The part of Christmas no one wants to talk about

I always scroll Facebook and look at the memes/posts people share trying to be funny/relatable/both. I saw one that said something along the lines of: “I can spend $200 on someone I love, but when it comes to myself, I can’t even buy a $20 shirt.” It made me stop in my (scrolling) tracks. Was that supposed to be relatable?

I am the complete opposite. I can drop $200 on myself like it’s nothing, then wonder why I have no money. But when it comes to buying something for someone, I spend a lot of the time pondering the item and wondering if I can find something cheaper.

When it comes to gifts for Christmas, I fully expect to do a gift exchange with my immediate family. It’s implied for both parties, we are together Christmas morning, it’s been tradition for me since birth, I am fully aware that I need to set aside money to buy gifts from my mom and sister, and so on and so forth. Then, my family, including cousins, does a secret Santa gift exchange. I buy one $30 gift for one person. Perfect. And I’m perfectly fine with only receiving gifts from these three sources. But then I remember I have friends.

Now, this isn’t meant to offend any of my friends. I love them dearly, most of the time. But sometimes I feel so blindsided.

“When can we hang out so I can give you your gift?” I remember one of my friends asking me a few years ago. Gift? I didn’t…are we…okay, so we’re doing this. I believe she sent me that December 23. So now I’m in panic mode, wondering what the hell she got me, how much I’m supposed to spend, and when and where I can scramble to get her a gift. It’s a lot of pressure. I need specific details laid out. Price limit (the lower, the better), what to buy, maybe even a hint at what I will be receiving. Honestly, it may be easier on everyone (me) if you just don’t get me anything.

Now, I’m no Scrooge, but let’s not do this. We will both be much happier if we just spend that money buying ourselves something. Maybe we’ll even prevent the end of a friendship.

I love Christmas as much as the next guy. Maybe even more. (Or less. I guess it depends who the next guy is.) If you want to do something nice for me this time of year, just drive me to see Christmas lights and take me to In-n-Out.

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