Culture

Never too late for Christmas shopping

Each year it is the same rush, race, organized chaos for Christmas shoppers and sales assistants/shop owners.

For Londoners, the choice is vast.

Christmas shopping London

Christmas shopping London

There is also the alternative: the mighty internet… However, this is not the same experience.

There is a certain beauty to go out and to enter a carefully decorated store – whatever the size – to feel that unique atmosphere of Christmas.

For some reasons, people want to buy expensive and big presents. Sometimes it is a real headache for sellers and buyers. It is about guiding, giving support and directing customers towards the right gift. In other words, there is no room for error! No one wants to have their Christmas ruined.

Have people lost the actual sense of Christmas?

It can be worrying/surprising to see decorations for 25th December in some shops from late August.

Technology is taking over nearly everything. From toys for toddlers to gadgets for adults. There must be WiFi, USB and other mandatory connections. Some are after the latest tablet or perhaps the newcomer that are wearables!

So, now time is running out. Just a few days to go and some are literally running after work to some shops looking for THE present(s). Late night opening and Sunday extra hours seem not enough to reach the “golden ticket” which will make that December day special.

Stepping back from the mayhem, all can look slightly over the top. We do have 11 months to plan that day. But… the last minute thing is currently part of our “busy” lifestyle. How can we be so busy? Technology is supposed to help us to have a better and easier life?!

We certainly are spending too much time on social media sharing this and that with other followers, friends and contacts.

Let’s scrap this for a short time and concentrate on the most urgent task to complete then eventually “instagram” the moment. There is always a solution to purchase something for someone. What is important to remember: it is all about the thoughts and not the price tag or the size of the Christmas gift. Everyone is after a little something! It can be a book instead of a Kindle, a voucher instead of a garment.

In the recent years some people have decided to orientate their choices towards hotel stays or fishing holidays in order to give something different and usable whenever it is convenient for the recipients. Tastes are changing and receiving a pass for a holiday or leisure park is certain to please everyone and there is no worries to have about sizes, colours…etc

What does this mean?

No need to stress, rush and panic as in most cases the simpliest things will please everyone. A Christmas present is not just for Christmas… but for the entire year.

Keep Calm Christmas Poster

Keep Calm Christmas Poster

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Culture

The aftermath of Christmas shopping

When Summer holidays end we can already hear people counting down to Christmas – then, some shops get some decorations on their shelves. Marks and Spencer even sell mince pies in October with a “used by 1st December“. Today, the festive food is totally ready to go. However here again, there are “Christmas mini sausage rolls” for sale but “used by 12th December“?

So, what is it with all this shopping? A kind of need to shop & buy expensive and big gifts? But, should we question whether people are misunderstanding what Christmas is about?

The size and price of the present(s) should be irrelevant – it should be all about the thoughts. A book or a scarf are and should be sufficient to please the other person. However, for some unknown reasons individuals seem to make their own lives more difficult by going to town centres many times… and at the busiest times too. Saturdays and Sundays should be avoided. It is ├╝ber busy and the stress and tension are very high. It all looks like an assault course, with a lot of angry faces when it comes to queue (patiently) to reach the till.

Christmas shopping Covent Garden by night London

Christmas shopping Covent Garden by night London

The craze is in full swing. When you think that we all have 11 months to think of what to buy for family members, sadly and maybe because of our busy urban lifestyle, it happens that we run out of time.

Also, it is not just about gifts but the food seems to be important as well… maybe too important? Is December the month where we should spend all our savings – just for a couple of days of celebrations during the festive season?

Some of us faced the incredible “black Friday“! Buying because products are reduced: why not as long as we actually need it. Others decided to queue outside some stores from midnight because the aim was to buy to re-sell online for the second wave a few days later – that was “cyber Monday“.

Cyber Monday Vs Black Friday infographic

Usually, after this mad rush to High Streets (wherever you are in the UK), there is the aftermath and spiral of depression. In other terms, after the euphoria comes the massive drop because financial resources are thin(ner) – but life continues with the regular bills to pay. It can be a struggle for some households.

The other potential situation is the rubbish collection. A few years back, some cities were knee-deep in refuse black bags. Exeter was one of them but according to Exeter City Council this was NOT a major issue! In recent news, Newton Abbot recycling centre won’t accept waste from Torbay and this is all due to budget! This doesn’t mean that it will be closed – it is simply the fact that Torbay residents HAVE to use their own recycling plant they have contributed for, rather than the one from their neighbours! Alternatively, some streets and neighbourhood communities could decide to hire a skip from Devon experts – this would avoid all inconvenience. Should this be the way forward?

The aftermath of Christmas can truly cause mayhem in streets of certain cities/towns. Here again, all councils have eleven months to plan and deal with the exceptional excess of cardboards and other packaging from these few festive days.

Why in the twenty first century, are we still facing such predictable and obvious chaos?!

Christmas aftermath dinner

Christmas aftermath dinner

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