I figure if you Google “How To Survive the Holidays” you’ll find a bunch of articles that tell you how to handle your in-laws, and how to buy gifts, and how to make gifts, and how you need to try to get the right amount of drunk to make it through ’till December 26.
I’m lucky that the boyfriend’s family is super accepting and awesome, and they are also pro-wine, so I really don’t have any Christmas tips for people who hate the family gatherings. I actually really enjoy the boyfriend’s family and feel totally at home at his parent’s house. (I’m not just saying this on the off chance one of them reads this post. For the record, my family is pretty amazing, too.)
So, en lieu of the standard 5 Ways to Survive the Holidays, here are 5 Things that Happen Every Christmas.
1. Last-Minute Shopping
I know this doesn’t make me any different than anyone else, but I always have that one gift that I haven’t gotten, and oh shit, it’s two days to Christmas, and oh shit, what am I going to do!? I tried to start early this year. I really did. On November 28th, I broke my own personal rule about 1-click shopping and bought a gift on Groupon and then on December 8th I bought a gift on LivingSocial.
Neither are here yet. It’s December 22.
As I can’t even order anything from Amazon and have it arrive on time now, I must venture out and brave the crowds and find another gift for these people and I don’t know what to buy them or where to go to buy it and I hate last-minute shopping. Maybe I can craftily make something.
2. Eating All the Things
I try really, really, really hard not to eat all the things. But whenever Christmas time rolls around, it’s like I completely forget that it’s not acceptable to eat an entire bag of Candy Cane Hershey Kisses in one sitting.
Somehow, when it’s not Christmas time, I know it’s not okay to consume that many chocolate-filled calories. But once it hits December 1st, it’s like all my logical and rational thinking falls out of my head and I feel no guilt for the large pile of shiny red and silver wrappers accumulating around me.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day come and I’m grabbing handfuls of cookies and fudge and cake and I’m like these calories don’t even count because it’s Christmas!
Needless to say, although I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, come December 26 I am like… please let my pants still fit and I am running as hard as I can in the gym and wishing the Doctor would show up and take me back in time and let me slap those cookies out of my hands.
3. Feeling Awkward
I feel awkward and uncomfortable most of the time, anyway, because I have social anxiety and because I’m a weird type of person who blurts things out and then thinks about how stupid I just sounded for the next, oh, 10 years.
Good example of this: The boss had a client come in town to take him to lunch last week. I was sitting at my desk, doing my work, and the client invited me to go to lunch with them. First, I panicked, because OMG social interaction and then second, I panicked some more, because I didn’t know if I was supposed to go or not. I politely turned down the offer. I felt good about it.
Then, as the boss and the client were leaving, I was invited once again to join them. I graciously said no, again, and, then, for some reason, I said, “I’ll just let you boys go talk business.”
I don’t know why I said that. First of all, the two men probably didn’t feel great about me calling them ‘boys’, and, second of all, what a misogynistic comment to make. I am more than capable of ‘talking business’ with the ‘boys’. Why. Why do I talk.
Since everyday interactions make me feel uncomfortable, you can only imagine how uncomfortable I am opening gifts in front of other people. It’s not that I’m ungrateful, I’m not! I’m really not. But everyone is staring at you and watching you and you’re like.. have I been opening this for over 10 minutes? How long does it take to unwrap something? Who was this from again? Oh my god, what if I already have one of whatever this is and then I accidentally say something like, “Now I have two!” and look like a total idiot…
Most people, I think, don’t feel a tremendous amount of anxiety at the thought of opening a gift from someone, but I’m always worried that my panicked face will be misconstrued as rudeness. Luckily, by now, everyone is aware of my social inadequacies, but I still feel really awkward opening presents.
4. Feeling Super Nostalgic
Nostalgia is always bittersweet. It’s easy to get lost in the memories and get weighed down by the days gone by and then you start feeling really old and a little sad. I try not to let myself swim too deep in the past because then I am left trying to cover up those holes that nostalgia leaves behind.
But Christmas. Christmas brings up all the nostalgia. I tend to get lost in the thoughts of Santa, and growing up, and cookie parties and making ornaments and waking up super early and running to our tree with no pants on.
This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about my friend who is no longer with us, and some of the things we used to do. The brother, the friend and I spent many, many hours watching DuckTales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, and I have gone back and forth over whether or not I feel like I can see it again. I’m not entirely sure why this movie has surfaced in my mind as it’s not holiday related, but I can’t seem to shake the strange sense that I need to find a copy and make myself watch it.
Besides missing my friend, I also miss my grandfather the most around the holidays. Some of my very favorite holiday memories revolve around going to my grandparents house at Christmas because my grandfather loved Christmas and always had the best decorations and always let us play with them.
I have two nephews, and I recently told the sister that I plan on buying them hamsters for Christmas, because when we were little my grandfather (against my mom’s wishes) bought us all hamsters and a cage and a wheel and it was perfect. (The sister said no, but, eventually that’s going to happen.)
I know that people feel nostalgic around the holidays, so I know this doesn’t make me special or different. My advice (not that you asked) is to focus on the wonderful things happening now. It’s okay to think about the past, but, as Albus Dumbledore reminds us, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
5. Getting Tired of Christmas Music
No one will ever admit it. But it happens.
As soon as Thanksgiving is over, it’s Christmas music time and I love it! I’m jingling all the bells and dashing through all the snow and roasting all the chestnuts on all the open fires.
Mid-December rolls around and I’m like, how much of a Grinch does is make me to turn this music off. FOR REAL THOUGH.
The brother summed it up best when he recently stated that Christmas music is tough because it’s the same songs every single year. No one really releases a new Christmas song. Even The Washington Post agrees that new Christmas songs are hard to come by. There are new versions, sure, but the classics are the classics and that’s what comes on the radio and Spotify.
(For the record, right now, instead of listening to Christmas music while writing a Christmas post, I’m listening to Meghan Trainor.)
I’m always pumped for the boyfriend’s Christmas playlist, but when Christmas finally gets here I’m frankly tired of Rudolph’s problems.
Those are my 5 Things that Happen Every Christmas. Anyone else have anything that always, no matter what, happens to you around the holidays? I guess I’ll head to the stores now and go ahead and do my last minute shopping. Maybe I’ll stop and get a bag of candy on the way.