Thoughts for Friday – 31st October 2014

Stress-Free-Christmas-Shopping-300x300It’s the end of October. Christmas is just around the corner (well, two months away) and it’s time to get ready for the festive season.

No, it’s not too early!

Here in the UK, nearly all of the major shopping chains have their Christmas gear out already and have since mid-September. After children return to school from the summer break, the aisles of every grocery store are packed with Christmas goodies. You can find everything from Christmas puddings, stocking fillers, crackers, wrapping paper – anything that you could conceivably think of that would come in handy for Christmas.

Shops do this in September – THREE MONTHS BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

Surely they must do it for a reason?

Well, because people as anal as myself like to get our Christmas shopping done early so we don’t have to worry about it in December.

I am not a huge fan of busy shopping malls, especially with so many people cramped into such a small and enclosed space. Being in busy and noisy environments make me feel claustrophobic and panicky, not to mention the fact that people hack, cough and splutter all over you as they walk past. Maybe I am just anti-social, or maybe I just don’t like to be close enough to a stranger to smell what they had for breakfast on their breath…

Sydney-womens-counselling-for-Christmas-stressDoing my Christmas shopping in October means that I can browse stores that are relatively quiet and free of squawking children/teenagers/adults who clearly want to be stuck in a hectic shopping mall as much as I do. There is also still plenty of stock and choice on the shelves so that I don’t have to worry that I need to knock out the old man next to me in order to get the last gift set from the shelf (even if it is ripped/damaged/broken) No, concussing a pensioner on Christmas Eve is definitely not in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.

I’ve also noticed something rather cheeky that stores do the closer we creep to Christmas: they ever so quietly put the prices of items up the nearer we get to Christmas Eve, knowing that desperate folks will be willing to pay anything to ensure that they’ve got their loved one a Christmas present and not have to spend the entire festive period in the doghouse.

I have a schedule when it comes to Christmas, one that usually starts in October:

  • October – buy Christmas presents
  • November – buy Christmas meat selection (for Christmas Day dinner) and freeze until December. Wrap Christmas presents
  • December – deliver/post said Christmas presents

Christmas always seems to be stressful time for some folks and I wonder whether it is just lack of planning or some deep-seated need to torture oneself that makes them leave everything until the last minute. Hell, I always start planning for Christmas a year in advance by putting Β£5 a week away in a savings account. It may not seem like much, but over twelve months it soon adds up and cushions some of the financial blow that Christmas often makes on all of us.

And we all overspend at Christmas, don’t we? Well, that’s why I write a list of everyone I need to buy for and what they might like before I even step foot in the mall. Then I go to the stores that do special offers like ‘3 for 2’ and try to get the majority of presents there (where’s the sense in paying for the third item if you don’t have to?)

th_33Some might think it anal, while some may admire my way of planning the festive season. Either way, I know I won’t be one of those people running around the stores on Christmas Eve looking like I am just about to have a coronary. No, I shall be in the pub with my feet up, enjoying a festive tipple and watching everyone else run around like headless chickens as they scramble for last-minute presents.

Because it is the season to be jolly, after all!

Are you a last minute Christmas shopper or a planner like me? Please feel free to share your thoughts below:

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16 Comments

Filed under Thoughts for Friday

16 responses to “Thoughts for Friday – 31st October 2014

  1. I didn’t realize that the U.S. isn’t the only place that brings on Christmas before the Halloween decorations are put away. Personally, it bothers me. I want to celebrate each season and its beautiful holiday: pumpkins, October and Halloween; turkey, stuffing, and November; red and green, gifts and stockings, December. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t plan early so December doesn’t become super stressful. Yes, I buy my gifts starting in the summer, so they can be thoughtful and not a rushed-don’t-know-what-to-get kind of gift. Here’s to enjoying the month of November (while secretly stashing away gifts). πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting! ❀

      I think Christmas (along with all of the other holidays) has become so over-commercialised that a lot of the fun of Halloween, Christmas etc. has been replaced with an awful lot of stress and spending large amounts of money to see who can buy the biggest or best presents.

      I think it is such a shame that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost and replaced by buying expensive gifts etc. instead of remembering that the season should be about showing goodwill to all. Christmas can also be a very lonely time of year for some people and while I like watching kids open their presents etc. the actual day itself is not something I look forward to all that much.

      Getting all of my prep done in the months before Christmas means that I can enjoy the true spirit of Christmas more than someone who is rushing around and stressing out about last minute arrangements. The Christmas season is a time for goodwill, love and forgiveness and I think that, in our rush to get ready for Dec 25th, we sometimes forget the simple things and these are usually the things that will make or break someone's Christmas more than whether or not they got the present they really wanted.

  2. Oh I am so jealous that you are so organised. I am having a Bonfire Bonanza over the coming 10 days starting on Bonfire night, so as you are so organised you will have time to perfect your skin care and make-up for the party season won’t you? Happy November, sit back and relax as the rest of us go mad. πŸ™‚

    • My organisational skills have been developed through necessity and it’s become a habit that I’ve found impossible to break. I’m not a huge fan of busy shops at the best of times and so I am quite happy that I don’t have to rush around in December trying to get everything organised!

      I’ll try not to look too smug as I watch everyone around me pull their hair out about Christmas….. πŸ™‚

  3. I always say we’re going to be done BEFORE Thanksgiving….and some years I have actually gotten most of it done….but even then there are those last minute items. The last two years, my dh and I have stayed home on Black Friday and just sat at the computer ‘shopping’… not to get the ‘deals’ but because that’s a day we have off together and it’s more productive to shop online than fight the crowds. I do hope to get more done this month before that though, but we shall see!

    • Thanks so much for commenting, Carol! ❀

      We all have such busy lifestyles that it can often be hard to try to find enough spare time in our days to schedule things such as Christmas shopping but I find it a necessary evil to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.

      I agree that buying gifts online is a great way to avoid the crowds and I have to admit that I hadn't considered that as an option before but it will be something that I will give though to when I am planning next year's Christmas shopping list.

  4. Ok, let me just get this out of the way – I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! Phew. Now that I got that off my chest. You are so awesome Heather. I am so incredibly disorganized, it’s not even funny. I need you to rub off on me girl. I would love to be planned out and organized like you. You go girl. I hope you have a super duper aliooper (thanks tigger πŸ™‚ ) Christmas season.
    πŸ™‚ ❀

    • Thanks Staci! ❀

      I am hoping that I will have a fairly relaxed run up to Christmas now that the most stressful part of it is out the way! I do enjoy Christmas, I just don't particularly enjoy the hassle that tends to come hand in hand with it.

      I now work in a management role in my career field and so organisational skills are paramount when it comes to making sure all staff and clients are kept in the loop etc.

      How about I come visit you after my trip with Kate and give you a crash course in organisational skills? πŸ™‚

  5. I used to be so organized when it came to Christmas shopping. Each year I’d meet up with several friends of mine on a Weekend Christmas Shopping Mission. (Time to play the musical theme from ‘Mission Impossible,’ please!)

    We’d gather on a Friday morning the week before Thanksgiving and spend three (count ’em – THREE) days doing all of our Christmas shopping. We spent Friday and Saturday nights at the house of one of my friends, and we’d wrap our gifts each night while watching Christmas movies (nice photo above of Loretta Young in THE BISHOP’S WIFE, by the way – I love that Christmas movie!). By Sunday evening, our mission was accomplished – all presents purchased, wrapped, and everything completed the week before Thanksgiving.

    I’m afraid I haven’t made it the last two years because of work commitments, but I need to join up with my little band of merry shoppers again and get back in the groove.

    Good for you, Heather, for completing your Mission!

    • Thanks Kate! ❀

      I am going yo have to be both disciplined and organised soon by getting all of your gifts wrapped and sent over in plenty of time for Christmas….

      Good luck for your Christmas Shopping Mission this year!

      • I finished today… okay… I still have three gifts left to purchase, but what’s three in comparison to everything else? I feel pretty good to have it pretty much completed.

        Your post guilted me into it! πŸ˜€

        And yes… we have the Christmas exchange coming up. God bless the Post Office!

      • Well done you! πŸ™‚

        I’m glad that I guilted you into completing your Christmas shopping (just as long as you got some more gifts for me!)

        I now have to wrap all of yours and get them sent over. I’m going to have A LOT of wrapping to do….

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