My View, Mel Hewitt: Think before having a merry meltdown

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I’ve finally cracked – I’m going to talk about Christmas.

But not about gift ideas, the best way to fold a napkin for your festive table or which supermarket makes the best mince pies.

I‘m also not going to discuss the meaning of Christmas – it means something different for everyone.

Whether it’s how can I afford to pay for everything? Who do I spend Christmas Day with? Or the old chestnut, how can I show my appreciation for the reindeer socks and jumper without actually having to wear either of them?

For some of us it’s still Morecambe and Wise, for others Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.

Contemplation, reflection and a visit to church or chapel may also be at the heart of the yuletide celebrations for folk.

Hopefully though, no-one could argue with the fact that it’s the season of goodwill to all men and women.

The key is in the word ‘season’, which implies a longer period of time than just Christmas Day and Boxing Day. So this goodwill to everyone needs to be sustained and meaningful.

I have thoughts about where this bonhomie might start – as we are definitely on the runway ready for take off to Christmas – and that’s with courtesy to all of those people who will be helping us make Christmas special this year.

Just to be clear I mean those who work in retail.

Having been both poacher and gamekeeper, that is having worked in retail and, as most mums, an experienced shopper, I know there is room for more patience and kindness on the customer side of the counter.

Most people are well mannered and would be mortified if their behaviour caused offence. We are also all human and in the white heat of a Christmas ‘to-do’ list can forget how everyone is affected by a lack of perspective that can take us over the edge into merry Christmas meltdown.

The incident that set me off was listening to someone in a coffee shop sit down and complain for five minutes to her friend about how long it had taken to be served.

Apparently as they were making her chocolattefrappemochawhathaveyou – it’s only a matter of time before this is real – the baristas had engaged in conversation with each other and their customers. This was clearly too much for the annoyed one.

It was clear that the baristas were under pressure that day, understaffed and clearly trying valiantly to engage in their usual banter with customers.

There are some days when we are all just trying to make it through, so in the run up to Christmas let’s take a moment to think, breathe deeply and smile, whilst appreciating the many people who help to make our Christmas, sometimes at the expense of their own.