Christmas comes once a year - or does it?

22 July 2010

I love Christmas. It only comes around once a year and from November onwards I begin picking out and wrapping presents, planning the cheese board and working out how many mince pies I will be able to eat.

However, no matter how much I try I can’t bring myself to begin shopping for the festive season any earlier and although this can leave me rushing around like a mad woman, while my more organised friends ever so smugly watch on, the thought of buying Christmas things before winter just doesn’t feel right.

This is why news this week that Selfridge’s is to open its festive shop on 2 August seems a little over-optimistic. In shops across the UK Christmas gets earlier every year and it seems impossible to avoid Jingle Bells blasting out of department stores even before I’ve picked out my Halloween costume. Now it seems we need a full five months to get prepared for the big day.

Are retailers helping us spread out the cost and making us all wiser spenders or simply encouraging us to spend even more?

We’re experiencing one of the hottest summers on record in the UK and the last possible thing I would want to do in this weather, is go shopping for some sparkly baubles or a Father Christmas suit.

Part of what makes Christmas special here is the wintry weather and array of hot, warming soups and stews that accompany it. Christmas shopping is stressful but steaming mulled wine and mince pies at the end make it slightly better.

It seems I may be an exception though as experts predict it won’t be long before Christmas shops have a permanent place on the high street throughout the year. I wonder if this will send people into shops in June to stock up on cards and tinsel, or if the disorganised among us will still be dashing around at the last minute, spending January with a deep hole in our pockets and swearing next year to start shopping months in advance. I think I know which option I’ll choose.