Don’t you think it’s a bit too early to start Christmas shopping?
Every year the festive season starts earlier and is increasingly commercialised; shops realise they can play on your emotions with advertising campaigns that are seemingly innocent and heart-wrenching, yet surreptitiously designed simply to get you to part with those pennies (John Lewis, we’re looking at you).
Shops adorned with tinsel, fake snow and festive bunting allure innocent passers-by in, enchanted by the feeling of cosiness, family and joviality evoked by these enticing wintery displays. The Halloween pumpkins may still be outside, yet the necessities of preparing the Christmas cake, inviting guests round the for the big day and organising your holidays off work must be organised in the months leading up to Christmas. But does the buying of Christmas presents really need to start this early too?
I’m no Scrooge, yet I still believe that it’s perfectly possible to over-prepare for Christmas. Buying presents early inevitably leads to them being lost over the year, as that ‘secret hiding place’ you put them in was so secret that you forgot it yourself. And even over the course of just a few months many things may change – friends may come and go, interests may change, and you may just regret buying that phallus-shaped bottle-opener for your cousin or that Pandora bracelet for your ex-best friend who’s now on Santa’s naughty list. By shopping too early, these changes can’t be accounted for, and depending on the amount of time lapsed they may not even be returnable anymore.
Ultimately the festive period means to me a time in which distant families can be reunited, carol concerts can be attended and enticing food can be prepared and shared round – think pigs in blankets, homemade stuffing and mince pies. But is spending hundreds of pounds buying Christmas presents for everyone on your Facebook friends list really part of the festive spirit? Christmas is a time focused on sharing love with your family, and the best form for this is something homemade and heartfelt – bake them their favourite sweet treat, write them a heartfelt greeting in a card or make a scrapbook of your memories together. Ultimately the Christmas spirit can’t be bought or sold; Christmas presents just don’t do the trick.