Life After The Uniform

I Wish You a Polite Christmas!

Am I alone in wondering where the kindness of the Christmas season has gone? All around, I see examples of people behaving very badly: people blatantly stealing parking spaces at the mall (this one happened to me) or treating salespeople terribly at shops (this one did not). And don’t even get me started on the children!

Perhaps these people behave badly all year long. It all just seems a bit more ghastly this time of year! Now, I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a “manners purist”. My family would more likely use the term “uptight” … but hey, someone has to keep the world civilized! It’s not just about following some outdated set of rules, it’s about treating others with kindness and respect … like you would like to be treated (to quote Christ himself). So, whether you like it or not (and I’m sure my children do not), I’m going to share my top 10 thoughts about Christmas behaviour.

  1. You won’t die if you have to walk from the outer edges of the parking lot to the mall. In fact, it might do you some good … get those endorphins going … burn a few extra Christmas cookie calories … etc.
  2. Churches that are normally vacant on any given Sunday, are often bursting at the seams on Christmas Eve. If you are going to attend a religious service, and you don’t normally do this … please, please, please teach your children how to behave. Climbing all over the pews is not OK. Spilling Cheerios everywhere is not OK. Ripping pages out of the hymnal … not OK.
  3. If you receive an invitation for anything after 7:00 pm, please don’t call and ask if you can bring the children. Cocktail parties are no place for kids, but kind hosts may not have the courage to tell you that. Trust me, they are not welcome. Get a babysitter or politely decline.
  4. How about we just all agree to put our cell phones on vibrate now … and leave them that way forever!
  5. If you mistreat or are unkind in any way to the lovely lady at the Salvation Army kettle in the mall, there is something seriously wrong with you and you need therapy.
  6. If you are so stressed out that you no longer have even a grain of patience, please stay home and shop online.
  7. The work Christmas party is meant to allow colleagues and their spouses to get to know each other better. It’s not meant for you to get really drunk and then make an ass of yourself. Save that morsel of delightfulness for your friends. They may forgive you.
  8. Stop expecting miracles … if you and certain family members don’t get along throughout the year, you won’t have some kind of Hallmark moment at the family Christmas gathering. If you can’t cope with the tension, make other plans. Family blow-outs are horrible for everyone involved, and especially devastating for the children who witness them.
  9. I keep hearing people use the term “I can’t be bothered”. If that’s the case, then really … don’t bother. Because you’ll do a half-baked job of whatever it is (gift-buying, card-writing, decorating, cooking) and just make other people feel bad. There’s really nothing quite so demoralizing than receiving a gift when there was clearly no effort or thought put into it.
  10. Or we could just collectively get over ourselves, realize that most people are doing the best they can, and those that aren’t … well, let’s not waste too much time on them. Choose to NOT be difficult, over-competitive or easily offended. How about we just go easy on one another this year?

When I write Christmas cards each year, I reuse the label document from the previous year. I just go through, make the necessary address changes, add a few new friends (hopefully) and print them off. As I was doing that this year, I was sad to delete the names of 3 different people who had passed away. Only 1 of those people would have known that it would be their last Christmas. What if this is your last Christmas? Would it change how you treat people?

Show More

Laura Keller

Laura Keller has enjoyed writing for as long as she can remember. Eventually, she became the wife of a Combat Engineer and mom of three. After her husband's retirement, the Keller Krew settled in southwestern Ontario, where they readjusted to life after the uniform. The Keller family faced another readjustment when Laura’s husband passed away suddenly the summer of 2016. Laura had been contributing to CMF Magazine since its inception back in 2010.
Canadian Military Family Magazine