I’m sure it’s true that Christmas shopping expands to fill the time available. I’m the sort of person who’s more inclined to celebrate Buy Nothing Christmas than the sales but I still find myself drawn to what passes for a high street in the small town where I live. (Just one more bag of satsumas and my Christmas will be perfect...) I’ve even found myself going round the shops in the small city near where I live.
Here’s a tip. If you find yourself sucked into consumerism, go to a city on a Saturday in December. Instant aversion therapy. I never got the idea of shopping as a leisure activity, even at the best of times (ie not December). Yes, the hunter-gatherer instinct kicks in when I’m going round the farmers’ market and that gives some satisfaction. And I still can’t resist shoe shops, even though I never buy anything. (That’s more to do with the size of my feet and the state of my finances than any moral high ground.)
And, for some reason, if I’m in a museum, I always have to go round their shop. It’s a bit like reading Christmas catalogues: I know I won’t buy anything but I look anyway. Explain that if you can (preferably using the phrase ‘cognitive dissonance’). Maybe there’s some vestigial inner girly type programmed into me that comes out when I’m off guard.
Because I’m only in the museum because I wanted a sit-down. And there’s the museum shop looking like Santa’s grotto. And there I am going in. And there among the expensive tat I come across this: a small box of twigs. Price: £2. The twigs are imported by a company in Holland. It doesn’t say where from (or what the twig miles might be). The box is about the size of a matchbox. The twigs are tied in bundles (it doesn’t say who by). Next to this are similar boxes containing vaguely ‘natural’ items. Such as slices of slightly larger twigs. I’m not making this up. Possibly they are supposed to be Christmas decorations. But I have twigs in my garden. I leave the shop and spend the money on beer instead.