Two things I learned on Christmas vacation:
- I will always take off the week of Christmas for vacation and
- Acknowledging people and thanking them makes a difference
I actually learned the first one last year when I took the week of Christmas off. Taking that week off slowed things way down. I'm not one to shop last minute or get caught up in the Black Friday or day after sales. Being away from work just put the whole holiday in perspective and this year just confirmed it.
I work part-time in retail and there are people who want to make me as miserable as they are. As Christmas approaches, they seem to be on a mission. An example:
Me: May I help you?
Customer: Yes, I have a list of names of people who need to be fired!
Me: Um ... beyond my authority *walks away*
And another genius:
Customer: I would buy all that firewood you have outside, but I'm not bringing it in here for you to scan!
Me: Sir, we have a bar code at every register for the firewood.
(Very. Long. Pause.) Customer: Oh.
Me (to myself): Really? All that firewood? At least 50 bundles?
The second thing I learned, acknowledging people and thanking them makes a difference, unfolded over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
For the Christmas Eve 5 PM Mass, my husband, our friend and I invited another friend to join us to play his trumpet. We used to play together several years ago at another parish before the Pastor "fired" us. Yep, fired the volunteers. It was a long road for all of us to get over that.
After the Mass, our Pastor welcomed and thanked our trumpet player. Our friend's expression was priceless and it left a lasting impression on me. What I did after that was to acknowledge and thank those people in my life for all that they do. It didn't take much for me to hug someone and say thank you, but I could see in their expressions that it meant something.
One of the main acknowledgements, was my husband. My husband plays his keyboards every day and we usually go over what we're going to sing at Mass several times a week. Hearing him play is something I've just gotten accustomed to and I take for granted.
On Christmas day, he was asked to play some carols for the family. As everyone gathered together and began to sing, I felt like I was hearing him for the first time. It was somewhat surreal. His God-given talent, that he nurtures on a daily basis, was gifted to all of us.
Later, I told him about it. He was surprised, but I could see in his expression that he was happy that I acknowledged him.
I'm not one for resolutions, but I think I can do this. I'm going to thank people when they do something and acknowledge their efforts. It takes so little effort, but the results are extraordinary!
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