To me, the festive period is one for family, friends, fun and food - I become something of a technophobe between Christmas Eve and New Year, hence the lack of posts. What I also have a problem with is the audacity and greed of retailers - I was extremely irritated that the second message that popped up on my phone on Christmas Day was not from my best friend, but from ASOS, letting me know I had 10% extra off in their sale.
Seriously? I know the emails are automatically generated but come on. I love a new dress as much as the next girl but I think it's really sad that people are being encouraged to shop on Christmas Day.
I spent a lot of time before Christmas getting 'just one more' present for someone or other, and my local town was heaving with people laden with bags. A trip to Westfield a few weeks ago was also a frightening experience - it's so vast, full of people buying things, being sold things that maybe, in all honesty, we don't really need. I've had a consumerism revolution over the last month - in fact, all that has happened to me in 2010 has made me realise what is really precious to me, and that no, I can't buy happiness in Beyond Retro.
So if Christmas shopping was bad enough, you can imagine my horror when witnessing the Topshop sale being ripped to shreds on Christmas Eve (think piranhas, and you get the picture). I'm not saying I'm immune to ever buying anything ever again, I've just twigged that as a nation we will buy anything that is has a sale sticker on it. We even have our own version of very British etiquette when it comes to rummaging - none of the pushing and shoving you see in America, instead two girls glare at each other when both rifling through a rack of clothes, having a silent standoff to see who will step back and allow the other to continue down the rail. We've all been there. Both reaching for the same item, before an engaging in an embarrassed hand shuffle, when the more assertive woman gives the other a clenched smile while gripping the desired item and swanning off to join a massive queue for the changing rooms.
It's quite scary.
So sorry, DFS, Harveys, Next, Arcadia and ASOS - I don't shop over Christmas, and I hate seeing people piling up outside stores on Boxing Day. The 26th of December is meant to be for recovering from the day before, watching more rubbish telly, reading your new book and going on the traditional Boxing Day walk. Which for my family, looked a little bit like this:
I've never seen a properly frozen lake before. Dad and I kept daring each other to put one foot on it. So stupid.
The evening's entertainment mainly comprised playing board games and doing this to my boyfriend's cat. He loved it.
When we did venture anywhere near some shops, it was to my spiritual home of Brighton, which is my favourite place to get inspired and window shop. There is so much to look at there, so even if we don't buy anything, the boyfriend and I still feel like we have had an interesting day out.
2010 has been a weird, confusing, tumultuous year, and an awful lot has happened to me. Not to get all wistful and contemplative, but New Years' Eve always makes me think, and I have realised what I have learnt from this year. I have a whole new set of priorities for 2011, and they centre around my brilliant boy, my wonderful family, and amazing friends. Happiness is key, and it's never, ever on special offer.
Thank you for reading, see you on the other side.