Well, there's no denying it. It has officially begun. I literally have three Christmas parties to attend in the next seven days. I swear. I mean, don't look now but we are now firmly in the midst of the holiday rush, my friends.
Simultaneous smile and sigh.
I truly, madly, deeply love this time of year except that it invariably brings out the nasty in so many. You know, those harried, mean-spirited and / or hurtful humans who knock the sheen right off the magic that is Christmastime.
Kindness Killer No. 1: Walgreen's photo center. Hmpf.
Well, this was more of a process pain than a people one. In an attempt to get a jump on the Christmas card extravaganza for this year, I hopped online several days ago to create and order my and my mom's annual holiday cards.
Two-and-a-half hours later, I finally had one of them completely uploaded. Grr. The second was comparatively quicker - a mere 45 more minutes of my life I'll never retrieve. Next came the series of email purchase confirmations which held no worth since the pick-up store of choice had absolutely zero notification of them. After nine phone exchanges (I'm actually not exaggerating for effect on that one) with sweet but ultimately unhelpful kids, Mom headed to the store to find that both of our cards were finally finished - yet they refused to allow her to take mine home.
"But, I listed her as the pick-up person " I stammered on phone call No. 10 not to mention everything had been "conveniently" purchased already online.
"Nope, it's not in the computer, sorry."
When I made the special trip to the store for the cards that had now claimed the equivalent of a full workday's worth of time, I was asked to pay for my cards once more (I'm convinced I'll have no less than four credit card transactions charged to me as a result). The best part of this long, troublesome, irritating, frustrating exercise? The pictures printed so dark that you'll need to be standing beneath the North Star to see them. Awesome.
Kindness Killer No. 2: The octogenarian who severed my right pinky toe at Giant Eagle last week. Sheesh!
OK, the little piggy that cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home is technically still attached but not without certain incurable shopping cart phobia heretofore. It all happened so quickly, unlike the painstakingly slow grocery shopping and self-checkout procedure which preceded it, but I digress.
As the snow piled up and the shoppers panicked that it was a sure sign of the apocalypse, a little old lady bashed my cart with hers as she rushed to beat me out the front doors. In her defense, I must have been in her blind spot - which is apparently anything directly in front of you. As I tended to the gushing pool of blood at my feet, she hissed, "Oh fine. Go then!"
I mustered all the strength I could as I started losing consciousness, whispering "Oh, by all means, ma'am, you go ahead."
"Fine!" she snapped again, knocking my pistachio Jell-O boxes to the floor as her poinsettia-filled cart bumped mine one last time for good measure.
Yikes, be careful you don't get run over by a reindeer with that attitude, Grandma
Then there is the person who shall remain nameless but who made a horrendously offensive comment about my "big, loud, Italian family" - a snarky statement which made its way back to me, BTW. Kindness Killer No. 3.
Ahem. In the interest of keeping the goodwill of the season, I will refrain from verbalizing my knee-jerk reaction but suffice it to say no one trashes my peeps without ample defense from yours truly.
So, in response to your needlessly rude remarks, this is what I have to say about my family: Yes, we are loud. We are boisterous and animated and colorful. We are also some of the most kind-hearted, loyal, funny, thoughtful, compassionate, feed-you-until-you-burst-with-delicious-homemade-food, God-fearing, patriotic and all-around wonderful folks you'd ever have the good fortune to know. And oh yes, we are Catholic and darned proud of it. Period.
So, to those missing out on the entire reason for the season; stop, think, love. Let's put the Christ back in Christmastime - and the cannoli.
Happy season kickoff, all!
Kimerer is a Tribune columnist and lover of the joy of Christmas. Contact her in the spirit of the season at firstname.lastname@example.org.