Confessions of a Christmas-aholic

I am officially ready for Christmas. 

Yuppers, you read that right.  My house is decorated, gifts are wrapped (with a couple of exceptions still working their way to me from Amazon), my cards are written and ready to be mailed, and the Hallmark Christmas movie watching has begun (although I admit my current binge watching of White Collar has slowed me down this year).

The list of Christmas confessions doesn’t end with the few above; I actually have a list of holiday quirks, Yuletide wackiness and joyful idiosyncrasies that are part of my normal Christmas experience:

  • As kids are trick or treating on Oct 31, I am bringing up my Christmas decorations from storage.
  • I watch Christmas movies all year round (and am dizzy with excitement that Hallmark is releasing 33 new ones this year! Bring on the popcorn & knitting projects).
  • I visit Frankenmuth (home of the world’s LARGEST Christmas store) every year the first week of October to kick start the season.
  • I would have at least two more Christmas trees if I had the storage space! And despite my begging and waving money around, nobody in my building is willing to sell me their lockers…but I’m still working on them!
  • I believe Christmas shopping is an all year affair and tend to get more excited to tell people the story behind the gift than the gift itself!
  • I believe in respecting Remembrance Day, so I will never do outdoor decorating (in my case, my door!) until the 12th of November. 
  • I buy Christmas lights for my trees the second stores have them on their shelves (this is also my Christmas pet peeve, HOW do I have to replace so many lights EVERY YEAR?! This year, 600).
  • Love Actually is the reigning Queen of all holiday movies (this isn’t a Christmas quirk, it is just pure fact).

I embrace my holiday habits, but have to wonder why when stores start setting up for Christmas in October do I feel like I have to hide the fact that I am doing the same?  Is it because when I buy gifts in September clerks look at me like I have three heads when I ask about the Christmas return policy?  Or that people roll their eyes at me when they see me moving my decorations up in October?  

When did preparing for such a joyful occasion before December become a guilty pleasure?

It is also hard not to ask what else I enjoy doing that I feel I have to hide because it isn’t considered normal, socially acceptable, trendy, or being promoted by Taylor Swift.  And as it turns out, my life is made up of many a quirk the world would consider a ‘guilty pleasure':

  • Buying Hello! Canada every time Kate is on the front cover.
  • Nutella never making it to bread because I eat it out of a jar with a spoon while standing in my kitchen!
  • Stocking up on shampoos when in hotels (they replenish every day, so it is easy to leave with a stash without having to raid one of their carts… which, I have to admit, is also quite the rush!)
  • Being addicted to wedding magazines for the dresses, shoes, stationary and mass organization of it all... and not because I am actually planning a wedding! 
  • Feeling like I have won 'the big game' when an item is on sale and I am the person to buy all they have left on the shelf.
  • Lying in bed at the cottage before I go to sleep with my cell phone in hand  (my cell is never in my bedroom at home, so this is wild, crazy and completely taboo for me!)

The urban dictionary defines ‘guilty pleasures’ as both something you shouldn’t like but like anyway, and as something you love to do but just cannot admit you do it.  I know people who feel the giddy when they watch realty shows, or enjoy bizarre combinations of food… but does that mean they should feel guilty for it? 

What annoys me is that the second I admit to having a guilty pleasure the first thing I do is put myself down for it, or openly judge my actions in order to hide my shame. 
Do I think I look more normal to others if I poke fun at myself?
Do I use self-deprecation in order to connect with the other person?
Do I put myself down because I am afraid the other person is planning on doing the same?

I’ve decided that the reality for me is, that if it brings me joy, doesn’t hurt anyone… then embrace the guilty pleasure!

Yet, it nags at me the fact that the word guilt and pleasure are side by side.  Believe me I know how to feel guilty for something. I will apologize for things I haven’t done, things I feel I should have done but didn’t do and I will apologize to random strangers if I feel that I wasn’t considerate enough to them.  Guilt and I go way back. 

But the more seasoned I become (yes, I went out of my way not to say older!) my relationship with guilt has morphed into one where I get to decide how I feel, and not give guilt the power to make me feel small, unworthy or make decisions for me.

Guilt implies that I am doing something wrong, that I should feel remorse, or that I am ‘bad’; but we are talking about things that light me up, excite me, give me a spark, and tend to make my day. 

IT IS TIME TO DROP THE GUILT FROM PLEASURE.

Our pleasures are what make us unique, happy and keep life interesting. Frankly, we could all use more of them. So going forward,

  • There will be no more shame attached to enjoying what I enjoy.
  • There will be no more justifying why I like doing what I do.
  • There will be no more putting myself down to make myself fit in.
  • There will be less holding myself back and more embracing and exploring of my pleasures and joy!

So watch those reality shows, embrace your love of pickle juice, double dip that chip into salsa, and have fun exploring the wacky, wild and wonderful things that give you pleasure.  

And for joy-sake… Get those Christmas trees up!!

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