You’re standing in a monstrously long cue in Morrisons and number of self-service checkouts blink red. A sea of disgruntled shoppers grumble simultaneously as ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ plays for the umpteenth time. A baby wearing a reindeer onesie chimes in with a ferocious battle cry and proceeds to drool absently into the distance. An elderly man mutters something racist and stares resentfully into a punnet of brussel sprouts. You only came in for some loo roll and maybe an avocado, if it was on offer…
The dead eyed expression of a Santa hat-clad cashier says it all; his eyes, in fact, scream it- Christmas is coming. You won’t notice at first. It starts with a few promotional offers on mince pies and some decorative mistletoe in your local Sainsbury’s. As the weeks progress, your local shop transforms into a fucking grotto.
Navigating your way around the jubilant, brussels sprout-laden shitstorm can be somewhat tricky. Long cues, creepy shopping centre Santas, novelty head wear, fake snow, Mariah Carey- all these things are designed to break you… So I’ve compiled some quick shopping survival tips to ensure that you have a merry little Christmas. Or at least a bearable one.
Avoid the rush and shop early:
If you want to ensure that you grab the best, most affordable gifts then you will need to beat the crowds. Arriving late will ensure that you’re left with rubbish odd bits which you will have to present to your family as gifts. Rise early and get down to the high street just as the shops open. Doing this in the middle of winter isn’t ideal, but just imagine your nan’s face when you give her a pair of boot socks. Once you’ve gotten everything you need, make a triumphant exit. Glide down the escalator majestically and laugh smugly in the face of flustered shoppers.
Just do it online:
You must remember that festive shopping is not like normal shopping; it evokes a primeval rage in people when two-for-one offers on Toblerones are involved. If you go outside, you risk acquiring a black eye from an angry shopper and getting rained on. Online shopping allows for meticulous gift buying; you can scope out the best prices amongst an array of websites- just at home, with gin.
Start a new ‘anti consumerist’ chapter in your life:
It seems a tad silly to think about buying gifts for others when you’re struggling to afford rent, food, travel, books and beer… You could just boycott the whole gift-buying part of Christmas and use the time to really appreciate your loved ones. How long will this chapter in your life last? You don’t know; you’re in such a state of euphoric enlightenment that you haven’t contemplated this idea. You are zen and disconnected from all material things. But you suspect that your return to consumerism will begin around Boxing Day, just in time for the sales.