by Liz Walter
With Christmas fast approaching, many of us will be busy buying presents, whether we are Christians or not, so in this blog I’m going to look at some vocabulary connected with gift shopping.
If you are a well-organized person, you will probably want to get ahead by starting your shopping early. That way, it is easier to find bargains, for example by having the time to compare prices or by looking out for special offers. Some people even use the January sales to stock up on items for the following year.
Others prefer to leave everything to the last minute. They may end up paying exorbitant prices because lack of time means lack of choice, and they risk discovering that the items they wanted to buy are out of stock. They will probably also need to find stores that offer a gift-wrapping service, since they are unlikely to have the time to buy wrapping paper and wrap the presents themselves.
What makes a perfect gift? Luxury items are always popular – it can be nice to be given things you’d feel guilty buying for yourself. However, cost isn’t usually the most important factor. Many of us like to receive gifts that have something personal about them. It’s flattering to think that someone has put a lot of thought into the present they’ve given us. For that reason, an inexpensive or even homemade gift can be appreciated just as much as the most extravagant treat.
Some people also like to buy novelty items at this time of year – unusual and often humorous goods that are designed to make us smile, but which are usually consigned to a cupboard or thrown out once the festive season is over. This sort of thing encourages complaints that Christmas has become too commercialized and that we are pressurized into buying things (often described pejoratively as tat) we neither want nor need.
Certainly, businesses spend a small fortune on adverts promoting their merchandise, and put a huge amount of effort into window displays to tempt us into their stores. All parents know the effect on children, who then pester them for the toys they have seen.
However, there are ways to counter this waste. Most stores offer a gift receipt, which doesn’t show the price but enables people to exchange unwanted gifts for something they would really like. You could buy someone an experience rather than an object, for instance afternoon tea or a ride in a hot-air-balloon. And for the man/woman who has everything, an increasingly popular option is to make a donation to a charity on their behalf by buying them something such as a goat, which is then given to someone in need.
I’d like to end by sending Season’s Greetings and wishing a Happy New Year to all the wonderful readers of this blog!