A welcome relief from the holidays

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I am rather happy that the holidays are coming to an end.

Not that I didn’t enjoy seeing my family, or spending time laying in bed all day watching Star Trek and Sucker Punch, but the holidays are stressful for a number of reasons. While it’s nice to decompress, the method by which most people expect you to decompress is in itself stressful.

As nice as visiting with my family is, spending four hours in a car with them isn’t always the nicest way to spend Christmas Day. When you spend most of your days driving back and forth from the university and running between classes, the last thing that you want to do is more moving. Add to that your mother asking every few minutes who you’re texting and if you have a girlfriend, and the nice holiday from work rapidly becomes more stressful than the work itself.

On top of that, even once you part ways with your family, there are numerous holiday events that you are expected to attend. As fun as they are, packing several parties into a month-long holiday season is trying at times. Travelling all over for various parties is time-consuming and tiring, and soon the few days you had hoped to spend reading are gone, replaced with very late nights and sleeping in until two in the afternoon.

Worst of all, between some awkward family times and the parties, there is shopping to be done. It’s almost an expected part of the Christmas season, from Black Friday – where, as a YouTube video revealed last month, a writhing mass of people will fight over $2 waffle irons – to Boxing Week, when stores slash their prices in an effort to move all their inventory that wasn’t good enough to sell at full price, consuming is a serious aspect of the holidays.

In pursuit of gifts for others and, later, gifts to ourselves, nearly everyone ventures out to the mall, where any semblance of human kindness is ground down in the rampage to find the best deals. Venturing into a mall any time during Boxing Week is a dangerous gambit if you don’t like being run over by people so engrossed in shopping that they cannot see where they are going.

On top of actually being inside the mall, trying to navigate the chaos that is a downtown street or sidewalk on your way to the mall during this time is an exercise in frustration, as there is so much traffic that getting anywhere takes much longer than it should. In a city like Regina, where you basically have to take your car everywhere, the problem is much worse.

Not surprisingly, the stress of driving around all day, when combined with the inclement weather that occurred this year, cause people to be exceptionally irritable. I am thinking especially of the man on Ring Road who stuck his entire arm out the window to flip everyone off as he careened onto the off-ramp for Dewdney Ave. It was wonderful to know that two days after Christmas, supposedly a day of great kindness and compassion, someone could be so angry that putting their entire arm out the window to say, “Fuck you” to his fellow motorists was the acceptable thing to do.

So I am glad the holidays are over. I’ll be able to go to the mall without being trampled, drive without the added stress of increased traffic, and fall into a comfortable routine in which parties are a recreational activity rather than a duty, and visit my family without the expectation that we should be going out and doing something together. I’m ready to decompress by starting classes.

Edward Dodd
Op-Ed Editor

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