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Weekender 2016 holiday gift guide (cover photo)

I am a horrible Christmas gift shopper.

As a descendant of my shopaholic mother, I find it hard to believe that gene wasn't passed down to me. She's the type of person who looks for Christmas/birthday gifts at any time of the year. Doesn't matter if Christmas is 364 days away, she'll have the gifts purchased and wrapped and ready to go for next year. My mom is like the shopping version of a fallout shelter nut -- instead of stocking shelves with canned food and kerosene, she's filling her closets full of presents. 

Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if she's finished with next year's Christmas shopping. As for me, I haven't even started making a list yet. 

That's one thing I'm good at: making lists. I think most procrastinators are. You see, we know we procrastinate. That's why we make lists. It's a way of reassuring ourselves that we can beat this terrible affliction, kick this neglectful habit in the butt and be the most prepared citizens to ever walk the earth.

But then we "lose" our lists or we convince ourselves the deadline isn't that immediate. Of course, by the time we're scouring for a spot in the mall parking lot, we're full of regret. Before I know it, I'll be cursing myself in the movie section of a Barnes & Noble two days before Christmas and wondering why the shelves are empty.

Apart from my endless procrastination, I think another part of my gift buying problem is that I can't figure out what to actually get people. I frequently second guess myself when I'm out Christmas shopping.

Am I a cheap bastard for buying someone a DVD or Blu-ray? Is this a good brand? Does this person even like candy? Do I look like a last-minute shopper if I buy a bunch of people Amazon gift cards? 

These questions always pop up in my mind and make me feel like a terrible person -- I mean, I did wait last minute to buy every gift on my list.

Of course by the time it's Christmas and my friends and family open their gifts, they're happy with whatever they get -- whether it's a book, a couple bags of fresh coffee, a fun trinket or a box of sweets.

Never let money dictate your gift giving this year. If you can and want to give gifts, feel free to do so. But don't go broke because of it. We all can sometimes get caught up in presents during the holidays. And I have to remind myself of that every year. 

Gifts don't make Christmas. If you're like me and you're having an existential crisis in the middle of a Target, then maybe you and I need to get our priorities straight. 

Think about the last time your holiday was defined by the gifts you were given. It's hard isn't it? That's probably because the holidays aren't really about gifts. It's a message that's been hammered into us since we were kids watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and other Christmas specials on TV.

The holidays are special because of the people we spend them with. Think of all the memories you made having dinner or doing activities with family members and friends. That's what's really important.

Let's all remember that this holiday season. And if you're like me, you might have to write it down. 

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