When it comes to this time of year, Christmas shopping seems to be at the forefront of people’s minds. You pass through York of an evening or a weekend and can’t move for people frantically searching the shops for what they perceive to be the perfect gift for Auntie So and So who was Nan’s best friend about twenty years ago. Now, just to put this out there, I don’t like shopping. And to be fair, when push comes to shove I would say that most lads are the same. Sure, we do it. We may even put effort into it. But we don’t enjoy it.

So the run up to Christmas is by nature a bit of a nightmare scenario, traipsing round the shops in an endless cycle of trying to find something nice for people, whether that be family, friends or a girlfriend. Yet whenever I go to start my Christmas shopping there is a certain inevitability about the fact that I will never find this elusive gift and will have to resort to the “here’s that Take That CD you never said you wanted Mum” approach.

So you can imagine my shock horror when my housemate came bouncing through the door the other day with bagfuls of shopping and gleefully announced that she had a great day doing all her Christmas shopping. I couldn’t believe it. How could anyone possibly have a great day doing Christmas shopping? It’s horrendous at the best of times, I tried to point out to her. Of course she was having none of it and proceeded to show me all the wonderfully unique gifts that she had managed to find to give to people as Christmas presents.

It was at that point when I decided that maybe I’d been going about this all wrong. Maybe there were these great gifts out there that I hadn’t managed to find. So I went back to town last weekend hell bent on a Christmas shopping mission. This was it. This was the day that I was going to get everything that I had to get. It was going to be simple and easy. I would go into town, buy presents and stop for a £1 sandwich on the way home to get back just in time for the football results. Surely a piece of cake (I did buy that as well come to think of it)?

Well not quite. See unfortunately I’d forgotten one crucially important thing in my grand plan, and that is that blokes don’t know how to shop. We are genetically useless, especially when it comes to buying for the opposite sex. You can only exhaust jewellery for so long until it becomes predictable, and there’s only so many times I can walk around Accessorize before accepting that I never know what to pick and when I do pick something it will happily find its way back to the shop sometime in the new year. I was looking for a housemate’s birthday present a few weeks ago and was told by a shop assistant in Accessorize that I “looked a little lost” and “was I ok”? That about sums it up.

But of course we are all working towards that Christmas Day deadline, and unless something changes between now and then I can pretty much see the crowds of panic stricken guys wandering round the shops the week before Christmas looking as lost as ever! Honestly, if they reinvented Santa tomorrow, I’m sure a girl would be much better. He must have an absolute nightmare if he’s anything like most lads I know!

A woman's touch-easy to recognise, difficult to recreate ©Marta Crowe; Image credit: Marta Crowe

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