Admitting I’m accidentally a grinch

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I’m very, very bad at Christmas.

I don’t do well with crowds, even when they’re people I’ve known my entire life. Everything looks different, all covered in lights and garlands and holly and…Christmas. And while the idea of holidays sounds really great, I would much rather stick to my usual routine. There’s no need to go mixing things up for one stressful week of festivity.

In fact, the only part of Christmas that I actually really enjoy is the gift-giving. Regrettably…I’m even bad at that.

The problem with Christmas gifts is that I can never find the right time to buy them. I’m a pretty regular gift-giver, really – when I find something that I think a person I care about would like, I buy it for them immediately. But instead of filing it away for a special occasion, like Christmas or even a birthday, I give it to them the very next time I see them.

There’s no early shopping for me. I’d never be able to handle waiting months before giving someone the perfect gift I picked out. Not only am I overly excited to enjoy their reaction when they receive it, but I’m pretty forgetful – if I buy something too far in advance, there’s a very good chance I won’t remember buying it when the occasion arises.

And so, I’m a last-minute shopper. By default, not by choice.

Because I know the malls will be packed and it will inevitably take me all day to pick up just a few items, I get panicky about it and just put it off. There are more important things to be done – it’s December, and I have deadlines. I can go to the mall tomorrow.

The problem with that is every year, I end up putting off my Christmas shopping until it’s too late. I’m writing this column just before Christmas, and as of now, I’ve purchased a total of one gift.

To be fair, I usually try to make things for my family. I don’t see them often enough to know what they have or don’t have, or even what they want – so instead, I create unique gifts that I know they will appreciate. But even that doesn’t usually get done until February. Or March. Or, last year, April.

Every year, I panic as the holiday approaches, and continue panicking long after it’s over as I try to make up for my failed Christmas-ing. This year, I’m just going to drink more wine and eat more cookies. I’ll deal with presents later.

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