Green vegetables and Christmas Shopping. Three things I really hate. Apparently the joy is meant to be in the giving, yet how can such a horrible activity be joyous?
The traditional way I suppose is going out into the Christamased up stores and joining my fellow shoppers in walking around really slowly, blocking up aisles, searching through racks and shelves for the size of item you require. Then once you have acquired said item proceed to join the large queue at the tills to be greeted by a shop assistant with the same amount of Christmas spirit as a virgin hot toddy. All the while knowing that the item you are paying for will be reduced by 25% within hours of the final serving of pudding on the 25th.
The average present is appreciated for less time than it takes to acquire it.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the shopping crowds had allocated time slots. As someone who works Monday to Friday I only have the opportunity to go on a Saturday or at lunchtime yet have to skirt around elderly people, and their trolleys, who have had all week to go out shopping. In the spirit of saving money why not cancel free bus passes on weekends? That would discourage them from going out, and they have their heating and TV’s paid for so they can be tucked up watching the black and white films they show on a Saturday afternoon rather than acting as a rolling road block down the high street.
All of this wouldn’t matter if present buying was easy. I have decided on many occasions that it is much easier to give me money, and then I can take the stress of present buying off my relatives and buy 25% more stuff in the sales afterwards. For many years my Mum would provide me with her credit card details and I would go and order my gifts from Amazon. In return I would ask “what do you want”, feeling this was a key part of the social contract of gift-giving I had entered.
Now I have two people in my life who have decided they want a surprise. Do they not understand the true meaning of Christmas? Not the real reason which is centred on rampant commercialism, but the coming of the prophesied messiah.
Not the surprise messiah, nor the thought-that’s-important messiah; but the you-know-what-you-are-getting messiah.
I’ve heard from a few people that they are “easy to buy for”. I am sure Mount Everest considers itself “an easy mountain to climb”. The difficulty of the gifting is not tied to an individuals receiving ability but more to the skills, and most importantly motivation, of the buyer.
So this year Christmas shopping involved a lunch break looking through gift ideas on Amazon, and some Google searches for “stocking ideas”. I had spent all year adding to a list of items that people had expressed an interest in, and come December went and looked for as many that were Prime Eligible. For some other items I ordered for store collection (which means I am only slightly exposed to the hordes) but meant I could do it all within a few minutes.
This is shopping in the 21st century, roll on home replicators where I can just print off gifts (preferably gift wrapped). Maybe then I can enjoy Christmas shopping.