why the holidays don’t stress me out when everything else does

As much as I tend to be fairly high-stress in my everyday life, I can honestly say that my one saving grace is that I don’t get stressed – well, any more so than usual – at the holiday season. Never have.

Part of the reason, I’m sure, is being an only child. The holidays were pretty simple in my house: Gifts for Amy? Done. Dinner? Cooked by mom. Done. Holiday over. I’ve really never had “Christmas shopping” to do. I’ve never had a list. I’ve never gotten all stressed over what I needed to buy, or felt financial strain, or any of those other horrible things others complain about during this joyous(?) season. Even as I’ve gotten older and integrated into the workplace where you’re inevitably faced with “Secret Santas” I didn’t worry too much. I mean – one $10 gift in addition to – well, the gift I might or might not be buying for my parents? (I’m pretty hit or miss with that. If I see something good or have a couple of extra bucks, they get a gift. If not – nothin’. They really don’t care).

My friends and I – well, the various groups of friends I’ve spent Christmas with throughout the years have tended not to do gift exchanges, or if they do, it’s the easy, one-gift-obligation “draw a name” kind. Again – easy. A nice gift card to Starbucks or iTunes will do the trick. I’m never going to be the girl who handmakes the perfect, unique gift and packages it with something equally thoughtful and store-bought, all beautifully wrapped in a color-coordinated gift bag. Hell, I generally don’t even believe in cards, unless said card is a necessary receptacle for gift cards or money.

*** my inner voices are insisting on breaking in here: “Amy, you may be insulting all those nice people who just sent you Christmas cards.” “No, I totally don’t mean those. I love those. They’re different.” “Well, maybe you’d better explain that before someone gets insulted.” “Oh – OK then.” Now do you see why I’m constantly stressed? This is the shit that’s going on in my head 24/7. Anyway … ***

As for the boyfriends/significant others – I’ve avoided that for the most part by very rarely being in a relationship during the holidays. This year, since Barry and I are almost married and stuff, I’ve just told him – look, I suck at this. Tell me what you want and I’ll get it (OK, this is because, also, I’ve flat-out refused to get him an XBox, which is the one major thing he wants. But he tends to get a bit — errr — focused, when playing video games. I’m afraid of what will happen to him if he gets an XBox).

But that aside – why create extra stress for myself trying to figure out what to get him, potentially getting him something he doesn’t like, having to deal with all that emotional trauma of him pretending he likes it, me knowing he doesn’t, him having to admit it, only to end up taking it back and getting him what he wants. Let’s just go get that in the first place!

So, that is why I don’t get stressed during the holidays – oh, plus the fact that I don’t have kids. That’s a minor detail that probably helps a bit.
And if you wonder how I ended up like this, well, witness the phone conversation I had with my mom last night.
Mom: We’re not exchanging presents, are we?
Me: Well, we got you something.
Mom: Oh. Well ….. you’re OK with just getting money, right?

Yep. I come by it honestly.

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