Christmas is simultaneously sort of OK and the absolute worst. It’s OK because there are presents and food and a few people I like but don’t get to see the rest of the 365 (I c u bro and cool aunt and uncle and bb cuz). Also, my mom hooked me up with some pine-scented potpourri, so that’s nice. It’s the worst because I’m confronted with all my greatest social anxieties—like going to the mall and talking to people.

I went to the mall the other day to do all of my Christmas shopping. That doesn’t stress me out, because I always wait until the last minute, but ohmygod the mall you guys. Young children ran rampant, screaming and crying or just being brats while waiting in line to see the mall Santa. And I wasn’t in a hurry or anything, but people at the mall do this thing where they walk muuccchh slower than they would anywhere else. Or maybe slow walkers like the mall? Idk but it’s kind of stressful because you start to feel like you’re following people. And that’s creepy. At the Gap, I knocked over (and broke) a display. I helped clean it up before running out as fast as I could. At another store, some Grinch-butt yelled at me for taking too much time paying at the cash register, and at yet another, I set off the alarms because a censor was still attached to something I had bought. This things aren’t actually stressful or bad in and of themselves, but they made the stress I normally feel going out in public that much worse.

Thank goddess that is over, but now I face three back-to-back days of constant socialization. Some of it will be chill—going to my grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve is consistently the best—but the rest makes me nervous and grumpy. And when I’m grumpy, it’s hard for me to talk to people, which makes me nervous, which makes me very unpleasant to be around, which in turn makes me even grumpier. It’s a vicious circle—a vicious wreath, if you will.

I don’t know how I’m going to make it through all that. Maybe I can make a cardboard cut-out of myself that says things like “My grades are passing” or “That new Christmas sweater is really working for you” and send it to all these events in my place. (It will likely have better conversational skills than I.) Or maybe I can fake an eggnog-induced coma on Christmas day. But if anyone asks, you know nothing of this. ♦