The madness of Christmas shopping

23 December 2010

I’m not exactly one to talk about the craziness of Christmas shopping – after all I’ve only bought four gifts this festive season, and even one of those was a secret Santa present that only cost me £3.74.

But those four gifts have been the thorn in my side this Christmas. Organised as ever, I started early – even buying the first present back in late November. It was almost hassle-free, barring the fact that I had to go into the biggest Primark on a Saturday afternoon to buy it. Oh, and the shop had a power cut while I was there, but I still left relatively unscathed.

The second and third gifts came from Amazon, which was troublesome enough in itself. The self-proclaimed biggest online retailer hasn’t been doing much delivering recently because of the ‘adverse’ weather. Cue a panic attack and several frenzied phone calls trying to trace a seemingly untraceable parcel – (but that’s what you get when you choose ‘super saver delivery’ at the checkout). But, lo and behold, the parcels did turn up a few days ago and my blood pressure slowly went back to normal.

The fourth present - a scented candle – was no less difficult. The choices in John Lewis were limitless. Sandalwood, spiced cranberry or lavender? In a glass jar, in a box or in candle holders? I should add here that John Lewis at Christmas probably sees more people through its doors than Heathrow. (Well, maybe not this week. But every other week for sure – making the whole candle episode more tortuous than waiting at Terminal Five.)

Presents sorted, I still had a bit of festive shopping to do. But last night, foolishly thinking that most people had gone home for Christmas, I headed to central London to buy some cheese for a Moneywise lunch. Rather than walking into Neal’s Yard and leaving with a nice cheese board, I queued outside in a one-in, one-out type arrangement for 20 minutes, getting more and more frustrated. Not even a genteel salesman offering slices of British-style Camembert to the queue couldn't distract me from cheese shopping rage.

But don’t worry. On the day before Christmas Eve, my paltry four presents are sorted. Next year I’m definitely going to consider starting my shopping in the January sales.