By Matt Davis

The season of giving is almost upon us. Once the turkey coma subsides, millions of shoppers will descend upon downtowns and retail centers to do their holiday shopping. During this time when parking demand is at its peak, it’s easy to lose sight of what makes the holidays special. Instead of holiday cheer, we often spread raised tempers and negative attitudes–all over the pursuit of a parking space.

We can always take steps to minimize the pain and increase safety during these chaotic parking times, such as staying off our phones, driving slowly and vigilantly, and even choosing destinations that use parking guidance systems or allow reservation of a parking spot with a smartphone app. However it’s inevitable that at some point during the holiday shopping frenzy, we’ll find ourselves in a parking scenario that tests our patience.

Imagine if instead of making an aggressive dive for that elusive space, we instead gestured for another person to take it instead? Sure, this small kindness might create some inconvenience for you, but think about the difference you might have made for the person taking the space. Instead of entering the mall frustrated and angry, they’ll get out of their car having just received an unexpected gift from a stranger. Maybe that person will even pay that kindness forward to someone else.

As parking professionals, we know better than anyone how much parking can color a person’s experience at a destination. This holiday season, take the opportunity to help make that experience a positive one.

Matt Davis is associate principal with Watry Design, Inc.