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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas (04/25/05)

TITLE: I Hate Christmas! [a true story]
By Delores Baber


“I hate Christmas!” These were genuine feelings that had developed over the 7 years I had worked at as a cashier at a well-known chain discount store.

I had always loved Christmas all my life, until. . . .now. What could have brought such a change that would have taken my favorite time of year and turned it into something I dreaded?

Every year for the last 7 years the feelings had grown. It wasn’t fun anymore. It was no longer a happy time. Why?

Being in this discount store I had seen all the Christmas merchandise being put out for weeks until Thanksgiving rolled around. That’s when things changed.

The customers came in droves, pushing and shoving, trying to get those limited sale items before anyone else could get them. Those that didn’t make it in time became angry. Accusations were hurled, “Why did you advertise this item if you knew you only had a few?” The child beside this angry person was crying, wiping their runny noses on their sleeves.

By the time the customers reached the checkouts [where I was waiting to help them] they were tired and irritable [and so were their parents]. Crying was frequently heard from the children and angry tones and complaints from the parents. Out of boredom and curiosity the kids would start pulling merchandise off the checkout shelves, while Mothers yelled, “Put that back, do you hear me! Leave that alone! Don’t touch anything! Now you’ve done it, your going to get it when I get you home!” More crying. More yelling. No one in the lines were smiling. They were exhausted and frustrated.

They came with a mission, to obtain that unobtainable toy of the year for their child. How could they explain its absence on Christmas morning? After all, the child had sent their letter to Santa and it was his job to fulfill their every wish. But the parent knew that it was their job to see that “Santa” fulfilled their children’s every wish.

Something was wrong. Something was missing. The customers weren’t smiling and happy. Shopping for gifts for their loved ones was not a joy, not a labor of love. It was simply labor. And from the looks on their faces it was more like labor pains. For many it would mean going deeper in debt.

I looked at all the store’s decorations. Santa was everywhere. So was Rudolph and snowmen, snowflakes and Christmas balls, paper and ribbon. Something was definitely missing.

This had been a particularly taxing day and when I clocked out at 9PM I went straight home and collapsed on the side of my bed. That’s when I said it. “I hate Christmas! I don’t even see why we have to go through this every year.”

The moment the words came out of my mouth I felt a sharp pain. Something was under me and it had just jabbed a sharp point into me. I jumped up, afraid to see what had just attacked me. There lying on the bed, right where I had sat was a pin. The kind women wear on their lapels. It lay there upside-down with the pin sticking up. I hadn’t seen anything on the bed when I entered the room. Nothing had stuck me when I plopped myself down. Only when I uttered those words had I felt this pain. I slowly picked up the pin and turned it over. The words on the pin were

“Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

Now I knew what had been missing. How could I have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? “Forgive me, Lord. And thank for making sure I got the point.”

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This article has been read 1082 times
Member Comments
Member Date
vicki mccollum05/02/05
Great ending! You got your point across in a "very pointed way!" (Pardon the pun.)
Pekola Roberts05/02/05
This is an excellent read. The flow and transitions are great. The descriptions with details are on target. The ending is excellent. It is chilling to think that Jesus Loves Us So Much that He would take a pin to make that point so very clear. Thank you for sharing. P.K.
Angela Ranson05/03/05
This article really shows life as it is. I liked how well you showed the realities of a retail Christmas
Jess Godwin05/03/05
I enjoyed your article. It reminded me of my own stint as a gift basket maker one Christmas in a gift shop. I could not believe people were so nasty!

Great job!
Kathy Warren05/03/05
Good transition. Story flows well, but I wish it could have been just a bit longer to deal with her feelings once she had gotten the "point".
Leticia Caroccio05/03/05
Christmas will forever be my favorite time of the year. I, too, get discouraged when I see that the reason for the season is displaced.

Your article clearly showed your disdain with all the hoopla and goings-on. I cringed as I remember what I hate about the commercialization of my favorite time of the year. Good job.
donna robinson05/03/05
I can understand the feelings here very well. But I loved the ending, the way Jesus (who else could it have been) laid the pin where it would make the most impression!
Anna Blake05/04/05
I am also a cashier. I work at a grocery store. Some years they have told me that Christmas Eve is sometimes more busy than the day before Thanksgiving! I know how you feel. Jesus is the reason...I constantly have to remind myself too of that.
Suzanne R05/05/05
I'm glad in your title you included the phrase 'a true story'. What an amazing story! If it were fiction, I'd have said, "Ah, too cutesy", but knowing it is true, wow, what a testimony of God's input! I LOVE your description of the checkout lines too! Well done!
Betty Shattuck05/05/05
Great true story! It flowed with such great descriptions that I felt I was watching a movie. The end was wonderful!
Lynda Lee Schab 05/06/05
Isn't it sad that the joy seems to have gone out of Christmas? I have noticed the same things you did and it breaks my heart! With some tightening up, this would be wonderful magazine / devotional material for the holidays. Great job!
Blessings, Lynda
Sue Edwards05/06/05
I loved it. Very easy to read and the ending made me laugh in spite of the season dismay.
Deborah Porter 05/09/05
Delores, Congratulations on your highly commended award. I have to tell you that the ratings for all the semi-finalists this week were very, very close - most were just a breath away from one another. So well done! With love, Deb
Cheryl Thompson05/09/05
How true! Oftentimes, I find myself thinking the same thing...hating the lines, the crowds, and the length of time it takes to purchase... the hype of the shopping season sometimes makes us forget that Jesus Christ is the only reason we celebrate the season. Nice job, thank you for sharing your story!
Deborah Porter 11/16/05
Hi Delores. I'm just preparing the December/Christmas Issue of FaithWriters' Magazine, and would really love to include this in the 'Tis the Season section. It's perfect! You rated very well in this particular Challenge (10th overall) and I would love to see this piece get another airing. Could you send me a private message to let me know if that would be okay? I will also need a two to three sentence bio note (in the third person) to go with it. Look forward to hearing from you. Love, Deb (Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine)