in many people, it is not the most wonderful time of the year for many people. A local radio station loves to have an anonymous voicemail for individuals who work in retail to call and vent frustrations about the consumers they encounter. While it is all well and good to vent in an appropriate manner to appropriate individuals, it is also good to offer grace to those who are being ugly especially when their life circumstances are unknown.
Do you have a customer that is outraged about an innocent mistake in a bill? You may not know that she recently lost her husband and is overwhelmed by her grief and the change in her financial circumstances.
Are you missing holiday events to work a mandatory shift just to be greeted by disgruntled patients? Stop and consider that an illness and medical treatment over the holidays is likely the last thing the patient wishes for. The patient may be overwhelmed by considering who is caring for their children, inconveniencing family members during the holidays and feeling the burden of anticipated medical bills.
Have an elderly neighbor who is grumpy about your or other neighbor’s holiday displays? Stop and consider that the holidays could be a reminder of his estranged relationship with his own children and looming loneliness.
Have a waiter or waitress who has not met your expectations for service? Stop and remember that there are more factors to consider than just his or her service. The restaurant could be short staffed, the kitchen could be behind throwing off her routine and he or she could have been up all night with a sick child but unable to miss work because her or she needs the income.
As you wish everyone a “Merry Christmas” during this “most wonderful time of the year” stop and remember that it is also a time of year where many experience grief, sadness and overwhelming burdens. Wrap up some grace with the rest of your gifts and extend kindness to others even when it is not returned, and offer friendliness to those who may be lonely even if it is not received well.
Writer Bio: Summer Bolte
I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.