Forget loo rolls, pasta and petrol.. my 'panic' buy is advent calendars / Sue Plunkett column
No, not loo rolls, pasta or petrol but ... advent calendars!
Hundreds of them packed in boxes on a supermarket shelf devoted to all things Christmas caught my attention with a mixture of excitement and horror as the thought of the festive season loomed large in my mind.
Excitement, because who doesn't love Christmas? And horror, at the thought of all the over spending on gifts, food and drink the festive season usually brings.
I have already bought a couple of presents for family (the first one was purchased in September) Not because I am a great organiser, believe me I am the opposite, but I saw the item on the shelf and thought it would be an ideal gift for the person I had in mind.
Anyway I bought the advent calendars, one each for my kids, one for my daughter's partner and one for my other half. It's not something you ever grow out of receiving I don't think, even though the advent calendars of today are about daily chocolate treats and not at all symbolic of the days leading to the birth of Christ.
The festive purchase got me thinking about all the presents I have to buy this Christmas and how I had better make a start. Now my daughter is an adult and my son a teen it's lot easier to buy for them, I just ask what they want and tell them to put it on their list.
Clothes, make-up and jewellery are usually the norm for my daughter, who is now 23, but hardly any of the items my son has requested are under £100!
I drew looks of disgust and puzzlement in a well known sports store recently when I picked up a child's branded tracksuit and exclaimed out loud 'How much?" when I saw the price tag.
£120 for the flimsiest fabric ever but because it has that all important 'name' on it they cam charge a small fortune.
Right, I am sounding like a miserable old 'so and so' now as I slip into the 'when I was young we never had any of that designer rubbish' cry. I don't think we did though.
I thought I was the bees knees when I got a pair of Wrangler jeans!
I do enjoy choosing a gift that someone really appreciates and it makes me reflect on all the memorable gifts I have received over the years.
One was a bottle of Pernod with a branded glass for my 21st birthday (which is four days before Christmas).
Amidst all the beautiful jewellery and cash this was the thing I loved most for some reason. Pernod was 'the' drink of the day and, mixed with orange, was a sweet , heady concoction and I loved it, until one New Year's Eve when I drank too much of it and spent a day in bed recovering from the after effects.
My children once bought me a signed and framed photograph of Robbie Williams, one of my favourite artistes. It took pride of place on my mantelpiece even though many doubted it's authenticity.
I didn't care as it was bought for me with love so it was the perfect gift.
This year I uttered the words 'let's not bother with presents for each other' to my partner Ian and he nodded in agreement. But as soon as the words left my lips I regretted it.
So, if he is reading this, the deal is off and, like my kids, I have a list for Santa all prepared!