This Christmas season is, well, somewhat of a stressful time. It's true for most everyone, but as anyone who works in the industry can probably attest, that stress seems to double when you work in retail. Our regular Monday and Thursday newsletters swell in size, phones ring off the hook as our amazing customers try to find gifts for themselves or their loved ones, and our shipping department is a frenzy as fresh pipes and tobaccos fly off shelves as fast as we can put them up. It's an exciting time, don't get me wrong, but combined with the pressures of trying to find gifts for our own families, arranging transport for trips home, not to forget the stress that only a room crammed with relatives can bring, the tension becomes palpable — and that's before December even bothers rolling around.
So, and despite my earlier protests, it's a welcome relief when a work mandated (or at least provided) excuse to unwind in the company of some fellow travelers comes around.
Pipes were stuffed with tobaccos dug out of cellars specially for the occasion. Dave made not one, not two, but three batches of home brew, and Pete once again provided the entertainment by way of a cut down, acoustic version of his blues band.
Maybe more than a chance to unwind though, our Christmas party serves as a reminder of why we put ourselves through the ringer every holiday season. As we celebrate the season with our friends, our colleagues, our loved ones, our families, we remember that this is exactly why we do what we do. Because out there you're doing the same thing, and if we can make the season even a little brighter for you, it'll have been worth it.