Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas Shopping

Christmas gift-buying is genuinely one of the most stressful things.

I started my Christmas shopping just after my birthday, towards the end of November, as I felt that this was a pretty good time. To be honest, I was probably a little late with getting the ball rolling, but I hadn't intended on buying much for people. I had a short list I was buying for, which in the end came out at merely six people. Two friends, three family members and my boyfriend. I limited it to this number because I did not want to spend money that I don't really have.

 I had a very vague idea what some of them wanted, and some of them I had the perfect present in mind. My dad even ordered his own present from me, because he already knew exactly what he wanted, and when it arrived I wrapped it and placed it beneath the tree.

On top of that, it's come to my attention that I need to invest in a few more gifts. I'm actually going to hopefully get the last of my Christmas shopping today with Amy, but I'm panicking a bit. It's so close to Christmas and I've never left it this late before.

I was reading a little article written by the oh-so-hilarious Sarah Millican for the Radio Times (I've been reading the magazine in great depth over the past week, can you tell?) in which she stated that  as adults we still write lists of things we want for Christmas, because we don't really want any great surprises. I know I prefer to have told people what I want, it saves for disappointment on the day and the awkward "... it's what I've always wanted..." moment in which you smile sweetly and say thank you, and you genuinely do appreciate the thought, but you wish that it had been something you actually asked for. Needless to say, I've had many a present that I've said 'thank you' for and then never looked at again.

This very negative outlook on present buying might sound selfish or non-appreciative, but I don't intend for it to come across that way. I do appreciate every single present I receive. The time and effort people have put in, the money they've spent and the fact that they even thought of me in the first place does make me feel joyful and generally quite cheery, it's nice to feel like people think you're worth all of the hassle of Christmas shopping. The queues, the late nights stressing over what to buy, the crowded shop floors, or having to make a special trip to the sorting office because you missed a parcel... again.

Knowing all this from my own perspective makes buying gifts much harder. I spend a lot of time thinking about what the right thing to get is, do I go small and look stingy or do I buy more and look show-off-y. It's a vicious cycle of wanting to spend money, not wanting to buy tacky gifts and making sure that what you're buying is genuinely going to be appreciated.

I absolutely hate the thought of someone I'm buying for opening a gift that I've given them and hating it. Inevitably, they wouldn't tell me so I'd never know, but the thought of it just makes me feel terrible. I love my friends and family, of course I do, otherwise I wouldn't bother buying them presents. I want them to know that, and I feel that buying them any old piece of tat will not get that message across enough.

The old phrase "money can't buy happiness" is true, but this Christmas I've spent money that I don't really have on the people I love through fear that my gift-buying skills are not up to scratch.

What do you think? Have you gone overboard with the gift buying this year? Or have you managed to budget yourself and limit yourself to a few small gifts for a few fantastic people? Let me know in the comments!

Merry Christmas!

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