Thursday, November 20, 2008


I took the big car in for its MOT today. This meant I was in the Big City ie Edinburgh city centre so I thought I'd take the opportunity to look round the big shops and perhaps buy a few odds and ends for Christmas. I was a bit scandalised to realise that at least half the big stores were running some sort of sale already...M&S are having a 20% off day, Debenhams have just finished (I think) a 25% discount promo, Boots are running a big points offer etc. Yet with the exception of M&S, the shops were nearly deserted.

Well I know why of course...everyone is feeling the effects of the credit crunch and the shops are desperate for turnover. It's going to be one of the worst trading Christmas periods for decades, apparently. Yet I remember (when I were a lass) that no-one really expected to be doing any of their Christmas shopping until December and even then, it didn't seem to be one massive shopfest, buying everything from new televisions and 3-piece suites to all this yad. (Yad is what my BIL calls all these totally unnecessary gimcrack bits of novelty rubbish.) You bought your family a nice little box of something or a trinket each, hit the toy shops for kids pressies, bought one new outfit and that was it. Extra box of bikkies and some satsumas for guests, dug the decorations out the attic and ordered a turkey. Wrote the cards, bought some crackers, got the kids to do something creative with glitter, arranged to meet your friends in church, a few parties, at school or down the various sports clubs. it didn;t seem to cost a mint and it certainly didn't seem to require organising from November. And it didn't require all this shopping!!! Catalogues from everyone, shops full of Christmas tat from October and every paper and magazine telling you that the only way to have a perfect Christmas is to redecorate, buy new furniture, clothes, latest electronic whatevers, a fully coloured themed set of decorations to match the new wallpaper, a 12-course chef-inspired banquet for every day of the holiday and a vast Gift Set or Gift Experience or Perfect Gift for everyone including the person who clips your dog's toenails. because if you don't, you're not having a Perfect Christmas.

Not only do folk have to cut back and economise a bit, they're being made to feel that this is a terrible thing because if they do they won't have a Perfect Christmas and then their kids and friends and relatives will think they're Scrouge and have a horrible day and it will all be their Fault. Because it's 20% off, folks! So what if you can't afford the other 80% either. It's a bargain!!

So, what did I buy today, given that it was a big Shopping Opportunity with Discount? A diary for me, a diary for Princess (it had a fairy riding a unicorn on the front so it had to be bought) and some craft paper. Total cost £4.98. I had a look round the shops then came home, feeling hot and bothered and vaguely nauseated. I feel much the same way about the way Christmas is presented these days, come to think of it. Credit crunch or not, I just don't want to do this. Which is fine because I'm pretty good at avoiding commercial pressure to buy tat I don't need. But though I can see the arguement justifying all these sales and offers from the trading result point of view, I feel annoyed on behalf of the increasing number of folk that will feel they still have to keep spending even though they can't afford to.


Rosie said...

Couldn't agree more!

Lara said...

I completely agree!

I don't think people are satisfied with being made to feel that way, either. We need to get back to spending time with family and enjoying each other, not things.

peri said...

I agree as well. For the last few years we have cut back and back at Christmas - just because I hate the commercialism and this modern geegaw of the 'ideal' holiday period (I also hate that phase, brings to mind something totally different). We aim to have a more traditional family time and with the money we don't spend on hyped up plastic rubbish we have an extra holiday or a few treat/day out trips.

In fact the next person who asks me about Christmas shopping will probably think I should have been named Ebenezer - bah humbug!

SewIknit2 said...

I'm with you on this one too!
and since when did we have to start ordering new blinds and soft furnishings and furniture "for Christmas"?
There are lots of bargains out there for those that are shopping, but its not a bargain if you didn't PLAN on buying it in the first place!
I'm glad my lads are out of the stage where they "need" tons of the plasticy gimmicky "extras" to make up their stockings, its such a terrible waste of money isn't it?
bah-humbug! pass the sherry! please? and can I have a large mince pie too!

gourdongirl said...

I totally agree with we can Baa Humbug together!

Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

After reading your post I clicked on Comment instantly to say I couldn't agree more - and found plenty of people ahead of me!

So I suspect this is a general upswelling against the new over-commercialised Christmas. I for one am now making a determined decision to reverse the trend this year. Let's all do it! We're already halfway there with making our own gifts through fibrecraft anyway.

needles said...

Add my name to the list of folks who have had it with all the commercial hype of "the holiday season", especially since here in Canada it is politically insensitive to say "the Christmas Season." I am definitely cutting back on the gifts and decorations and I expect my Christmas to be "perfect" for me and mine.