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Do we really expect to get £631 in our Christmas stockings?

By Holly Baxter

Published 28/11/2015

he average person now expects a haul of £631 worth of presents
he average person now expects a haul of £631 worth of presents

So, that's Black Friday over for another year, which sounds like a byword for the apocalypse, but is actually - no, forget it; it is a byword for the apocalypse. And, this week, the apocalypse came kitted out with surround-sound speakers on a TV so smart you'll wonder why you ever bothered with that student loan when you could have just deferred all your intellectual decisions to its reassuringly smooth frame.

I began my Christmas shopping yesterday, even though I have stubbornly resisted festive cheer, eschewed mince pies and turned my nose up at mulled wine until the beginning of December until this year (and, yes, I am available for motivational speeches).

Something feels wrong about muddying the November waters with talk of reindeer and rampant consumerism. For me, this month is really about one thing: commemorating the death of an anti-government protester by burning effigies of him on a pile of fire. Isn't that enough?

Apparently not - in fact, according to the latest numbers, hardly anything is enough for the Christmas-mad anymore. The average person now expects a haul of £631 worth of presents and their most desired Yuletide gift is money. Santa Claus must be turning in his grave.

I'm mystified by the fact that the UK's everyday man or woman even wants to receive £631 of awkward gifts around a rapidly shedding Christmas tree their dad nicked from Asda's Most Neglected section when the security guard wasn't looking.

Once you're past the age where it stops being cute and starts becoming sexually inappropriate to sit on Santa's knee, present-giving begins to take on the air of reviewing a mangled rodent your favourite cat just presented you from the garden: "Oh my goodness - wow. I mean …"

I don't mean to sound ungrateful to the family member who once wrapped up a How To Tell The Time cardboard clock for me with the Poundland sticker still on it when I was 15, but all of our families have their foibles. That's why the January sales exist: to assuage your disappointment on Christmas Day.

So, to everyone claiming we all desire £600-plus in gifts, I implore you to lose the rosy-coloured glasses and take a good, hard look at your family and friends. Then ask yourself: would it actually make my life better if these people - who aren't actually replicas of Prince and Vivienne Westwood - spent that kind of money on me?

Belfast Telegraph

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