Holiday Stress

The irony of the location and timing of this post could not be better. I would say “Relax it’s almost Christmas,” simply to then post about holiday stress.

Despite the relaxed, simple joys that the other day brought, today I simply hit a breaking point and could not wait for the Christmas season to come to an abrupt end any quicker.

With everyone’s gift just about bought and wrapped, my choice suddenly felt like they were coming under ridicule. Every perfect gift that I had thought hard about suddenly was not good enough. Every first gift idea I had for someone was apparently the on one I should have followed.

This Christmas season hit my wallet hard, possibly harder than before. Or possibly no different than any other year; it may have just been the months leading up to this holiday season; well they took the toll on my wallet.

Aug. 01 I left my serving job, which as stressful as it might have been brought in a decent amount of cash on the weekends, for a job I knew nothing about. I spent about a month working a job were for 50 hours a week I barely made $200, yes that is about $4 an hour. A series of events then left me jobless for the month of September. Sometime either prior to the shitty job or right after I purchased a bridesmaids dress for a wedding that I was in at the end of September. And by the end of September, I had gotten a new job, but not started yet, spent money I didn’t have on clothes for the new job and purchased three wedding gifts for the same wedding – the wedding alone ran me over $500.

As my new job started, I got my finances in order and did the best I could to catch up. Soon another bridesmaids dress was on my tab, Margaret’s birthday had arrived, my Dad’s birthday had come and gone and my nephew’s Caden’s birthday was finally here.

Before I knew it the turkey had been eaten and it was time to begin the holiday shopping.

Holiday shopping usually poses two stresses, one typically greater than the other. Money is always tight, always has been and hopefully one day won’t be – but it was something I could always figure a way around for the holiday season. With that usual stress that everyone faces with getting the perfect gift, ordering to early could meaning getting the wrong thing with no funds to turn back, waiting to late could mean shipments arriving after Christmas. I am sure there is no winning.

Being a planer my Christmas shopping, with the exception of two picture frames, a bag of Skittles and a bottle of red wine — I was done about a week ago and everything was wrapped by this past weekend. I was feeling great about everything, or at least as good as I could. I looked at my pile of gifts, no big boxes, nothing I was really excited to give; suddenly I was disappointed in everything I had picked.

My gifts for Margaret were cool, but would not be exciting when she opened them Christmas day and that is kind of how I suddenly felt about all the gifts, except one.

To top it off the stress of where the holidays would be spent was apparently not settled. As I asked my boyfriend when we would be exchanging gifts with his family he mentioned wanting to get them more, so he had something to give them on Christmas day. He noted the lackluster feeling to my gifts “we” had picked out and how dull they would appear to the great ones his family was destine to give him.

This year, I won’t get to see his family’s reaction to the gifts, because to save some money, he will give them to his family without me on Christmas day. I won’t get to see his brother open the gifts that everyone else seems to think are dumb but I think are perfect. I won’t get to see his Mom’s face when she opens her gift or hear what his Dad has to say about what we got for him.

This year, when my gifts seem lack luster next to everyone else, I will remind everyone that it is the thought that counts and let them know that Christmas shopping money this year was slim, money in general was slim. That this year, I gave a lot throughout the year to different people, like great wedding and birthday gifts, and well, that just means that my Christmas gifts end up being what they are.

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