Twas, the night before Christmas…

Twas, the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Every creature was restless, even the mouse.
The stockings were flung by the chimney without care,
Everyone knew that St Nicholas soon would be there.

Stocking

The holiday season inevitably keeps us all busy
Running for gifts and guests leaves us all in a tizzy
It was later than usual when we headed upstairs
It would be a relief to rid ourselves of cares

The children were settled all snug in their beds,
While visions of tablets danced in their heads.
mamma, with her iPhone downloaded one last app,
And we plugged in our phones for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the street there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
I turned on my phone screen slightly uncertain,
Using the light, I peeked out the curtain.

Candy Pepp

The LED on the crust on new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a micro sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a second it must be St Nick.
More rapid than wi-fi his steeds they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

I raised the phone to my nose, I had to be quick
I would gain millions of followers with this one pic,
I realized the street lamp and my flash clashed
And my Instagram dreams were instantly dashed

Snow

He brought out his phone to check the time
Then turned the whole sled, as though on a dime
They flew from the ground with no sound at all
Trying to follow, I dashed into the hall

And then, with a shoosh, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
I hurried to the living room feeling a pull like the tide
How would he get in? There was no chimney outside.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his toes,
There was a slight red colour to the end of his nose
He had a bundle of gifts flung over his back,
And he looked like a delivery-man with his pack.

Tree

His eyes through the round spectacles twinkled
When he smiled the corners of those eyes crinkled
The beard on his chin white as the purest snow
I knew in a second I was in for a show

Times are changing, but no special effect here
Magic is something amazing and nothing to fear
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

He straightened our shambled life as he went
Even the branches of the fake tree became unbent
The unwrapped gifts we had left for another day
Were wrapped, ribbons curled without fray

Gift

And laying his finger on the side of his nose,
He gave a nod, and taking his bundle, he rose.
To the kitchen he walked no hurry at all,
Then simply seemed to melt into the wall!

From the adjacent townhouse I heard
Quiet rustlings, like those of a small bird
I suddenly realized he had done the whole row
Would he fly away? I just had to know!

I flew back upstairs and opened the skylight
With my flashlight app I got the sleigh in sight
I could scarcely believe what lay in my beam
These reindeer are more fantastical then they seem.

Deer

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Actually Getting to the Shopping

Holy cow has it been a long weekend! It was so busy it really didn’t feel like all that much of a break! Luckily there are only two days of work this week! Friday night, I ended up going Christmas shopping with Paul and Saturday, I continued Christmas shopping with Marianne. Paul’s parents came on Sunday and we went for lunch and then started figuring out thank you cards for that side of the family.

Presents 2014

Friday was interesting to say the least because that is when I did a majority of the Christmas shopping I had to do. I had a list and everything. I had to get things done on Friday because I was seeing Marianne the very next day and I had to have her gift ready. It did require some assembly so I ran around and grabbed the things I needed. By the time I got back home, I had just enough energy to throw things into a bag and put some tissue paper on top. I also shamelessly stole that tissue paper from a gift Paul received from someone at work earlier that same day. Shameless! It was pretty paper though.

Mall Shark

The lack of people at the mall around 9AM was shocking!

This is kind of a difficult post to write since I have only given out one of the gifts I’ve bought. I can’t really say anything specific because people could be reading… or watching….
Saturday I really didn’t get a whole lot. I was looking for one item in particular. It was a specialty item that is uncommon in most places. It is found in kitchen stores, but only a basic model. We were looking for something… fancy. It is for one of Paul’s friends.
I managed to find it at Square One with Marianne. I figured we would. There is all kinds of stuff to be found near Toronto. I feel slightly better about all the stuff I need to do now. Just finish off the thank you cards and get them all sent out!

An utterly crazy amount of suckers

An utterly crazy amount of suckers

Sunday with Paul’s parents we had to look at all the cards from the Asian side of the family and translate the names to Vietnamese. The proper form of address when sending something from us to them. It is all very confusing to me, but I would suppose English is equally as confusing to those who are not native speakers.

Cat Drawing at Jackasstors

Marianne and I doodling on the table cloth at Jackasstor’s

Christmas is coming up and I have all the knitting that I needed to have done complete! I love that feeling. No more stress knitting, just whatever I want to work on. Not that I have been working on anything lately, too busy. I’ll catch you next time with a last post for 2014! I am going to be spending time with my parents and that means no internet access… pray for me.

Not so Functional Friday

My posts have been everywhere this week, what with Christmas coming up and all, it was bound to happen at some point. I really haven’t gotten a good amount of time to play with the ChiaoGoo interchangeables yet, so I am going to hold onto that review. Between now and the new year, I am not going to be posting the regular segments, but just writing about holiday madness in general. I like the holidays and love it when the authors of blogs take the time to be festive!

Paul and Ethan Christmas

I am going to admit it right now… I haven’t started Christmas shopping. It’s a terrible horrible thing, I know. I am planning on braving the malls on this Saturday with Marianne. She is down visiting her parents and was brave enough to meet me… at the mall… five days before Christmas. Brave soul indeed.

Puppy with a Hat

I am not usually so unorganized, I’ve usually got something planned for what I am going to get everyone, I’ve got it wrapped etc. Not this year. This year I am using avoidance tactics and just not thinking about it. My plan is to wander aimlessly in the mall and wait till something jumps out at me. Fair warning to all my friends and family, just hope you don’t get something that literally jumped out at me. Muahahhaa.
I am starting to feel the need to make a list, but only check it once. This year has been a very long year, and I almost feel like I am not capable of feeling stress anymore. My body just doesn’t process it, I end up staring at the wall with a glazed look on my face and have vague thoughts about how agreeable jello is.

Caught Red Pawed

To really show how bad it is, Paul and I didn’t put up a tree this year or get advent calendars! Put the Christmas decorations up for Thanksvember, so I would put that one in the win column! We also have Christmas lights up on the house blinking away madly.
I really wanted to send out Christmas cards this year, but we are just getting our Thank –you cards out from the wedding. I am really close to being done my side. Paul’s mom wants to write her side in Vietnamese and send photos, so I am getting help with that side of the family. The only ones I have left to write are for the wedding party. I want to take my time writing those so I can appreciate them properly. After writing so many Thank-you cards, I don’t know if I could handle Christmas cards anyway. For this year, we can say the Thank you cards are the Christmas cards, I am writing Merry Christmas in most of them anyway.
This past weekend, my parents were down and my mom brought me a few more cards. Two of them were from some family friends in the UK, since they couldn’t fly out for the wedding, I am going to send them some photos.
I hope every one is having good holidays so far and haven’t really started freaking out yet… Christmas is in 6 days!

Tis the Season to Abandon Reason 2014

Just after I graduated from University I had a hard time finding a job, in order to pay my bills (mostly student loans) I started working in retail. For the most part, working at the mall was not too bad. I loved meeting people, talking with them and helping them solve their problems. Christmas is, of course, the busiest time of the year and I worked in the children section of a relatively large store in the mall. There were all kinds of people looking for a variety of things and I did my best to help them out. For the most part, people were grateful and courteous, BUT there were always those few who were already bent out of shape. Usually, by being calm and knowledgeable you can hammer out their shopping needs and get them on their way, but some are determined you are personally out to get them.

It was around this time I made the list of Christmas Time Retail Shopping Faux Pas. Things, as a customer, you should remember while shopping.

Photos by Sara and Piotr Jankowski

Photos by Sara and Piotr Jankowski

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #12
Final sale means you cannot return or exchange at all. This would be why it’s called a FINAL sale.

I can understand the need for a deal as much as anyone, especially with Christmas just around the corner, but I am a firm believer that you are taking your chances when you purchase something that is final sale. Especially if there is a huge red stamp on the bottom of the receipt that says final sale, and the table you got it from has final sale on it, and the tag says…. Final sale

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #11
If you speak in one word sentences, you cannot be mad when people do not understand you.

This happened to me multiple times. Someone would walk up arch an eyebrow and say “sizes?” or “sale?” or “shoes?” I am sure there are stores out there organized in a way where this technique would work, but not many. The sale one was easier since there is generally a sale section, but the others, I just needed more information. Chances are, the sales associate could help you find what you are looking for if you said “size four?” or “girls shoes?” That is just one more word, not too bad.

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #10
Do not interrupt a sales associate when they are helping another customer. Your problem is not more important…

Stores get pretty hectic the closer it is to Christmas, but manners still apply. I cannot count the number of times I have been helping someone and another person strides up and completely interrupts by demanding I find them something… and NOW. Yes a sales associate can deal with two people at once, but there is no reason to make other customers uncomfortable.

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #9
The week before Christmas, lines for the checkout are to be expected…

Lines, lines, lines everyone complains about them and hates standing in them. We are all human and doing the best we can. If you don’t want to stand in the line, Christmas shop in July, not December 24th.

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #8
It is generally considered bad form to ask a sales associate a question and then immediately ask a different person the same question.

When I worked retail I was there 6 days a week and I knew my stuff. I knew what sizes we had in the back and how they fit. Many MANY times, someone asked me a question and, after I answered, turned around and immediately asked someone else. *Sigh* at least do further away so I can’t hear you.

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #7
Traffic laws still apply in mall parking lots in the month of December.

This one is self explanatory… parking lots are zoos this time of year

XMAS4

Photos by Sara and Piotr Jankowski

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #6
You know it’s a sale when the mannequins in the window are naked.

If the store doesn’t have enough product to merchandize, the deals are on

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #5
Expressing displeasure about the return and exchange policy is best done to someone who could do something about it…

This was somewhat special to the store I worked in. They had a horrible exchange policy and I agreed with most customers. However, reaming me out about it, is not going to change anything. I usually agreed with them and directed them to the comments section of the website. I think a lot of people thought this was a trick because they all gave me funny looks…

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #4
Ignoring the sales person you just called to assist you, by conversing in another language with your shopping partner, is not helping them to help you.

This was a personal pet peeve of mine. A customer would call me over then converse with their partner in another language without asking me anything. If it were English, I could listen to what they were saying and come up with gift ideas or get them sizes. Since I don’t understand the language they were speaking I had to stand there with a polite expression on my face until they decided to let me in on the conversation.

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #3
When you walk up to the cash register this means you are DONE SHOPPING. This would not be the opportune time to ask for sizes or decide to buy something other than what you brought to the counter…

While working on the checkout line, a lot of people would wander away while I was scanning their items. Which meant when I was done, I would need to get their attention and call them back over to pay for their items making the wait for others even longer.

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #2
The big size, at the bottom of my neatly folded pile, looks the same as the small size… except bigger.

This kind of goes without saying, but society in general would be shocked at the amount of people who just rip the biggest size from the bottom of the pile. Of course, this completely unfolds the rest of the pile. I also realize sales associates are paid to re-fold the clothes, but just because a janitor is paid to clean, doesn’t mean I make a mess on purpose so they have to earn their pay.

Christmas Shopping Etiquette Tip #1
Being mean to store employees does not make them want to serve you better

I always found it funny when customers shouted and threatened to NEVER return to the store. I was paid minimum wage and that is not enough to deal with your drama, I hoped they didn’t come back. I could understand this with a cell phone company or another entity, but with a clothing store…
However, this one kind of works both ways. I have had an encounter or two where the sales associate I dealt with was abrupt and unpleasant. This puts a damper on my mood and causes me to be less cheerful with them. I usually make an effort to be a happy customer. If a store doesn’t have my size, or their return policy doesn’t suit me, it isn’t the employee’s fault; they just work there. They’re human, with families and problems of their own; just like everyone else. It is really easy to forget these facts when you’re in the moment. Enthusiasm is infectious and tis the season to spread joy and happiness.

Photos by Sara and Piotr Jankowski

Photos by Sara and Piotr Jankowski

As everyone is Christmas shopping this holiday season, remember that we are all human beings and imperfect in our own ways. If you like challenges, find a sales associate who is miserable and gives you poor service, and try to make them laugh. It will be more fulfilling than complaining to their manager or breaking them down further. Your generosity will also be paid forward to the next customer they deal with.

Happy Holidays

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, lots of creatures were stirring… even a mouse.

I am joking about the mouse; I haven’t seen any mice at all. I think my parent’s dog would love that. Seeing as this has been the height of her Christmas spirit.
The first hat I knit for my nephew turned out to be too small. When I woke up the next morning my mom had put it on a small stuffed dog. I am not completely sure where it came from, but it looks identical to the ravelry mascot. I tried to send a photo via personal message, but it wasn’t working out for me. So I am going to send a link to this post instead. Hello Ravelry peeps!
The stirring definitely includes my knitting needles though. I have finished the back of my grandfather’s sweater and started on the back of my grandmothers. The best part is doing the ribbing! It is soooo much easier compared to everything else. I cannot wait to be finished these sweaters. I forget what an easy sweater is like to knit. I am going to whip up something really quick afterwards. It may have to be something I’ve done before to make it extra extra easy.
Until Friday, I wish you the happiest of holidays!!!