To clarify, I have been one of 'Santa's little helpers' for a few years now. I'm not going to deny it - when the season is in full swing, so is the stress hormone. There are many Elves like me rushing around at this time of year. Some get their jobs done far sooner than December - these Elves have my utmost admiration; my Elf hat goes off to you, my friend. However, the majority of us are a little bit unorganised, leaving all festivities and planning until the month of December. There's a part of me that thinks Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the mad 'pressie' dash. Where's the fun in a super organised, structured Christmas? Christmas is supposed to have its 'moments' - just like life. But when it's Christmas, everything will be okay in the end - even if you end up with burnt turkey (what are processed turkey slices for, eh?). That being said, this Christmas Elf wanted a fairly relaxing Christmas, but there was nothing worse than the thought of joining the 'Christmas crowds' in a shopping centre. I thought that I'd take a leaf out of mother's book this year when I decided to do all my Christmas shopping online. Was it less stressful? Absolutely not.
There are pros and cons to every experience and there are definitely pros and cons in the development of technology. It is absolutely top notch that we can stay connected all the time with friends. It's also absolutely fabulous that we can spy on people who are miles away with their constant feeds of pictures and tweets. It's also too good to be true that you can shop thousands of products all while sitting on your derrière. No longer do we have to be brave and face the crowds of Christmas past. Goodbye are the days where we're forced to stare at fleeced shelves post Christmas dash. We can say farewell to the gym work out that we didn't sign up for because F.Y.I, hauling heavy shopping bags from shop to shop is certainly harder than it looks. And yes, we can also avoid the surging panic we feel when we hand over swarms of cash and then find our purses to be empty - we can just click and forget. Yes, there is no denying that by avoiding these factors the experience would be more enjoyable. Hence, shopping online becomes more of an appealing method for purchasing gifts. In fact, when it comes to Christmas shopping, it almost feels a little too easy. I was tracking down my presents in seconds as I typed at lightening speed into the google search bar, clicked on the item, added it to my basket, proceeded and BAM - purchase was complete. I almost felt enlightened. A few days later, 'Knock, knock' - 'who's there?' Why it was Santa Claus of course (a.k.a - Postman Pat).
But obviously, there's a spanner in the works to be found with the whole process. Shopping online made me feel a bit deflated. Christmas shopping is supposed to be a 3D experience. I want to see the shops decked out with tinsel, baubles and it's a bonus if the store has a tree. The sightings of frantic shoppers remind me I'm not alone. I want us to all dash together around the store. I want the ''Hunger Games' are about to begin'' moment as we dive for the last Christmas box set in sync. I want to hear Christmas songs on a loop, irritating me while also bringing music to my ears. I want to wait in the queue, glance down and savour the moments of admiration at the fantastic gifts I've just selected as they beam in my basket. There isn't so much as a Christmas jingle after making a Christmas purchase online. Instead, I just have a headache from the glare of the screen and find myself in recovery after being assaulted by a massive 'THANK YOU FOR YOUR ORDER' message once again. Shopping online didn't give me any festive experience - I just got to know my postman very well.
Shopping for Christmas gifts online was also very overwhelming. Pop-ups of 'the world's greatest socks' flashed in my face and I felt like I needed to buy them. Temptations were high and before I knew it, I'd signed up to buy a litter of tigers from Africa. I also battled with delivery charges - they made me question my whole purchase. £4.99 for standard delivery? I felt like I may as well have bought the delivery vans. Sure, I have saved some time in my day by doing my shopping online in one way. I haven't had to hunt the shops head to toe for the products I wanted. I also haven't needed to even tie my shoe lace and move any muscles other than my hands (only manoeuvring around the keyboard, mouse and my snack bowl). However, I completely forgot about all the days that I would need to hideaway in my house waiting for the postman to deliver my vast amount of orders.
If I was lucky, an email would send me a chirpy message telling me exactly when my package would arrive. The majority, however, were elusive and liked to keep me on my toes. Would I be able to shower or would the delivery man decide that it was an apt time to deliver the goods? I was living in suspense and I can tell you now, the whole experience put me a little on edge. I was the creepy girl who never got dressed. I peeped though my blinds spying on any potential vans that might host the man that would deliver my much anticipated parcels. The 'small talk' involved was also painful - 'Delivering many parcels today?' I'd sing - obviously, it was his occupation. A memorable chat was when one of them thought I was ill - can a girl not wear her polar bear dressing gown with no makeup without being questioned?!
I can safely say that I am happy that all parcels have arrived. While I'm not best pleased that one was lost along the way and will be a belated Christmas gift, on the whole, my online shopping was successful. However, what I didn't realise was that I missed the 'real life' Christmas shopping experience. I like playing 'dodge 'em' with the other customers as we weave around each other grabbing gifts from the shelves. I also miss being handed my purchased items in a Christmassy bag and a 'Merry Christmas' wish from the employees. But what I missed the most were the Christmas decked shops - I really could've done with seeing a Christmas light this year.... Hey ho - an Elf has got to live and learn, right? All I know is that if I see another cardboard box addressed to me - next time, it better be from Santa and not from my credit card.