It’s Kinda Like the Grinch…

Oh the Holidays!! As we celebrate the last day of Hanukah and prepare for the arrival of Jolly Old St. Nick and the start of Kwanza, it’s easy to get bogged down and mired by the dealings of the holidays. The shopping, the preparing, the work functions, community collections, the (insert your religious organization) gathering, the wrapping, the white elephants, the bows, the ribbon, the food planning, the change of planning, the cards, the out-of-town guests, the unexpected guests, the overly friendly neighbors or being the overly friendly neighbors…the list could go on forever. But we can often find in the midst of all of this that we ourselves are burnt out before the joy of the holidays even really sets in.

We can become the Grinch of our own story, looking around at all the Whos out in Whoville and internally rolling our eyes in exhaustion. I get it, I’ve been there. I found myself there recently as the calendar ticks away the days marching closer and closer to the last week of the month. Then the other day I met my own Cindy-Lou Who in the form of a manager at the biggest culprit of holiday joy stealing…the Mall. She was older and had been clearing misplaced items from shelves when we crossed paths watching two mom’s bicker over who was in line first and she said, mostly to herself but loud enough for me to hear, I love this time of year…it brings out a little nutty in all of us. Yes, you read that right…her love of this time of year came from the knowledge that we are all our craziest selves during what should be the happiest of times. I was intrigued as I am by most interesting strangers I come across and asked her why. To which she said, Why Not. She continued that there are so many things going wrong in the world, big things that she could do nothing about. That made her worry and scared for her grandkids. Things that were loud and unsettling and that she hoped she would never see again in her lifetime. But this, this was something she could step into and speak into. And she did. She walked over and politely asked the women what was going on and how she could help them. She even took one over to the customer service counter and proceeded to cash them out, speaking directly to them in a lower voice I couldn’t hear and then wish the mom a Happy Holiday. She smiled at me as she came back around the counter and said, sometimes we all need to be reminded it’s got nothing to do with the stuff. It’s just stuff, that will probably be forgotten by next year. We put so much pressure on ourselves for this and that, but it’s just stuff. Just stuff. I smiled at her and looked at the guy behind me as he proceeded to order gifts on Amazon while in line buying gifts at the mall and answering a text from his girlfriend and looking like the ghost of Christmas past. I mumbled to myself… it’s just stuff.

And not just the gifts, all of it. The preparing, the work functions, community collections, the (insert your religious organization) gathering, the wrapping, the white elephants, the bows, the ribbon, the food planning, the change of planning, the cards, the out of town guests, the unexpected guests. We shouldn’t let it get us so bahumbugged that we become the Grinch (yes I know I mixed storylines there). Don’t get bogged down and burnt out over The Stuff this year. This holiday season take a page from Dr. Seuss’ book “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more”

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Shopping at Chair Level

By Doug Ankerman

The holiday season means it is time to hunker down into my wheelchair and face the Christmas hustle and bustle at seated-eye level.

Yes, Christmas shopping is all the merrier from the seated position. (Now I know why Santa is always sitting down!)

So with my list in-hand, let’s roll to the mall and purchase our “gifts of joy”……because nothing says “you are special to me” MORE than a shiatsu massaging cushion from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Come on in

My first hurdle is just getting into the dang store!

This entrance at Sears is clearly marked “handicap accessible,” yet, there is no button to open the door. Forget the wheelchair, I quickly realize my “handicap” is trying to get into the place!

Usually, another courteous shopper will be nearby to help hold the door for you…..but this is Sears. I’ve seen ghost towns with more foot traffic!

Seasonal spirit

I’ve noticed store clerks and other shoppers are extremely helpful when you are in a wheelchair. They go out of their way to assist you. I figure, they feel bad because this guy has wheels for feet. That’s why I am always “over-the-top” positive when in my chair as I try to dispel the “woe is me” wheelchair image.

The squeeze is on

Shopping in a wheelchair can be tough battling crowds and parking — but the real challenge is in the aisles.

The squeeze is on as you try to fit between the displays for house slippers, glittery turtlenecks and NutriBullets.

Here’s an aisle that would be a tight fit for an anorexic fashion model — let alone a wheelchair!

Going through there gave me greater appreciation of  birth.

Caution: Stay Back

Finally, from a seated position, you tend to get an in-your-face view of everyone’s backside.

Gluteus I-Maximus.  I’ve seen butt cracks that make the San Andreas’ fault seem like a fine line.

Hip Huggers scream “uncle” in mercy.  I saw a jeans tag I gotta believe was triple digits!   If denim was an animal — the species would be extinct!

And from my box seat, it is not only “seeing is believing”…no, you see, I get to enjoy the “sounds and smells” of the season as well, if you will.  Let me put it this way, no one claims to eat the holiday fruitcake, but someone is — and I am caught in the cloudy, odoriferous haze that follows.

Through crowds, long lines, charge cards and gift receipts…wheelchairs or not, we muddle through to finish our holiday shopping with moments to spare.  Just enough time to catch our breath before we gather with family & friends — AND gear-up for our December 26th visit to the stores to return our house slippers, glittery turtlenecks and NutriBullet, right?  May you have a tremendous Christmas holiday!

*Doug writes about MS and other nonsense with a humorous twist at myoddsock.com.

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