“Why are retailers starting Christmas so early? ” Business

Baby’s first Christmas is a big time for mom and dad, but the infant usually ignores gifts and chews on wrapping paper. Things speed up for two-year-olds, who love presents but still prefer paper (maybe you should just wrap the cardboard box and save the presents for next year). At three years old, kids typically enjoy the whole package, from visiting Santa, leaving him a chopped pie, hanging up stockings, and tearing up presents. We had a problem in the Timpson house because one of our children was born on Boxing Day and was expecting a third batch of gifts on December 27th.

My late wife, Alex, was probably the most enthusiastic current buyer the world has ever seen. She could even keep up to date with the latest gadgets teenage needs and clothes that fit our kids in their 20s and 30s. She started buying in September – long before Cliff released her last Christmas single. But even Alex struggled to find the right gift for a parent over 40, though they were all polite enough to look happy and say thank you.

Perhaps our irritation with the hype is the suggestion that Christmas is all about buying gifts, going to parties, and gorging on turkeys and chocolates. Of course, Christmas should be more about people than about goods.

For a few years I was involved with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and found December to be the quietest month of the year. But customers poured in at the start of January, with debt and family issues at the top of the list. Problems hang over Christmas, but the traditional festive family gathering doesn’t always create feelings of goodwill.

On the bright side, Christmas is the peak time for charitable fundraising and time spent on good causes, like lunch that a friend of mine will serve for a group of underprivileged people on Christmas Day. Hopefully the festive music blaring in November helps create a more generous spirit this Christmas.

Sir John Timpson is chairman of the consumer service provider, Timpson.

Send him a question at and read more answers from his Ask John column here

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This notice was published: 2021-11-28 13:00:00

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