I just got back from town. I drove there happily singing Christmas songs to myself, but came back moodily staring over the steering wheel.
I was hoping to pick up a few bits I need to make my Christmas presents. The plan was to slowly mill around, absorbing the beginnings of the festive cheer whilst picking up some bargains. Town was packed, and it's a Tuesday afternoon! I had to park sooo far away from the shops to get a free parking space (hey, I could use that £4!) and wandered down into the city centre.
Slowly picking my way through the crowds, I went to the market. I'm making my young cousin a stuffed toy and needed fabric. I couldn't find any patterned polycotton for less than £9 a metre!! What?! I only need about that but it'd be cheaper to BUY a toy at that price!
So then I thought I'd go to the charity shops and find some skirt that I could cut up and use. In Plymouth the Red Cross shop was having a £1.99 or under sale a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't know if we had one of those in Truro so I went to Oxfam. The cheapest thing I could find in there was £4.99, and it looked as though it had cost about that to buy new!! Most of the stock was priced around £10 or £15! Since when do charity shops have prices as high as the highstreet??
I was getting disenchanted by the whole affair as walking through town makes you feel like you should be spending hundreds of pounds on each family member or else you're a terrible person. I actually heard someone say, “I got ... for ..., but I still have to spend another £30 at least”. Not “I would like to get them something they'd like”, but “I have to spend this much on person X”. I'm sure I've thought similar things in the past too, but if you stop and think about it, that's an awful way to look at Christmas. Even if you are not religious but celebrate it for the traditions like me, the spirit of Christmas is still the same, and it ain't about the £££!