Monday, 20 December 2010

Jingle Bell Shop

Christmas is almost upon us. Five days to go and counting. I admit I am feeling not only decidedly festive, but also particularly smug. You see, I managed to get all of my Christmas shopping done over a week ago, bar a couple of last minute stocking fillers I picked up on Friday. And, lo and behold, it was a relatively stress-free experience. Relatively.
Okay, so I cheated a bit and did a lot of my shopping online. Of course this strategy has backfired somewhat. My last order from Amazon was placed over a week ago and I have three parcels that have yet to arrive, despite being dispatched at the beginning of last week. I wait for the postman to arrive with baited breath, praying that they turn up before I begin my pilgrimage Up North on the 23rd. Amazon assure me they are trying to get everyone’s orders to them before Christmas, but this does not relieve my anxiety, having previous experience of our local Royal Mail depot. Mmm.
Much more trustworthy, if a little time consuming, were the presents I made myself. I like to think my handicrafts will be received well. Last year my draught excluders seemed to be a hit, especially with my friend who ordered another one for her mother in law this year. I’m already thinking what I can make next year – especially as there is a chance I will be on the dole and money saving enterprises will be much more of a necessity. May be I could set up my own cottage industry to help ease the financial burden?
The weekend before last I did a double whammy. On Saturday I headed over to Greenwich Market for a couple of bits for my sister and cousin (I can’t say what in case they read this before the big day!) and picked up a few stocking fillers for my parents, too. On Sunday I ended up on Oxford Street , despite vowing that I would avoid it this year. My mum decided she wanted to see the Christmas lights in the West End and, in fairness, it wasn’t too hectic. We arrived nice and early, and although it did get a bit busy after lunch, we managed to get around all the shops what we wanted. Thank goodness for the huge Marks and Spencer’s at Marble Arch, that’s all I can say.
So, with a trip down Upper Street earlier this month getting me off the starting blocks and a last minute flurry in Oxfam seeing the last fair trade item ticked of my Christmas shopping list with a week to go, I think I did quite well. I now have a pile of parcels waiting to be carted off in a suitably large suitcase, minus a couple of packages I put in the post, which set me back almost as much as the cost of the gifts inside. And I have managed to spread the cost quite nicely over a couple of credit card bills (phew).
So yes, I am quite proud of myself. I just hope that I have hit the mark with the various gifts I have rustled up for my friends and family. Now all I have to do is wait and see what Santa brings me.
Merry Christmas!

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