I don’t know how to celebrate christmas.

...that's not how you do it...
…that’s not how you do it…

Nightmares plague me every December; those anxiety-spurred nightmares of showing up to the first day of school naked; except in mine I show up to the gift exchange with no gift, and the bake-off with no-bake cookies!  As if having an event to attend nearly every night (lest I lose all my friends) isn’t stressful enough, I also must find some time to find the PERFECT gifts for my family.  I wish it was as simple as giving them something ‘local’; my Appalachian family could give two craps less about something made in Indy.  I’ve tried that, and they’re not impressed; not with our award-winning craft beers, our clever t-shirts, or our Super Bowl remnants.

The adults’ gifts, I don’t stress out about, not much.  It’s the kids!  My problem is, I have no idea how kids think these days.  I just can’t relate.  I know how I felt as a 9 year old, a 14 year old, and beyond – but how I felt was wrong!  I was insecure, bullied by mean girls at school, my energy every day was spent trying to transform myself into someone who would be accepted by the popular majority.  This meant tamping down my silly humor, hiding my penchant for cowboy boots and line dancing as best as possible, and calming my anxieties by eating as many chicken McNuggets as I could guilt my parents into giving me.  So, for me, giving my nieces and nephews those material trappings that I myself longed for at their age, is inherently connected with telling them they’re not good enough and if only they had [insert materialistic need here] then all will be ok.

If only I could gift them self-confidence and courage and pride.

I *want* to be that cool aunt that gives them the latest fashion accessory or tech-y gadget that no one needs but everyone wants.  But before I click ‘checkout’ in my shopping cart the website, I end up picturing their disappointment – the same disappointment I felt – when said material item never delivered the popular nirvana that it promised.  And I put everything back on the shelf and empty my shopping cart.

Yeah, that’s worse than buyers remorse.  That’s…shopper’s remorse?  How can someone regret buying something before they’ve even bought it?!  Leave it to me.

Needless to say, in previous years holiday preparations have left me worked-up and nerve-wracked, leaving me little energy to enjoy the actual celebration.  But this year, I’m not letting that happen.  I’m resigning the think less, and act more; remembering that it is the thought that counts.  And when possible, the gift of being with family is probably the best gift I can give them.  I mean, the gift of ME?  Hell yeah.

Want to celebrate the shit out of Christmas?  This is for you.

Need more reasons to stop celebrating Christmas?  Click here.