Gratitude is on everyone’s mind this week as we head towards Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. Despite concerns about inflation, recession, employee shortages and supply chain issues, we have much to be thankful for in 2022. I realized this recently when someone reminded me that only two years ago our shop was open just 20 hours a week to 5 customers at a time for the whole month of December.

We know that some of our retail peers did not survive the pandemic, and that even more of our locally owned restaurants didn’t make it. So as you unlock the door each morning, please pause for a moment to be thankful that your store is still in business, and that you have employees on hand to serve your shoppers. You might wish you had more staff members, or more inventory, but your shop is still here to be a meaningful part of your customers’ holidays.

I’ve written in this blog before about ways to express gratitude to your employees, and about the importance of saying thank you to your customers. Letting your sales reps and vendors know you appreciate them is also a good idea, because they make a real difference in your ability to constantly delight shoppers with exciting merchandise.

But today I want to talk about ways you can acknowledge your own role in your business’s success, especially during the busy holiday season. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of the next few weeks, and to end up exhausted when it’s time to celebrate Christmas or Hanukah with your own family. But as the store’s manager or owner, you are the captain of the ship, and you deserve to show yourself some appreciation.

Here are a few suggestions:

•Try to follow the Danish concept of hygge a couple of evenings a week. Light some candles, have a warm beverage or glass of wine, and read a book – or invite a few friends over for a board game or to work on a jigsaw puzzle. 

•Make yourself an advent calendar with a little gift or slip of paper promising an indulgence for each of the days leading up to Christmas Eve. To add a little element of surprise, don’t number them – just choose one at random when you get home from work each day.

•Pick up treats for your staff at a local bakery, and allow yourself to pick a special favorite for yourself.

•Stop checking the store email and social media platforms at least an hour before bedtime.

•Order out for dinner at least a couple of times a week this season. The restaurants need the business, and in most communities they deliver.

•Ask your family what holiday traditions are most important to them, and be sure to schedule time to be included.  (Much to our surprise, we learned that working at our shop on Christmas Eve day was one of our daughter’s favorite memories.)

•Take a break during the work day for lunch, or go out to admire what other shops have in their windows. If you know your business neighbors, pop in with a bar of chocolate or other pick me up. Chances are good that they’re tired too!

•Keep positive emails and notes from customers in a place where you can reread them over your morning coffee.

•After you close, write a line or two in a gratitude journal about all that went well that day. Your measure of success should be more than just the amount sold.

May this season bring you joy in addition to success!

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder