Despite my late start this year to get into the Christmas spirit and even though at the beginning of December I decided, in a fit of childishness, to ‘cancel’ Christmas, I finally managed to cajole myself into some sort of excitement. Which meant I had to do a u-turn on the ‘I’m not buying any presents’ decision and go shopping.
Hence on Saturday I found myself panic-buying in the 3 for 2 aisle of Boots. I was not alone, as I’m sure you can imagine. Several hundred people with a guilty look on their face were scurrying into Boots then participating in a free-for-all. Hello Kitty make-up bags, Twighlight perfume sets and Lynx body spray rained down on my head. A Sanctuary bath scrub whistled past my ear, tug-of-war broke out in the Royal Jelly section and arguments raged on all sides. Near hysteria was reached when selecting items in order to get the best value (cheapest product free), everything had to be the same price or it “wasn’t worth it”. There was definitely no sign of gifts being chosen with love and careful thought. Which didn’t actually make me sad (though I am aware that it probably should), oh no, I turned my elbows out at right-angles and got stuck right in!
I fricking love Christmas. The insanity of it. The wild look in peoples eyes as they charge up and down the high-street with rolls of wrapping paper held out as if in a medieval jousting contest. The consideration given to meaningless tat that would be discarded promptly at any other time of year, the miserable queues for Santas grotto, the screaming children abandoned in their pushchairs as mothers do battle for the latest must-have toy, the hysteria in Argos, the absolute bedlam in the gadget shop, the awkward wrestle with your conscience as you realise that yes, Aunt Maud will yet again be given lavender-scented microwaveable slippers. Chaos reigns, it’s brilliant!
I must confess that I have also had my moments of fraught frustration. One year I bought my brother a set of weights. Great idea, except I had parked miles away and carrying over 30kg through town was no joke, chivalry does not exist at Christmas time so I was merely glared at as I collapsed regularly, I nearly abandoned the bloody things several times. The pubs look so inviting at Christmas but should be avoided at all costs whilst shopping, I am gung-ho enough without being aided and abetted by alcohol; buying my Grandmother a t-shirt that says “nobody knows I’m a lesbian” will not seem nearly so funny on Christmas morning, when stone-cold sober.
I look on enviously at the people in Starbucks, burying their faces in cream-topped mochas. Who has the time for this luxury?! And how on earth do they carry coffees and shopping? And how do they find a table to sit at? I braved the German Market in Birmingham last week, it was hideous. I wanted to lay down on the floor and weep (which is what I did last year when I went with my friend Chris, but in my defence I had the flu) so I calmed myself with an over-priced Gluwewin and left.
But despite all this; the stress and the strain, the madness that everyone is gripped with, the punch-ups in the car parks, the soaking wet feet and freezing cold hands, the aching shoulders and tired legs, the lack of change for the bloody multi-storey and the rage when you discover Next have run out of mens slippers, I will never resort to being one of those smug b*****ds who do all their shopping on the internet. It just wouldn’t be the same without at least one dash through the 3 for 2 aisles at Boots!