America used to work, hard, up until the very day a holiday arrived. Think of the original Miracle on 34th Street if you don’t believe me — the competency hearing for jolly Kris Kringle goes into the afternoon on Christmas Eve before the Post Office rides to the rescue. The same was true when I started working; the day after Thanksgiving, for example, was a normal work day.
Now, we tend to ease into the holidays. You might call it “holiday creep.” The days before and after have gradually become part of the festive celebration. It’s like we’ve adopted the concept of The Twelve Days of Christmas, except there are no partridges in pear trees at the office. It must drive the productivity experts nuts.
As Christmas grows ever closer, there is less traffic on the roads to and from work. We know that many of our fellow commuters have already left on holiday, and their absence makes our own journey less teeth-grinding. At work itself, the dress code is relaxed, and the pace is more laid back. People are wearing their holiday sweaters and pins and ties and socks. Everyone lingers a bit longer around the coffee station and snack room, asking their co-workers of their holiday plans and sharing their own. We are all thinking of the wonderful family time to come and letting the holiday work its magic on our spirits.
So, at work today, have a cup of coffee and a Christmas cookie and ask that person down the hall how they are doing. It’s not quite Christmas, according to the calendar, but it’s Christmas just the same.