The Positive Pensive

An anxious pessimist tries to find the positive
Christmas presents by the tree
Lifestyle Stress

10 reasons why Christmas shopping is stressful AF

I love Christmas shopping. It’s spending money, guilt-free! But alas, it isn’t all hot chocolates and skipping merrily from shop to shop with my credit card out.

Oh no. Because of course, whilst I’m out doing my Christmas shopping and feelin’ mighty festive, so is everyone else.

This, inevitably, causes rather a bit of stress. Not to mention that shops seem to take on some mind-bogglingly irritating habits and the whole process can take ages.

Hmm. Now that I think about it, there’s actually quite a few things that can make Christmas gifts a less-than-serene experience for us all…

1. Decision-making

For some people, you might know exactly what you’re going to buy them. This is nice and easy. What is not so easy is buying gifts for new additions to your list – friends, partner’s families, etc.

And so, Boots’ (other retailers are available) never-ending aisles of 3 for 2 gift offers is problematic. You flit between alleyways of beauty, fragrance, Nando’s kits (???), and brands you’ve never heard of attempting to find just the right thing that won’t break the bank.

This often means going back and forth about twenty times before making a decision and joining the now much-longer queue. Sigh.

Your decision was bad and you should feel bad

So you’ve finally made a decision on the best Boots has to offer. You continue your so-far-successful spending spree by popping into another shop – and are met with horror.

Their offers and products are much better than the ones you just spent 20 minutes deciding on.

Unfortunately, the shame of returning your newly bought items in favour of these much better ones would be too much to bear. Christmas shopping is a rollercoaster of emotions, and it’s time to resign yourself to the fact that this is your life now and your decision-making is terrible. Sorry.

Handling money

You’re going to pay for something in change? Are you absolutely sure?

Better count it three times just to make sure the cashier doesn’t think you’re the kind of fuckwit who can’t add up basic change.

Count it again just in case.

And be thoroughly prepared to ensure you don’t drop any change they give you back, since they’ll basically hand it to you like this.

Handling plastic money

Contactless is probably one of the greatest technologies of the last few years (probably). It does, however, have an anxiety-inducing downside.

Your next purchase is over £30. You’re in the queue, ready to GTFO of here.

But wait.

WTF is your pin again? Heaven forbid you be that guy and hold everyone else in the world up while you go ‘Oop, hope this is the right one..!’

(But seriously, we’ve all been there amirite?).

Other people

Sure, just stop and talk to your friend right in front of me at the end of the aisle. Honestly, don’t worry about it.

And while we’re here, it’s totally fine that your small child just ran over just ruined my ankle for life with their scooter.

Honestly, totally fine.

Christmas songs

Why is it that the same song follows you around on your shopping spree? What is with that?

I love a classic Christmas number. Seriously, I’m all about them. Give me Wham! And The Pogues any day of the week after December 1st. My mum will fight you if you skip Shakin’ Stevens. Everyone’s got their favourites.

Of course, there’s the antithesis of this, which is being trapped in a queue listening inevitably to the one song you hate. Do not give me Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, ever.


Would you like a bag?

Ooh, I’m alright thanks, I’ve got loads.

Watch as I hold up the queue and struggle to fit all the items in this shitty, stupid bag that:

a) is buried in the depths of another bag

b) won’t unfold

c) is actually too small to hold these items
The cashier looks at you vacantly as you wrestle your purchases into your shitty, stupid bag and the people behind you collectively sigh and tut. 5p would have saved this embarrassment.

Super-human strength

On the subject of bags, how do you end up with so many?

God forbid you go home, or drop things off at your car. Oh, no. Now is the time to truly test yourself – while everyone else’s Irritating Mode is ramped up to 11 and your blood sugars are low.

NOW is the time to find your true strength, traipsing around shops with three bags on each arm, and two in one hand.

How did you not realise that in only a matter of hours, you could become the strongest of them all?

Looking like you might need to talk to someone

No, I don’t normally buy a litre of gin and a Jack Daniels gift set at 10am. It’s fucking Christmas, quit it with your judgemental eyes.


Wrapping paper

Are they ever going to make a carrier bag that doesn’t make you look like a total tit trying to keep wrapping paper from falling out or moving around all the time?

Like, seriously? People have to buy this every year. How have we as a human race invented 3D printed beating hearts but not come up with a solution for this most basic of problems? No-one is looking like this woman. No-one.

BONUS ROUND: It’s wrapping time!

Wrapping gifts to impossibly neat standards

It’s a box. You can wrap a perfectly square object, right?

WRONG. NO, you can’t. After years of gift buying, you’re still absolutely terrible at wrapping presents.

God help you if you cut the paper too small, or –gasp- it rips at a crucial moment. Or the sellotape sticks to itself. Or you have to wrap a circular object.

The gift bag is your friend. Embrace it.

Worrying you’ve done yourself an injury

After hours of standing, or adopting a posture that resembling Gollum, you realise that this whole wrapping malarkey ain’t half difficult. You now have to clear up the bits and pieces of paper that have somehow strewn themselves everywhere and, honestly, you might need a little lie down.

Wait. Did you take the price tag off?

You’re not sure?

At this stage, it’s probably best you just have a glass of mulled wine and congratulate yourself for making it this far.


Honestly, just get Amazon up and grab yourself a mince pie. You deserve it.

2 Comment

  1. The one thing I like about gift shopping in Germany (and wish they did in the UK): most shops gift wrap your purchases, they even often have a desk or two set up specifically for gift wrapping – including one or several pairs of skilled hands to do this for you..and..wait for it….FOR FREE !

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