“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” “The season of giving.” Both of these phrases are often associated with the American holiday season, which runs from the day after Thanksgiving until the new year. Black Friday, an annual shopping holiday, jumps starts the holiday season. It is amazing to see how energetic people are to run out to stores in the early morning hours to get a head start on their Christmas shopping and the sales.In all actuality, the holiday season is a wonderful time of year. The whole world is ignited with that rich “holiday spirit,” generosity and civility that come naturally. It’s the one time of year where “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Rudolph” take over the radio. The streets and neighborhood houses glimmer with red, green, and white lights. The smell of sweet pine, sugar cookies and egg nog linger from warm houses. It is also interesting to observe the sudden difference in people’s attitudes and demeanors. Which leads me to my question, why do people have a more cheerful, giving spirit for one month out of the whole year?
During the holidays you will see more people smiling, stopping to say “thank you” or more willing to donate to charitable causes. Shouldn’t we practice serving others, giving to charity and being polite year around? Why are “yes please,” and “have a nice day” all remarks that seem to be out the window on a regular day with the hustle and the bustle? Civility is a virtue that must be practiced everyday and year round. Civility is often defined as a polite act or expression of kindness. Courtesy and being polite are two things that can easily get pushed to the wayside when an everyday life crisis hits you. For students this could range from failing a test, breaking up with a boyfriend, fighting with a friend, or just the stress of college, all of which are things that can affect your mood and mannerisms.
At times it is easy to forget how much a simple smile, a wave hello to a stranger, or how far a “thank you” or compliment can go. You never know what someone is going through and how much a simple act of kindness could turn around their whole day or personal demeanor. I work at a grocery store and I have experienced days at work where I just wanted to go home and crawl in my bed. I was tired and cranky from the day’s events and did not want to be bothered with anyone. However I remember situations where my whole day has changed around because of that one customer who simply smiles when they speak, respects me and talks to me. I immediately ease up, relax, and even laugh! The time at the job goes so much faster when I am dealing with pleasant people.
Good customer service, which often includes acts of civility in its definition, becomes something that we practice only during work. It often becomes a sort of uniform, something we know we must wear to work, because it is mandatory.
The holiday season is a time to be grateful and to give and we should cherish the meaning of the season. We should also remember to maintain this attitude in our everyday lives 24 hours 7 days a week. Remember to take the time to look around and count your blessings: you woke up today, you’re healthy, you’re beautiful and you’re bettering yourself by going to college— you are here! You have a reason to show love and civility to others. So next time you are walking down the street smile at a stranger, say “thank you” to the person who is behind the counter serving you and embrace year round a positive spirit.
Danae Irvis is a student at West Chester University. She can be reached at DI652427@wcupa.edu.