December 16th 2011 – By Mark Brough | Senior Copy Writer
... and says to the assistant “Please help me - I have 48minutes before the shops shut and I still need to get another seventeen Christmas presents!”.
That was how I used to spend pretty much every Christmas eve – running around shops like a disorientated looter, drunk on the high of too many possibilities. But no matter how many options there were, I could never find anything that seemed like a good idea to buy for any of my friends or relatives.
Apparently I wasn’t alone; I often used to catch the sympathetic eye of a fellow frantic shopper (inevitably male), looking like he’d just been told that earth was about to dry up and he had to transport the Atlantic ocean to a safe house in Scotland. Using a thimble.
When I eventually did make it home with my presents (usually after an evening of Christmas merriment in my local pub), the worrying task of wrapping began. This is not a job that comes naturally to me. And at 2am, sleep deprived and after several celebratory pints, it became damn near impossible.
Sellotape became an adhesive enigma, wanting only to stick to itself and paper that wasn’t ready for sticking. Presents gained jaggedy-edges and changed shape and size while I cut the paper. Labels disappeared and creating bows required skill I simply didn’t possess... not that that stopped me trying of course.
And then, when I finally managed to wrap a present, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what was in it. So it had to be unwrapped and the whole process started again. Many a Christmas morning I awoke slumped in amongst a pile of semi-wrapped presents, tape and paper stuck about my person.
Then, a few years ago something happened. I bought a Christmas present in November. The feeling of relief and organisation was phenomenal. By December 16th I’d done all my shopping. It was the best Christmas I’d had since I was a wee boy.
And then I discovered online shopping. Christmases will never be the same panic-fuelled hysteria ever again.
Of course I do still pop out to the shops on Christmas eve, but not to buy anything. I simply go to watch with fond nostalgia the men running around, trying frantically to find a present for someone special.
Have a Happy, relaxed Christmas.