I suppose there’s a term for holiday burnout. Perhaps that’s the term right there. When you get to the point that you really, really want it to be all over with. A little peace and quiet, and no one wishing you Merry Christmas, or expecting you to be happy all the blessed time because of the holiday.
Certainly (I think at least) it’s worse for those of us in retail. When you have to be ‘on’ all the time, smiling and helpful to people who may be having a bad day and they (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not) take it out on you, because they can’t get something that they’ve been wanting, planning for etc. So, sometimes you have to bear the brunt of their ire, shrug it off and plaster a smile on your puss for the next person. After a couple of months of that (think Thanksgiving and Christmas) one can get a little frazzled.
Then of course there’s the music. Stores play over their sound systems music that people over the years have termed ‘Elevator Music’, it’s Muzak, but more increasingly it’s not just instrumentals, but what might be called ‘contemporary music’, ie it’s somewhat current, but it’s subdued, to keep the din of the shopping experience somewhat muted. So you don’t have a silent store, but there’s something to mask the sounds of what goes on in a typical store, from chattering of the patrons, to other sounds that are normally heard in any brick and mortar retail establishment. Of course, when you work in such a place, since the music is fairly predictable, eventually you know what song is coming next because you’ve heard it tens of thousands of times. The music companies aren’t really all that unpredictable with their playlists, only every now and again do they change things up, and with some of them, they have contracts with companies that individual stores can ‘choose’ what playlists they can have piped into the stores, but the contracts generally are for several years in length. So what you get is what you get all the time. Try listening to the same playlist for a couple of years straight, 8 hours at a clip. Try it, I dare you.
The day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas music begins in earnest. At least in my store. One solid month of Christmas music. Old ballads, newer versions, but of course after you’ve heard ‘Santa Baby’ by fourteen different artists in different arrangements, you start to go a little nutty. Frosty the Snowman, or Jingle Bells are nice songs, but when you hear them played 3 or 4 times in the same hour, you start to wonder if you’re going to make it through the season. I have to admit, after 30 plus years in retail, I wonder sometimes if I’m going to manage the rest of my time in the same type of job when the wonder and merriment of the season is being sucked out of me.
Sadly, it’s become more and more apparent that I’ll be glad when Christmas is over. January can’t come soon enough!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings. Thanks for reading.