Question: when do you start Christmas shopping?
Answer: way before it’s strictly necessary if you’re me.
Every year, I try to be one of those irritating people who gets it all done and sits and gloat while everyone around them runs about like headless turkeys (it’s ‘headless chickens’ , I know, but let’s get festive!).
But do I succeed and sit in front of the TV, watching Ghostbusters for the millionth time – even though I’ve planted my flag firmly in the Chevy Chase camp – while everyone degenerates into festive meltdown? Hell no!
Despite my best efforts, I’ve found that doing your Christmas shopping early is just as problematic as leaving it till the last minute is. There are, however, some unexpected benefits, too, though.
Let me take you through the agony and the ecstasy of starting your Christmas shopping early!
The Agony, Part 1: Starting Christmas shopping early actually prolongs the agony of Christmas shopping
Oh look at me oh so organised. Aren’t I just brilliant! I’ll get it all out of the way while the queues are short and I can still turn around in the aisle of The Body Shop without taking out a whole shelf of Brazilian Body Milk (and one or two customers if it’s crowded in there).
Yet do I go from shop to shop on one monstrous purge, as per the plan, and chucking everything in my basket or trolley like I’m in some kind of true-life Supermarket Sweep? Not on your life.
It’s not because I don’t get to wear one of those awful sweaters from the show, either, no. I’m just thinking ‘What’s the rush? Christmas isn’t till the end of December. Oodles of time.’
(That’s right: I used the word ‘Oodles’ just then. Pretend it never happened.)
Sound logic, of course, but where was it when I truly needed it? Where was this logic when I got out of bed a couple of hours earlier with the thought of ‘Christmas is coming. Better make a start on my shopping‘ floating round my head?
In the final shopping week, I’m still buy Christmas gifts. Why did I bloody bother? Stupid brain.
The Agony, Part 2: You buy too much because you’ve forgotten how much stuff you’ve bought already
Every Christmas I start my shopping early. I think I’m the Mac Daddy of Organisation, the Prince of Planning, the Earl of Efficiency… basically, a Christmas shopping ninja.
Hey, guess what, though? I’m not!
The number of times I’ve returned with a gift or other, all smug at the thought ‘He’s going to love that‘ or ‘That’s just what she needs‘. Then when I’ve got to my pad, I find I’ve already got an Aladdin’s Cave of things ‘he’s going to love’ or are ‘just what she needs’ on the go.
Congratulations: I’ve given myself more wrapping to do. I’d rather be generous than be a meanie and return something (and spare myself the confession to the shop assistant that I’m a fud!). I have, however, got my whole life ahead of me, so that can all change!
Oh, and stupid memory.
The Agony Part 3: You always see something much better later
If my brain does happen to get its lousy act together and dredge up some vague recollection of what I’ve already bought for people before it’s too late, I instantly rue my impatience for not holding off the Christmas shopping for longer. I often see something I feel would have made a much better gift.
I should leave things till the last minute, like so many other Christmas shoppers do. Then I’d be able to shop with ruthless efficiency! Too little time for regrets. Christmas is coming towards us like a juggernaut.
Stupid impulses. And stupid brain again.
The Ecstasy Part 1: Less panic
So maybe you buy your sister that Mango and Lime shower gel and shampoo set three times in the same month and counting. Or perhaps you’ve bought your dad a dressing gown for each day of the week.
However, you’ll feel something like a festive Zen-like calm coming over you while you’re doing it! No psychological preparation before you go into Morrisons on Christmas Eve, and no instances of trolley rage for you either! That fruit and veg aisle is a pressure cooker, I’m telling you!
The Ecstasy Part 2: Tighter buns!
Oh yes, you read correctly! The good news is that Christmas shopping has a cracking upside as well: it sculpts your rear! After a couple of hours of shopping in the city centre today, I could feel every stride – yes, that’s right, I was striding! – working some mild magic on my behind.
So, with every year of Christmas shopping, you’re firming up your tush just a little bit more. By the time you retire, you’ll have a backside like Kim Kardashian.
Now you know what to do with that initial sum from your pension: get that cute little derrière of yours insured with it.
Normally, I often write some kind of conclusion or final thought in the post when I’m blogging. A bit like Jerry Springer used to do at the end of his show. But today I believe leaving you with the notion that Christmas shopping gives you the long-term benefit of a better behind really does end the post on a high! Let’s leave it there.