The 12 Days of Christmas. Day two: Christmas shopping

Christmas I find Twitter the perfect place to find validation when your loved ones let you down. Particularly when you consider the really big, important questions in life – like “Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?”

Seriously, every time I turn around someone is telling me how they just finished wrapping the kids’ presents, the tree is up and decorated and their three-bird-roast is in the freezer. On Twitter today, I found some kindred spirits who haven't yet shopped up a storm.

Frankly, I don’t approve. I’m a big believer in having Christmas at Christmas. That means you send your Christmas cards the week before Christmas, you decorate the tree on Christmas Eve (after the crib service) and you don’t start Christmas shopping until after December 14th. That song’s about the 12 days of Christmas after all – unless there’s a 45 day version somewhere that I missed?

I know that some (abnormal) people take the (completely wrong) approach of buying gifts in November, wrapping them up with the paper they bought in the January sales, and hiding them under the bed for a month. What’s festive about that? Aren’t you just reducing Christmas to a shopping exercise that’s basically all about getting it done and dusted?

I love Christmas shopping at Christmas. Always have done – Flea and I go together these days, but pre-Flea, I used to always spend a day shopping with my own Mother.

Granted, I don’t shop at weekends, but I love a bit of hustle and bustle as I browse the scarves in M&S and pointless pretty things in John Lewis. I love picking up a Christmas decoration each year in Heals, and stopping for a mince pie when I need a break. What’s not fun about getting your Christmas jumpers in Gap, and picking up some movies at Borders or HMV? 

I love finishing my shopping and heading off to see a Christmas movie or (even better) The Snowman at Sadler’s Wells. Then driving home and listening to our  special Christmas compilation CD in the car on the way to the shops (Flea’s favourite song is Christina Aguilera’s Merry Little Christmas while I’m leaning more towards McFly’s CLASSIC version of Deck the Halls.

I just think this notion of “get it over and done with and buy as much as you can as quickly as you can so you don’t even feel it” it just another way Christmas is being devalued. We're losing the connection with what Christmas really is. Or am I being too sentimental?

All this said, of course, there’s no way you’ll find me setting foot in Tesco during December. My Ocado slot was booked well in advance. I’m festive, but I’m not insane.

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

11 Comments

  1. 15th December 2009 / 9:44 am

    I like shopping when the festive atmosphere is in full flow but it’s an expensive time of year so I do start in November to spread the cost. I don’t, however, buy wrapping paper in the January sales. Now I must go and book my Tesco delivery…

  2. CJWarnock
    15th December 2009 / 10:05 am

    It ain’t Chrimbo till the Radio Times spesh hits the shelves, you have heard Fairytale of New York on the radio and you have eaten a mince pie made by a family member. All three criteria must be in effect – no one, or two are enough. It is the rules.

  3. 15th December 2009 / 11:17 am

    I have to admit to loathing shopping at this time of year so doing 90% of my presents online – I reckon the time saved not having to park and fight my way around can be spent thinking up great ideas for people

  4. 15th December 2009 / 12:11 pm

    I’m with Rosie – the only way I can remotely afford Christmas is to start picking up presents in sales, looking for bargains online, and frequenting TK Maxx. Which sadly means doing it a couple of months early. I don’t buy wrapping paper tho – I just recycle last year’s!

  5. Vioc
    15th December 2009 / 12:27 pm

    I start in October but purely to spread the cost. The tree goes up mid-December and the presents probably won’t get wrapped until I go into a mad packing frenzy on the 24th in order to get us all to mum’s in time for dinner.

  6. pietro ranieri
    15th December 2009 / 2:27 pm

    i think i’ve fallen out of love with Christmas, it just seems to be a period of rushing around buying presents, then hitting a long car journey to see relatives, then eating food I never normally eat (because I can’t stand Turkey and ‘all the trimmings’, in an Italian household you have pasta, but just more of it! perfect.), then there’s the long period of waiting to go back to work knowing that its all over…however, now I have a nine month old I think the magic is coming back through him, although I’m not convinced he really cares at this age! except there are more sparkly things around the house and more crunchy papers to play with!
    Pietro

  7. 15th December 2009 / 2:47 pm

    I’m with you on Christmas lasting too long (although I will admit to having bought most of my presents already). I love the last minute hustle and bustle and the feeling of it being really special. You just don’t get that if you’re thinking about it in September.

  8. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    15th December 2009 / 2:49 pm

    I leave everything until the last possible minute. I am however a bit concerned that I haven’t yet posted our Christmas cards to Oz and NZ…

  9. 15th December 2009 / 2:51 pm

    you’re right, it isnt festive. I make my own presents and living abroad have to have them wrapped and posted by 1st Dec to make sure they arrive in time, but i do miss the christmas shopping.

  10. 15th December 2009 / 8:17 pm

    Are you living in the film ‘Love Actually’? If so, can I join you please?
    Since I’ve had children Christmas shopping at Christmas has lost its appeal. Also I’m no longer earning so I tend to pick up presents all year round, especially if I find a bargain in the sales.
    Amazon and John Lewis are my online saviours this year.
    As for elbowing round the supermarket, I’ll leave that to my mother-in-law!

  11. 18th December 2009 / 6:08 pm

    Also, if you get all the shopping done in advance, what excuse do you have to leave the house for a bit of breathing space when your relatives have come to stay?
    Just wondering.

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