As the shops are always going to be busy in December, online shopping will continue to increase. We can order from places like Amazon, even add the gift wrapping option, yet never leave home or see the recipient. Plus, we are likely to spend more on gifts when bought online because of the convenience and how it doesn't actually feel like we're spending money so should we be more grateful?
It's unlikely these days that we can get all of our nearest and dearest together for Christmas as we are often spread across the world so e-gifts do make sense and websites can help the shoppers who need inspiration without trudging around malls and markets.
Yet even with the 'age of austerity' and a bountiful array of books, websites and TV shows about how to 'make do and mend' and create something new from something old, making gifts is still often looked down upon and even young children whine, "I want the shop bought version that everyone else has." This isn't as new we think as this Huffington Post article shows. The author desperately wanted a Care Bear 20 years ago but her mother gave her a handmade copy. And she's still not forgiven.
Just because a friend can knit/crochet/paint/sew, etc - and enjoys doing it – it doesn't mean their handmade gift was less valuable or took less thought than someone who went to the shops. It takes a certain type of person to realise the time and effort that goes onto making a gift is more than a mouse click on 'Pay now' and entering credit card details.
Should we pop a card in the post or send an e-card? It's been a much debated topic this season.
I've had cards with printed address labels so the sender doesn't have to write it out each year as they send cards to so many. I'd expect this from a business but not from Aunty Flo.
I've received cards with printed 'personal' messages on the inside - and not just those personalised cards you send off for - but a shop bought card with a home-printed message so the sender didn't need to lift a pen, thanks to the handwriting style fonts available. Was I offended? Yes, I was.
But e-cards cause similar problems. Those corporate 'Smith & Sons wishes all their customers a Merry Christmas' are as impersonal as them sending to you that similar printed card but has saved the company money, so is understandable these days.
I also received e-cards addressed to me alone and I wasn't offended. While many only want to receive a card in the post - and I was still lucky enough to get plenty of those - the e-card senders were more likely to get a quick thank you reply from me.
Are all those cards to be recycled so quickly after the event only wasted trees? And are all those stamps bought just wasted money? Or does it truly make your day to receive something in the post?
Whatever our thoughts, Christmas is over for another year and I'd like to wish you a very happy new year.