Christmas time has arrived, and for most people, that is a good thing. I’m not like most people, though. Christmas bothers me, bothers me a great deal actually.
It’s not for reasons you might think, however.
I love Christmas. It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our lord and savior. It is a time of togetherness with family and friends. It is a time of eggnog, wine, rum, Anheuser-Busch products and more. It is a time when all your worries should melt away so you can just enjoy the moment of this special time of year, but that is where I get hung up.
My worries don’t melt away. In fact, they get ratcheted up a notch.
It all starts in June when Christmas decorations start appearing in stores and holiday music starts wafting through the speakers of every musical device you stumble across. That’s when the worry starts to creep in.
Thoughts begin to race through my mind about what I will get people for Christmas, and those thoughts quickly turn into anxiety.
By the time December has rolled around, my anxiety has turned into a paralyzing neurosis that prevents me from even attempting to shop because I am so unsure of what to get for all the people on my list.
I see all this random garbage on the stores shelves every time I walk down the aisles, and everything simultaneously looks like the perfect and worst gifts ever.
Usually by this point, I’ve started hitting the eggnog.
It drives me crazy not knowing what to get the people that are the most important in my life. It makes me feel like a horrible person because I think I should know what people would want and like to receive as a present.
How good of a friend am I if I don’t know what to buy for my best friend?
Of course, family is worse. I’ve know those people all my life, yet I am continually tempted to buy holiday-themed socks and underwear. No one wants a pair of skivvies with “Ho! Ho! Ho!” embroidered on the crotch. It’s weird and creepy.
Due to all of this worrying about what to purchase, I put off actually making a decision until the last-possible second. I’m one of those morons that go shopping on Christmas Eve. Is it the smartest thing to do? No, but procrastination rarely is, and besides, there is a little bit of an adrenaline rush in the mad dash to get presents bought, wrapped and under the tree before Christmas morning.
There is one huge problem with this last minute shopping. What if you forget someone?
It happens to me every year, and it is a sick feeling. Sure, I could make a list of everyone I need to purchase something for, but I’m too nerved up about actually making purchases to even think about getting organized.
It’s a vicious cycle that is powered by neurotic, obsessive compulsive tendencies that stem from striving to always come through for people.
This cycle is sponsored by eggnog.
I know what you buy someone isn’t supposed to be as important as the thought behind it, but it sure would be nice to give someone exactly what they wanted. I want to be that guy that gets people the perfect gifts.
That may sound silly to some, but it sure would be nice to be thought of that way.
See, I like to make people happy. I’m a bit of a people pleaser. I used to be really bad about it, so much that I would get used as a doormat. I’ve learned to guard myself against it better, but I still love helping others in need and doing my best to make their day a little brighter.
For me, knowing you’ve done right by another human being rivals any other positive feeling in the world.
A simple thank you or a look of gratitude on someone’s face is better than shiny-wrapped gift, which actually might be part of my problem with Christmas gift shopping.
I never know what I want. People ask me and I tell them nothing, which I honestly mean. I’m happy with my life, except for the seemingly insurmountable debt I have incurred thanks to college and vehicle loans.
Maybe it’s karma. I don’t help people when they ask me for what I want, so I help when I’m shopping for them. Of course, I usually don’t have the courage to ask what they want because I want to maintain the illusion that I know what to get them.
The cycle continues. I finish another carton of eggnog.
The only way I have found to even remotely combat my on-going battle with holiday shopping is to simply by many, many items and just dole them out to the people who I feel fit the given gift the best.
I’ve had moderate success with this in the past, but this year I’m struggling again.
I know what I’m getting my brother, and I’m fairly confident he’ll like it. My parents are a mystery. I’ve purchased my gifts for my best friend, but I don’t have confidence in my choices, even though he said anything would be great. (He doesn’t quite get the depth of my nuttiness over this whole gift-selection process that haunts my mind.) And my other friends are a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
I have no idea what to buy, and Christmas is upon us. Why must I have such a hang-up over buying Christmas gifts? It is ridiculous, and I should probably see a therapist.
If anyone out there is going through this same battle, just know I feel your pain completely.
And if you want to join me on the frenzied Christmas Eve shopping assault, I will be at Wal-Mart. It has everything under one roof, the stickers peel off relatively easily so you can hide the fact you bought the gift at Wal-Mart, and the place is open 24-hours a day, even if only one of the 30 check-out lanes is ever up and running.
I’m sure you’ll recognize me when you see me.
I will be the guy that looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks carrying around a half-finished jug of eggnog. I’ll probably be mumbling something about Santa’s face being on the backside of a pair of boxer shorts.
Just come up and say hello. Don’t do it too suddenly, though. It’s hard to tell what a crazy person will do when caught off guard.
Stay sane, and have a Merry Christmas!