I have been banned from putting up any more Christmas decorations until December – in my own home, by my own children.
Admittedly, Christmas has been arriving earlier every year in our house, but I thought I was being restrained. It’s just some new string lights in the dining room window (industrial style bulbs – very cool), and an illuminated rustic twig wreath in the hall and a winter candle in the front window.
But no, it’s too much, said the kids. “Stop now, or Christmas won’t be special,” they warned, with a look of disapproval mixed with mild exasperation and amusement (a look I am becoming increasingly familiar with as they get older).
I’ve agreed to rein it back but am disgruntled. It’s been a month since I wandered into the Homes section of my local M&S and found myself in a heavenly shopping grotto, glistening with frosted nordic wreaths and fairy lights, snow globes and gilded berry garlands and stag heads to hang on the wall. I wanted it all, especially the stag heads, although we’ve already got three and my husband says I’m not to bring any more home, no matter how cute they are.
In common with the entire British High Street, I like to start my Christmas far too early. This year, however, my children’s reservations have caused me to ponder whether this premature over-excitement really is as harmless as I have always maintained.
Why am I buying new stuff when I have four boxes of decorations on top of my wardrobes? Why can’t I stop myself making lists of stuff I might be able to pick up for a song on Black Friday next week, even though Black Friday is ridiculous, a US post-Thanksgiving shopping custom that makes no sense over here?
Not that we British are bothered about making sense – witness the rampaging pandemonium on Black Friday last year, fighting in the aisles for gigantic TVs. Vulgar and dangerous, but surely good for business? No, not really, as it was followed by sales slumps and more discounting before Christmas. Research shows Black Friday does not increase the overall amount spent during the festive period, so there. Still, well done, Asda, for saying no this year.
We love a bargain, but this rampant consumerism is yet another symptom of an addictive personality. It’s time to admit we have a problem. I am Stephanie and I am a Christmas shopaholic. It has to stop.
And it will, tomorrow, because you will never guess what I have just found online. An illuminated moose head. Gorgeous. Now all I have to do is work out where I’m going to hide it until December. So it’s really special.