Every year I get more and more frustrated as everyone uses the “Halloween” or “Christmas” when they’re referring to the much older event of Christmas shopping. The first shopping season it’s historically associated with is Easter, spring. The start of that Easter holiday is typically not until mid April but Easter will be celebrated between 27 and 29 April this year. The Christmas season basically originated as an English term for the week when everyone would go into town to look for the best deals on presents for their loved ones. A lot of stores that are actually open on Easter Sunday, actually get a bigger crowd than on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, including Argos. But my question is, has the shopping season changed all that much? All it takes is one person complaining about their children being bored and then Christmas will start again!
This whole Christmas season has been slightly disrupted, especially now with the decision to move Christmas Eve to Saturday. A lot of shops, particularly in Brighton and the South Coast, now have extended opening hours on Christmas Eve. This has really affected “pre-Christmas” shopping, so-called “Christmas gift bags”. What happened to “shop early and save later?” You used to have to go on Boxing Day to do the “Christmas gift bags”.
I visited M&S in King’s Road earlier this week, in an effort to get an insight into Christmas 2017. I was asked to leave the changing rooms, immediately after being told the shop was now open 24 hours and would be collecting all my unwanted Christmas stuff. I did not hesitate to go elsewhere for the day because I did not want to return home with 50 minutes of running up and down in the cold. The M&S clerks, some of whom have been there for over 20 years, seemed nervous and un-confident about opening up such a late on Boxing Day. This seems to be the norm now, I only shop there on Saturdays when they close their doors at 5pm.
However, this really started to put me off since if I didn’t get it on Boxing Day I’d have to pay for it. I went to M&S with a colleague who has worked there for 14 years and pointed out to the people there that it’s really only true if you can’t find something that is nearly sold out on Boxing Day. I think it’s quite rare to have a box of last year’s presents that hasn’t been sold. I asked the store assistant at M&S if they were worried about missing the sales or upsetting any staff by opening such late. He said that it didn’t really affect them and we could come back as and when we could. I felt under a lot of pressure to go there to get things and leave without them. I really don’t think that they should be booking their Christmas sales hours so late. I think that Christmas is a time for family and friends not to be worried about getting their gifts on a popular buying day.