Getting socks instead of a shotgun

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Holidays are frequently times when people get trapped by the expectations game. Because everyone around you assumes that the day is going to be “really good,” “special,” or “fantastic,” and is constantly telling you to have a “merry” one, it is easy to assume that having a merry Christmas is an actual possession of yours, and if not a possession, at least a birthright. Consequently, the tendency is to sketch out in your mind what you would like that possession to be like. But it turns out, metaphorically speaking, that you get socks instead of the shotgun, or cookware instead of pearls, and the expectation lost is a set-up for real disappointment. This is one of the reasons why holidays can be such an emotional roller coaster ride for so many, and Christmas is no exception.  (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 100)

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