Keep staff, families in mind this Christmas | OPINION

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 

Yes, apparently it is already the end of 2017, with Christmas and the New Year just around the corner. I’m truly not sure how time has passed so fast – I could’ve sworn that last week I was preparing for that brutally cold south coast winter.

But thankfully, the warm weather seems to be returning – weather I always hope will emerge faster than Christmas decorations and gift ideas in the stores.

In this day and age, there is such a focus on giving gifts at Christmastime. The holiday has been commercialised to department stores’ delight.

At this time of year, workers selling those decorations and gifts, and nearly any staff member in retail or hospitality, are under a huge amount of stress. Trying to serve endless lines of customers who are in a rush to get that last bit of shopping done is enough to make anyone break out in a sweat.

If you are one of those people yet to complete their Christmas shopping, I implore you to please be patient with these staff members. They have most likely been on their feet all day, and they are giving up valuable time with family and friends during the holiday period to keep stores open, your fridge filled, and the bottom of your Christmas tree stacked with presents.

And speaking of gifts, there is one in particular which your loved ones want more than any presents available at the shops: your presence.

Holiday periods are notorious for having more car accidents than your average week due to extra vehicles and impatience on the roads.

I travel long distances regularly, and I understand the frustrations of drivers who come across inconveniences such as more traffic or slower drivers, for example. I’ll be the first to admit there’s been times where I have yelled at someone from inside the bubble of my car.

But as someone who has lost too many friends in road crashes over the last few years, I cannot stress the importance of drivers staying calm and taking these inconveniences in your stride.

Plan for extra travel time to allow for that hellish traffic and rest stops every two hours. Fatigue is one of the ‘fatal five’ causes of crashes, along with distraction and inattention, speeding, drink and drug driving, and failure to wear a seatbelt.

Police may hound motorists during this time of year to be safe – but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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