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I’m psyched, y’all! I made up my mind:

I’m going to venture into the madness that is Black Friday shopping!

I’ve never done this before and it feels so out of character that it just seems right. Because we all need to break out of our shells sometimes, right?

Right?

*crickets*

I’d be lying if I said that I was getting a TON of supportive feedback about this plan from my friends. Most of them are either speechless from shock or have simply told me to go with God and remember that they told me so.

But as I worked through my annual holiday funk last year, I did make an important discovery: I don’t mind the crowds and the traffic that accompany Christmas shopping. 

If I am alone.

If hubs or mini-me is with me (or God forbid, BOTH) in a situation like that, we tend to feed off of each others’ frustration and irritation. 

If it’s just me, I can be perturbed at idiot drivers and slow-moving lines, but the pressure of other peoples’ emotions is not a factor. 

I can get up early, by myself, and be at the stores before the sun comes up, fueled with coffee and with no whining from anyone (at least in my group, because there won’t BE a group) who didn’t really want to be part of the adventure. 

And I don’t begrudge ANYONE who doesn’t want to participate or has tried to dissuade me from going. I appreciate their honesty and humor and concern for my safety and sanity.

I just know that some of the things I’ve done in my past preparations for Christmas have not worked for me. So I’m shaking things up. Finding new traditions. Even if they’re just for me.

Because that is one way to avoid or temper holiday depression: self care. And while it sounds like a crazy way to go about it, if I get 90% of my shopping done next weekend, and I find some really good prices in the process, I will feel a HUGE weight lifted from me. 

I don’t go all out on gifts or anything, it’s just that I’m an overthinker. And this makes selecting gifts, even for people I know really well, REALLY STRESSFUL SOMETIMES. So maybe, making a plan and executing it this way, and NOT WAITING UNTIL THE WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS (because in addition to overthinking, I also tend to procrastinate….a littlelot) like I’ve done for the last several years will help me enjoy almost a month’s worth of yuletide joy without any unnecessary stress hanging over my head.

You do you. I’m going to do me. And do it a little differently than ever before. 

And it really is just a little differently. I almost always delve into holiday shopping madness. I have just never delved into this particular holiday shopping madness.

I’m considering it a social experiment of sorts. It’s my inner psychology nerd coming out. I’m going to be as nice as I possibly can, because I will know, with every long line, every crowded store, and every taken parking space, that I CHOSE my fate. 

I’m not just hopping in the car and driving to Wal-Mart at midnight. I’m researching, reading, letting my over-analytical side take the reigns and critique the best places to find the gifts I seek. 

I’m planning. I’m thinking about what to wear so I don’t freeze if I have to stand outside or have a hot flash in the middle of a crowd. 

I’m thinking about what has the pockets I need for keys, phone and borrowing a small enough purse from my kid so I don’t have to carry anything but the essentials. 

I’m stocking up on hand sanitizer so I don’t get cooties. 

I’m making lists. I love lists!!!

But I’m mostly thinking about three things: taking my time, having a whole day to myself to pick out gifts for my loved ones, AND how lovely the month of December will be for many reasons, not the least of which will be that my shopping is d.o.n.e.

I love giving gifts. I just don’t love the stress of shopping. And I’m usually only stressed because I put it off as long as possible. I doubt I will ever be one of those people that can buy gifts throughout the year and then have them before Halloween. Black Friday might be the most prepared I ever get on this front. 

We shall see. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And, by golly, this little Santa’s helper is resolved to succeed!

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