Have you watched this video of Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, doing the rounds? If not, please do so. (Don’t just read the title and switch off thinking you’ve already got the gist of what he’s going to say.)
Don’t worry, I’ve not turned anti-Christmas or anything like that. It’s December tomorrow and, I assure you, I’ll be swept up by the festive magic. What I’m talking about is the needless stress and worry usually going on behind the scenes – and it turns out, I’m not alone.
Even retailers have sensed the mood of the nation and scaled things back a bit versus last year. #EltonJohnLewis aside, there aren’t really any ‘cinematic’ masterpieces doing the rounds. (LOL at this Twitter response, by the way.)
The first time that the thought of Christmas brought me out in a cold sweat was 2014. I’d been several months into redundancy, was being anti-social, and feeling incredibly low. Then I got a Christmas job at my local department store which saved my sanity – such is the power of retail. We had a family chat agreeing to forgo presents that year and instead focus on food, games, and films. Even though I had to wake at stupid o’clock on Boxing Day to work the sales, it remains one of my favourite Christmases to date. Yes, I felt incredibly guilty about being the reason for no gifts, but taking that extra pressure away from each other was the best feeling.
It got us thinking about how we used to wait for birthdays and Christmas as children to get the treats we wished for. As adults, most of us are fortunate enough to be able to buy what we want, when we want it. So, rather than being total Scrooges and giving each other nothing, we now agree a number of gifts or a spend cap up-front to keep ourselves in check. Or, even better, we opt for event/experience tickets so as not to have to find storage space in our homes for more ‘stuff’. (The latter also doubles up as a birthday gift policy among my friends.) Happy days.
But the stress isn’t always financial. There’s also the time and thought it takes to come up with something meaningful. (We’ve all made that joke about kids being more interested in the box than the gift itself.) Sometimes, no matter how well you know someone, you just cannot figure out the right gift for them. You might come up with a fantastic idea…but then it comes in/with different colours/shapes/sizes/features and, oh my word, what would you pick if you were that person?!?! <Insert mind blown emoji here.>
Some of my colleagues will scoff at this for sure. They are skilled market researchers and know how to extract key information from people without being rumbled. You should hear the variety of conversations we have at Razor HQ. I know that our resident thoughtful present-giver, Chloë F, quietly makes a note of gift ideas all year long and springs into action when the right time comes.
Inspired by the Fowler’s shopping skills, I made my first purchase on Instagram this year. It’s amazing what gift ideas you can pick up when scanning to see what public posts your friends have liked. It’s sneaky but it works!
Happy (stress-free, I hope) shopping! And do give us a shout if you need any ideas. We’re very good at brainstorming.