I was looking forward to half term. A week of not having to get up quite so early to make several packed lunches prior to the early morning scramble for school bags, PE kit and homework. As Josh was playing football, I arranged a shopping trip with the girls.
My mother asked if she could come along. This was sure to slow things down as she is not very mobile these days but I knew that she would enjoy spending time with the girls, so I agreed. Then my sister decided to join us. It has to be said that my sister is the worst person to go shopping with and has been known to reduce grown men (her husband for one) to tears. Not content with comparing prices in every shop to bag the best bargain, she will inevitably return to the store where she first saw an item to buy it - several gruelling hours later (love ya sis!).
So there we were in town, ready to stock up on essentials like gloves and scarves, ready for the return to school and onset of winter. My family had other ideas.
“Oh good,” said my sister joyfully, “We can start Christmas shopping.” There it was; the ‘C’ word. The one I knew was coming ever since mince pies arrived in the shops in September, the one I have been trying to avoid.
“It’s not even November yet,” I pointed out.
“It will be here before you know it, best get ahead while we can,” came the reply. I know that sensible people shop early for Christmas; some even buy their gifts for following year in the January sales. I am not one of those people.
I subscribe to the belief that Christmas shopping should start in December, with the opening of Advent calendars, building to a climax around the Saturday before the big day.
There are several reasons for this:
If you let the Genie out of the bag to early you spend a good three months worrying about something which lasts for two days.
Children, particularly teenagers change their minds, and if you respond to their first desires you run the risk of them not getting that ‘really important, must-have at all costs’ something that will make their Christmas complete.
Lastly, I have more pressing things to worry about right now to think so far(!) into the future.
I was determined not to be sucked in.
Whilst I tried valiantly to stop my mum from ‘discreetly’ trying to buy me a truly awful jumper, my sister produced the longest list I have ever seen containing the names of no less than 25 people, none of whom were related.
“You’re surely not going to buy presents for that lot,” I exclaimed in horror.
“Just a little something,” she replied. ‘Just a little something’ necessitated investigating every ‘three for two’ and ‘buy one get one free’ deal on offer in every store in the High Street.
Meanwhile, both Lillie and Beth had escaped and were happily filling up their baskets in Primarnie (our family word for Primark).
“How much?” I gasped, catching up with them at the till. “How can anyone manage to spend that much in Primark?” I sent Lillie to buy a new coat, not an entire company!
We rejoined my big sis in M&S just in time for me to catch my mum stuffing the aforementioned horrid jumper into her bag with a satisfied expression on her face. Oh well, at least I’ll have something to look forward to after Christmas – a long wait in the refund queue!
Is it too early to say ‘Bah, Humbug’?