It's done, it's over, it's finished for another year.
There are not many things on the planet that I sincerely loathe but Christmas shopping is definitely among them. I hate it.
I hate shopping at the best of times and will very rarely do it. If I have to do it, I like to do it alone and with a simple list of things that need buying and where they're most likely to be bought from. If you choose to shop with other people you run the risk of falling into this problem:
"Oh, I'll just pop in to River Island on the way past and try that top on."
And they will throw that down as though it's not going to take any more time than boiling the kettle. Then you have to stand there in a shop that is too hot and pretend you care about whether the top looks any good while you wish you had the balls to suggest you go about your shopping and meet them back at the car.
The other thing you need to avoid is getting completely finished and then someone declares:
"Oh, I just need to pop to Clinton's for Selotape."
and you realise that Clinton's is right down the other end of the high street and you are going to have to venture through the whole slalom of prams, idiots, tourists, morons and slow people before you can pick up some selotape (which will have got itself lost before you get home anyway) and finally get in the car.
The chances are the person you're shopping with will be one of the following 3 types of people:
a) A Clinger. Someone who cannot shop independently and must stay with you while you make all your choices and then insists that you come with them to do all their choosing. It's no good suggesting you all raid WHSmiths separately and meet at the till: they shop communally. Arseholes.
b) A Loser. These people will disappear for anything up to 25 minutes without giving any indication of where they're going. You do as much as you can in the immediate vicinity but then stop to wait for them. They will then reappear and look at you like you're a clinger because they're visited the next 3 shops up the road while you've been standing like a lemon looking for them. Buttplugs.
c) The Creeping Doubt. This is someone who will talk incessantly while you are making all your choices and will make you so nervous that your gifts aren't going to be appropriate/expensive enough that you end up buying nothing while they zip around the stores making it all look super easy. They are usually loaded and full of anecdotes that end with them miraculously pulling Christmas out of their asses and giving it to orphans. Scrotbags.
Of course, the hell of other people being in town is not limited to simply the people you've (semi) chosen to go out with. There are all the other muppets blocking up the pavements. I've long believed that pavements ought to have a lane system similar to roads:
A stopping lane.
A dawdling lane.
A fast people lane.
Anyone caught using the wrong lane gets shot and then laughed at.
Prams get their own lane and those pushing the prams are to receive no special treatment just because they've sprogged up. I do not want to have to give you automatic right of way just because you're a cart horse and I've stayed nimble. You made your choice, you had a kid, you've brought it out in public now deal with the fact you can barely move and everyone else hates you. There are a lot of upsides to children so think really hard about those while it takes you 9 hours to accomplish a small task and I'll be about my merry way without your scowls. Thanks.
Everyone should have to pay by chip and pin card in the week leading up to Christmas. We have no time for cash or for counting out the right amount of change. Go and put your change in your account and then use your card. If you're unable to use chip and pin then please go home, you should have shopped earlier or done it on line. We'll tell your family you tried.
I'm sure there are many more things I can think of that I would like to change about the Christmas shopping experience but I'm beginning to feel like the Grinch and I truly love Christmas so I will leave it there and go back to trying to make my wrapped presents look less like they were decorated by Abu Hamza and an enthusiastic Chihuahua.