These are the 9 stages of panic everyone goes through before Christmas
Despite the fact that Christmas comes around at the same time every year, there are always some people who are grossly underprepared for it. You know the sorts I'm talking about: they do all their shopping on Christmas Eve, their tree (if they even have one) is barely decorated because they can't find all the baubles in the attic, and they always end up going to someone else on the 25th because they "don't have time" to cook a Turkey at their own place.
However, even those of us who are organized enough to have bought enough brussels sprouts and wrapped all the presents before the big day still experience a bit of Christmas panic at times. But how exactly does the fear manifest itself?
It's mid-November. High street stores have started Christmas songs. The festive commercials have started playing. Every other person you talk to begins a conversation by saying, "So, have you got any plans for the holidays?" But you refuse to take part in all that. You tell yourself it's too early to pay it any attention and carry on going about your daily life without giving a second thought to anyone's festive excitement or Amazon wish list.
It's late November now. You've heard All I Want For Christmas Is You at least nine times. You can't even walk down the street without being bombarded by tinsel-laden trees and bauble-covered billboards. It's not even December yet! What are these people thinking? Is Autumn just not a thing anymore!?
December has finally arrived, but you're still feeling a little grumpy about how disgustingly cheery everyone else is. However, this changes when you get a call from your mom. She says she's so excited to see you in a few weeks - and she's already got your gift sorted! You suddenly feel your stomach drop. You haven't even asked her what she wants yet. You cover up the guilt in your voice and say you're looking forward to seeing her too.
Ok, so you sort of have an idea of what you should get for your mom. Or do you? What if she doesn't like it? Or worse, what if all the shops have sold out of all the good stuff now? Oh man, what if she realizes you basically forgot about her?
SERIOUSLY, THOUGH, WHAT IF YOUR MOM IS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU ON CHRISTMAS DAY? That would be the worst. And you already blew half your last paycheck on stuff you didn't need because you totally forgot about the gift-giving bit of Christmas. You need to get your dad something, too. And your sister. And your secret Santa. How is there suddenly so much to do?
Once the panic subsides, you sort of resign yourself to the idea that Christmas might actually suck this year. It's cold outside. All I Want For Christmas Is You somehow sounds sort of sad after the twenty-ninth play. Everyone else has solid plans, and what do you have? A shopping list of half-thought-out presents and a sudden disdain for Mariah Carey.
But wait, there's still time. There's online shopping. There's that mall on the other side of town that you always hate going to, but know will have the sorts of things you need. Your mom has invited you over for the day. Your co-workers' cheeriness is actually quite reassuring. And Mariah Carey isn't that bad.
The festive season is upon us whether you like it or not, so you have to do what you can to enjoy it. You dig old your old Christmas sweater. You ask your friends for advice on what to get your family. You have a little dance to WHAM!'s Last Christmas in your living room, then drink some mulled wine and chow down on a mince pie. You go see the street lights at night. You watch Home Alone. Then, after all that, you realize that Christmas isn't that bad after all, really.
As the last few days of the season draw in, you start to have a really good feeling about this year. You accept that it might not be perfect, and you know there's some stuff you could have done differently, but, ultimately, you're looking forward to it. You're excited. And so you should be.
If you're still caught up in one of the earlier stages of Christmas panic, don't worry. There's still time to make plans and have a really good holiday. And listen to Mariah Carey on a loop, if that's what you're into.