So we’re into December madness and I’ve just staggered back from the shops laden with bags, but with barely anything ticked off my scrumpled-up list, which I’ve been clutching for the past three hours in the hope that it might provide inspiration. It didn’t. I’m trying very hard not to be a last minute smash-and-grab shopper, but it’s not going very well.
I don’t know about you, but I’m truly rubbish at shopping – especially of the Christmas variety. I’m always intimidated by those who claim to have done it all in November and have it all wrapped. What do those people do in December, then? Apart from chuckle smugly?
Here’s just a few of the reasons I’m a terrible Christmas shopper:
1. I’m always badly dressed for it, usually with a big thick coat which brings me out in a full body-sweat as soon as enter any of the big stores here in Brighton. I hate being too hot.
2. I can only do impulse buying, which only works out if there’s no queue. What scuppers me completely is if I’m left for any time at all to look at my purchases – at which point I lose my all of my confidence. Then I sometimes dump the stuff and run. (It’s not something I’m very proud of.)
3. I’m a shopping envier, always on the look-out for what’s in other people’s baskets. Which means that sometimes I get to the check out and desperately want to buy what the person in front of me has got, but by then it’s too late.
4. I have a unique ability to buy presents which look cheap, but were actually very expensive, rather than the other way around. Which is quite an impressive shopping trait, given that I live near T K Max.
5. I’m staggered by the amount of stuff I have to buy, which leads me into an existential anxiety loop about what Christmas really means and the impression I’m giving my kids. This sometimes gets so bad, I have to give up on shopping altogether and do something more spiritual – like go for lunch. Which leaves my Christmas shopping undone and it all to the last minute – hence the terrible cycle of last minute panic buying continues.
All that aside, however, I do genuinely love giving people presents – especially on the rare occasions I get it right. Although I set the bar far too high far too early when I bought Emlyn a Wurlitzer Jukebox when we first got together. I can’t top that.
I also like receiving presents, but this Christmas, I’ve already had my best present. Another three book deal from the fabulous Pan Macmillan. I’ve just had an email from my brilliant editor, Wayne Brookes, showing me the press release. Hooray. Now that really is a fabulous Christmas present.