Especially the ones that put you totally on the spot. Everyone watching you in anticipation waiting for you to answer a question or complete a task. Having a team relying on you to get something right. I don’t know about you but that makes me a sweaty, hot, nervous mess.
The trick is to find a game you are comfortable playing, then suggest it for the Christmas game instead, or buy it as a gift so they feel obliged to play that one – mwuahaha.
Opening presents in front of other people
Even if you are absolutely head over heels in love with the gift someone has gotten you, it still feels like you have to come up with a way to express it that seems stupidly over the top, just so they don’t think you hate it.
Also trying to find different ways to act shocked and elated when you receive a Dove bodywash set every year gets a little difficult. My response is usually “Thanks, I will use that for my annual bath!”
“Help yourself” food
The words “I’m just going to put the Turkey on the plate and everything else on the table so you can help yourselves” at a big Christmas dinner is enough to make me panic. I hate helping myself to anything but when everyone is sat round a big dinner table and I’m not sure how many potatoes to put on my plate so that a) I won’t get told to put more on my plate because I haven’t taken enough and b) I don’t take too much and everything thinks I’m a greedy cow, even though I definitely am!
This is why I’m glad to be cooking the dinner this year!
Buying someone the right gift
The gift you choose for someone at Christmas can tell them exactly how well you know that person and we all want to choose the perfect gift. So Christmas with anxiety often means stressing for a whole month wondering if you’ve chosen the correct thing, will they like it, will they return it, will they look at you puzzled wondering why you would buy them something like that?! It’s frustrating.
Not knowing who to buy for
There’s always a worry that you don’t buy for someone and they end up buying a present for you, so you have to do that mad last minute panic buy! The way to avoid this problem is to pick up some extra gifts that anyone might like and if somebody else crops up that you need to buy for, then you already have some gifts ready. If nobody else does, save them for next Christmas or use them for birthdays in the new year.
Reading the joke out of the cracker
Reading the cracker joke in front of everyone at the table, trying to deliver the joke in a comedic fashion? No thanks, I’m no comedian. Besides it’s scary enough as it is without having to repeat it 4 times because Grandma couldn’t hear you and then by the time you’ve said the punch line, no gives a crap.
Wearing a Christmas cracker hat
Even if everyone at the table is wearing one – I still feel stupid AF.
Meeting lots of new people all at once
Christmas often means meeting a partners family for the first time, or parties and get togethers. It can be socially demanding and pretty scary. A nice big bottle of Prosecco always helps, and I always bake lots of sweet goodies because everyone likes Christmas baked goods!
Going to the shops
Trying to look for what you want in the shop during the busiest retail time of the year is a daunting task when you have social anxiety. People get crazy at Christmas, they start pushing you out of the way, the lines are stupidly long and crowds in the high street can get too much.
I like to choose earlier times to shop during the week so there’s a better chance of it being quieter. If people still push you out of the way? Hit ’em with a roll of wrapping paper!!
Waiting for parcels to be delivered
So instead of going to the shops and avoiding the Christmas anxiety of being pushed around in big crowds, you’ve decided to shop online. This is great until you have to wait for your parcels to be delivered. Stupid things like “we’ll deliver your parcel between 7am & 5pm” is so frustrating, waiting in all day and wondering if every car noise is the delivery van, not wanting to go and pee just in case they come when you’re on the toilet! It plays havoc with your nerves.
Thank goodness you can now choose certain delivery times on lots of online stores, and even safe places for them to leave the parcel so they don’t have to knock on your door!!
There’s also lots of other things that can cause Christmas anxiety that I haven’t mentioned and can be far more serious, sometimes anxiety can stop us from being able to work and a lack of money for presents and food can be really heartbreaking this time of year. Sometimes social anxiety can make us lonely and a lot of people spend Christmas time alone. Whatever the damage, try to remember that it’s just a day of the year and you can make it whatever you want to make it, participate in it however you want to participate in it. If you need someone to talk to please contact me!