Make no mistake, the holidays are stressful. With all the traffic, lines at the mall and family drama at home, it’s a wonder we even bother saying “happy holidays” at all. Of course, we have little choice in participating, so all we can do is prepare ourselves for the oncoming storm.

During these trying times, it behooves us to get as comfortable as possible whenever we get the chance. If you don’t, you risk your head exploding, which would definitely ruin Christmas for everyone. You don’t need that shit on your plate, brothers and sisters. No one wants to be responsible for ruining Christmas, unless they are a member of ISIS. Well, are you?

Now that we’ve cleared that up, we can get back to getting comfortable. Around my house, we get comfortable by putting on pajamas—also known as comfies, jamma-jammy-jams, or jammies for short. These are not the sexy clothes you put on to entice your significant other or random strangers at the strip club. Jammies are what you wear when you are home sick or not expecting anyone to come over.

Jammies do not have to be jammies in the traditional sense. For example, I wear T-shirts and basketball shorts in the summer, and switch it up to sweats or pajama bottoms in the winter. In the winter months, one of my favorite shirts is a long sleeve shirt that I’ve had forever. It’s a red ENYCE shirt with a weird blueprint thing on the back. It’s a pretty lame shirt, design-wise, but the long sleeves really sold me on it back then, and have kept me coming back time and time again.

It would be an understatement to say that this shirt has seen better days. After more than 20 years, it’s full of holes and both of the sleeves and collar are frayed at the edges. Hundreds of washes have left the graphics cracked and faded. An accidental bleach stain and the subsequent hole it left behind mark the back of the shirt and led to its original demotion from outside-wear to jammies status so many years ago. Despite all these defects, or perhaps because of them, the shirt remains one of the most comfortable I own.

I think of it as well broken-in. The holes near the cuffs of the sleeves allow me to pop my thumbs through and get a fingerless glove kind of thing going on when my hands are cold. Other holes provide for easy access scratching for nearly any itch on my upper body. The shirt has a few stains on it as well, but that just means I don’t have to worry about spilling as much. The shirt is basically perfect, and when it goes on, it doesn’t take long before I am completely and totally relaxed.

I’m lucky my red shirt still fits after all these years. I got it in high school when I was chubby and wearing baggy clothes was cool, so it still fits as good as it ever did. And that’s a good thing, because this shirt has been with me through everything, and I might not have made it through it all without its soft, warm cotton to help along the way.

I had this shirt when I graduated high school and went off to college. I wore it while studying for all sorts of midterms, finals and eventually even the bar exam. I took it with me to nine countries and at least as many states. I never know when I am going to need it and the things that it can do.

The shirt is far too wrecked to be worn in public, but that is not really what it’s for. I wear it when the house is cold after a long day of work. I wear it when I’m sick. I wear it when I feel stressed out or depressed. I wear it when I am away and miss home. When I need to be comforted or comfortable, when I am feeling vulnerable and want to be put at ease, this is the shirt I go for. It always makes me feel better.

This situation is not unique to me. Most of us have an article of clothing like my red shirt. Yours may be blue or green, older or newer, or it may not be a shirt at all. Whatever it may be, the feeling you get when you put it on is all the same. To you, it’s more than just a piece of clothing; it’s a part of who you are and where you’ve been. That’s why it’s stuck around in your closet long past its due date. I’ll probably keep mine until it’s reduced to shreds, but I don’t want to think about that now. The hell of the holidays are upon us and I am going to need my red shirt to get me through the end of the year.