Wednesday, 27 November 2013
"Are you ready for Christmas?"
My father and I place bets on how early we will be asked that question, each year. I expect my first one will happen in the hairdressers on Friday. I will pretend I haven't heard it. (I'm not, by the way).
Well, then - are you? No, I don't really want to know. Every year we hear that the seasonal retail figures for 'the high street' are disappointing - especially in recent years, now that more and more people are shopping online. The shops are getting desperate - and it shows.
Where I live, the shopping centre is open air. Yesterday I walked through it, on only November 26th, to the tune of Wizzard's "I wish it could be Christmas every day". I couldn't get away from it. Look, I didn't want to hear that banal, tired song in 1973 when it came out, and I certainly haven't wanted to hear it for every one of the 40 years since. How, pray, do the shops think this will entice me in? The same goes for the clothes stores with horrible reindeer sweaters in the window, and every single emporium trying to orientate its wares towards present giving; even Wilkinsons (where you go for your cheapo kitchen cleaner and shampoo) claimed to have the perfect Christmas gifts for all the family ("a handy kitchen gadget for Mum, and don't forget that garden tool for Dad!"). A girl in a red fleece wearing reindeer antlers stood at the door trying to spray me with perfume as I walked past. I only wanted a notepad and a pack of biros.
As for the supermarkets who start pushing overpriced chocolates and packets of red candles at you as soon as you start taking-a-cardigan-with-you-because-those-late-summer-evenings-can-get-a-bit-nippy ~ don't get me started, especially not now that people moaning about it begins as early as Christmas product promotion every year, and I'm as guilty of this as everyone else. I find the whole thing so desperate and so ghastly that this year, guess what? I'm not going to go out shopping again until January. I'm going to be one of those who shops online, instead.
I think it was buying bleach and loo paper to the sound of Elton John's appalling "Step Into Christmas" that sent me over the edge...