We've always had "family rules" around Christmas. Only thinking toys or experiences for the children - I really love a little store called Mind Games for their selections of games, jigsaws, mazes and puzzle books. And about five years ago we vowed (after a particularly harrowing carparking experience) not to visit Westfield in December or January. This prompted the rule of having Christmas shopping done by 30th November, a goal I am not going to meet this year.
Two years ago we added "not buying anything marketed in Christmas packaging". So no tins of shortbread or stockings filled with lollies. If I want fruit mince pies, I have to actually bake them.
This year we're going to do Christmas differently again. We're only purchasing Christmas gifts from independent retailers - nothing from major chain stores or shopping centres. Difficult? Not really. Brisbane is blessed with plenty of markets, City Hall runs a fabulous Charity Christmas Card Shop, the RSPCA has a pet barn at Springwood and there are plenty of independent booksellers so everyone will have their reading fix. I recommend Rosemary's Romance Bookstore in the city and Pulp Fiction if you're buying for non-romance lovers. And if you're looking for an extra special gift for a romance lover, you can't go past Romance by You , a personalised romance novel starring your romance lover and her partner, pets, friends and colleagues.
I had better get my skates on. It's just over a month until the big day...