Here’s the thing with me and the holidays. I adore my family and the holidays. But I tend to get a little frazzled. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy getting together with family and friends, decorating the tree, shopping for cute gift wrapping, going to cookie exchange parties and even putting jingle bells on my puppy. I love snowball fights with my kids and racing inside for hot cocoa with mounds of whipped cream. (Just like the hot chocolate Mr. Flanders makes for Bart in the Simpson’s Movie. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s a must-see scene.)  I have the best of intentions when it comes to thinking about Christmas shopping. I start a list in my head and get all excited. I write down ideas. I daydream about everyone opening their gifts with huge smiles on their faces. Like something out of a PB catalog, but there are real people in my family room, not just models hanging stockings with first names like Collins and Walker stitched on. It’s not that I hate shopping. Give me a couple hours in a downtown department store with girlfriends and I can literally shop until I drop. OK, so a few hours will go by and I’m shaking because I need some food (and maybe chocolate Santas and Green tea). We’ll stop, eat and shop again. But the real problem renders its ugly head the moment I start second guessing myself with my choices.

Do these inner holiday-shopping thoughts sound familiar?

“Do I want to buy this for ME or her?”

“She’ll never find out that I got one for myself too. Or will she? Oh crap.”

“Didn’t I buy this last year?’

“Is this too much? or not enough?”

“Will he REALLY like this, or will he give me THAT look when he opens it?”

“Come on, you can DO this. Don’t buy a gift card. Don’t buy a gift card.”

“Maybe he would appreciate a gift card?”

Enough already! Why can’t we host a White Elephant gift exchange like I do with my girlfriends where we literally pick items from around the house (or re-gift lame gifts) and swap them over wine and cheese? We giggle the night away. I received booty enhancer pads one year (no idea who gave them to my friend first) and almost died laughing.  I honestly enjoy it. I would carry on this tradition in our home, but it obviously wouldn’t work when the kids are waiting for Santa to come to town with real gifts. We do Secret Santa gift exchanges on both sides of our family, but there are still people that I give gifts to every year, no matter what. And they are the ones that are the hardest to buy for! I just want them to know I care – even if what I found at the mall (on a full bladder) is so going in the back of their closet this time next year.

I’ll calm down. After a few hot chocolates, I’ll pull myself together and focus. I can always do most of my holiday shopping online. Thankfully, I do realize it’s the thought that counts. Even if I accidentally throw a couple items in my size in the online shopping cart, it IS the thought that counts. 😉