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Elizabeth Davies starts mentally preparing for Christmas and thinks online shopping offers a chance to escape the retail madness

Elizabeth Davies starts mentally preparing for Christmas and thinks online shopping offers a chance to escape the retail madness
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By Elizabeth Davies

Today is the 29th of October. There is almost a full two months until Christmas, and yet even as I write this, retailers are smothering their shops with tacky wreaths and beginning to carefully consider the simpering sentimental phrasing of their holiday slogans.

I love Christmas, I’m no Grinch. As a child of divorce Christmas involves a lot of work, a fair bit of fighting, passive aggressive gift giving and alcohol. I revel in the dysfunction that is big family gatherings.

Mum makes rum balls and plays Mariah Carey Christmas Carols on loop, Dad makes his famous side of beef and marinated prawns, one sister tells us we’re not doing presents only to surprise us with something awesome, and the other bribes me to wrap her presents and sneakily adds her name onto the end of other people’s cards. What’s not to love?

For me Christmas starts around the 15th of December, if I’m on my game. It has however been known to start on the 23rd. I work well under pressure.

This period we are entering into now is not the real Christmas, it’s a premature retail beast that serves only one purpose and that is to increase my anxiety levels. Twenty foo Christmas trees and scrawny men dressed as Santa Clause grace every shopping mall as a handy reminder that yes, Christmas will once again take place this year.

For those of us who live pay cheque to pay cheque anxiety is quick to follow these unnecessary Christmas reminders and panic ensues. It’s not just the huge financial strain associated with gift giving but also the massive costs that come with the holiday season.

Every weekend is another Christmas party, a shared lunch, an end of year celebration, a reason for a new outfit and an obligatory bottle of wine. Unlike winter, anti-social behaviour isn’t quite so acceptable.

The six weeks leading up to Christmas is the best and worst of the year. It’s not just about struggling financially, this pre-Christmas time brings out the worst in people. Try working in retail or hospitality and maintaining a smile as a customer screams at you whilst dragging a whimpering four year old by the hand.

I’m sure the next couple of months will fly by, aided by spending too much money, drinking too much cheap wine and stress crying in public. Online shopping suddenly looks very tempting.


*Elizabeth Davies is a 23 year old post graduate journalism student at Auckland University of Technology. She lives with her partner in Epsom and spends her free time refurbishing vintage furniture and attempting to bake while fighting a daily battle against her bank balance. She writes a weekly article for on money matters and financial struggles from a young person's perspective.

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I think the early Xmas shopping start has its pros and cons. Yes its annoying to have Xmas stuff spruiked this early, but on the positive side I've got 80% of my Xmas presents, crackers, booze done already. About 2 years ago after blowing my budget within 2-3 days of Xmas and stressing out badly I decided 'never again'! I have felt so liberated with my new approach! I took advanatgae of a 25% off lego sale two weeks ago and got my 5 year old daughter's present, and two nephews' presents. I saved about $60 in doing so.