Are People Meaner at Christmastime?

Do you think people are nicer than usual, or nastier than usual during the holidays?

Weigh in and let me know what you think, but I sort of suspect it’s a little of both.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve seen some real moments of impromptu kindness: like the guy who Air-Jordan’d the sales receipt which the wind had sent flying out of my hand at Fry’s today, chasing it to ground as I was weighed down by packages. Then there was the guy in front of me at the drive-through who jumped out of his car in order to dash across the way and help a stranger he’d just spotted attempting to push his out-of-commission truck up a hill to safety into the parking lot. There have also been some great moments with people I know, or know only vaguely, who really seem to be doing their best to be nice to everyone they meet during Christmastime.

At the same time, I’m agog at some of the random bile that I’ve seen being spewed—particularly at support and customer service folks. (Hint: If you need to send a message asking for someone’s help… on a weekend… on something you admit you did to yourself: it’s a Really Good Idea not to begin the message by tossing F-bombs.)

It’s almost as if the nice people try to make that extra effort to spread good cheer at Christmas, and the nasty people use “holiday stress” as cover for launching attacks at anyone who ticks them off (which is pretty much everyone).

What do you think? Does Christmas bring out the best in folks? Or is it just an excuse to throw elbows without penalty?

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