Christmas Shopping Anxiety

vintage Christmas Card 1940s 003

The past few days have been a frenetic steeplechase of Christmas shopping for me.

Some people are good at shopping and actually enjoy it.  I am not one of those people.  I am a terrible shopper, and consequently, whenever I have to shop, it fills me with anxiety and dread.

Part of my problem is that I tend to overthink each purchase.

Normal person:  Oh, Amy will love this sweater!  And blue is her color.  I’ll get it for her.

Me:  I know Amy likes blue … but what if she doesn’t like this particular shade of blue?  And will she like this weave?  Its kind of a tight weave.  Maybe she likes a looser weave.  What if she has skin allergies?  Maybe instead of this acrylic/wool blend, I should get her a cashmere sweater.  But will she think I am being pretentious?  Maybe she will be uncomfortable if I get her an expensive sweater.  So I’ll just get her this wool blend sweater.  But I don’t want her to think i’m a cheapskate.  Hmmm … the tag in this one is really big and might irritate her neck.  I guess I could cut it out before I give it to her.  But then she wouldn’t be able to return it if she didn’t like it.  Should I get her the medium?  Or the large?  If I get her the large, she might be insulted that I think she wears a large instead of a medium.  But if I get her the medium she might be upset that I didn’t know what size she wears.  But I guess I could just get the large and if she is upset I can explain that I figured she’d want to wear something thick under it … like a sweater she likes better than this one.  I don’t know about these sleeves, though.  She doesn’t like them tight around her wrists.

[Internal monologue continues on and on and on until store closes.]

That conversation in my head can literally go on for 30 minutes.   To an outside observer, it looks as if I locked up and blue-screened while looking at sweaters, and that I am in need of a complete system reboot.

Now multiply that by the quantity of items I need to pick up for all the various people in my life and you can see why I always consider taking a good stiff belt of whiskey before I go shopping.  Except that I don’t drink.  And I am driving.   So alcohol-enhanced-shopping (AES) is out.

In addition to shopping anxiety, throw in Christmas crowds, traffic jams, blaring music, time constraints, chaos, and mayhem and you have the perfect recipe for me wanting to slip away somewhere to hide and to wait for the crisis to pass.

To combat these feelings, I consider treating myself to a leisurely coffee at the Starbucks inside the Barnes & Noble bookstore.  And maybe I will splurge on a nice magazine to read while drinking it.

However, even in this I stress myself out over the decision over whether I should or shouldn’t.  I always feel guilty when I do something that is solely for my own enjoyment.

I am not normally a devil-may-care person, and so when a coffee and a magazine seems to me to be living a life of excess and debauchery, maybe I should reevaluate my views on life.




    • Thank you, Nick! (Hmmm … I wonder if you’re possibly THE Nick?) I did indeed get all of my shopping done and, as usual, I bought too much. But no one complained, so I guess it’s all good. I hope you had a merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. For me, it’s not so much the shopping but the parking. The mall parking lots are a shit-show, even though it’s not so bad once you’re inside. I keep trying to convince my family to just choose one name each, but there’s a mercenary sis-in-law who insists on us ALL buying for each other, yet never knows what SHE wants!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have exactly the same problem. Luckily, despite the many forces conspiring to make me think the opposite, I found out that there is no legal requirement to shop. No one arrests, charges and sends you to prison for ‘not shopping’. So that was the answer for me. Couple that with a general distaste for modern Christmas, nobody buys me anything any more because I stopped buying for them, none of us is stressed about anything at all and my little world of loved ones is a happier place. Easy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Bryntin! I, too, would like to return to a simpler, less commercial Christmas, but, alas, I fear we shall never get that genie back in the bottle.

      On the plus side, last night, quite by happenstance, I watched “Lucy Worsley’s 12 Days of Tudor Christmas” and I must say that our modern Christmas no longer seems that bad to me. 😀

      I hope you had a very merry (and sedate) Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you are in need of a personal shopper. Most people have a personal shopper to shop for them. But you need one to shop for others. Give your PS the proper input…something like Amy likes blue and let him/her run wild with it. If your giftee doesn’t like the gift, blame it on your PS. Would that make you look like you didn’t care enough to do it yourself? Probably, but then you can start to recite the internal struggle you had in just picking one gift and they will forgive you. Or they will ask for a gift card next year. Win/Win! P.S.
    Don’t forget to tip your PS handsomely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Be brave, big Bro 🙂 It’s almost over… and the stressing will be well compensated by the hugs, kisses and the warm thank yous when your presents will get unwrapped! I am sure about that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sis! As you predicted, I did indeed survive the pre-Christmas ordeal and ended up having a lovely Christmas. Everyone seemed to like what I got them (either that, or they have some serious poker face skills).

      I hope you had an absolutely wonderful Christmas! And, as your brother, it fell to me to make sure you got plenty of hideously-colored socks, scratchy hankies, and god-awful cheap perfume for Christmas! ha ha!


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