Family emails, texts and phone calls were exchanged early this month. Some members are spending the Christmas holiday in Australia and the time they are away also involves two birthdays. Presents must be bought, wrapped and given by the end of November.
In order to avoid disappointment and duplication of gifts, information is gathered from parents and partners and the result is as complicated as three-dimensional chess!
Prompted by Amazon’s avoidance of appropriate UK taxes and very poor employment practices I have decided to avoid my old practice of shopping online. I don’t suppose Amazon will notice but this year I will pound the pavements and shop in real shops. I am turning my back on technology. Is it possible?
So far so good. Clothing … easy, CDs and DVDs less so but mainly possible, toys … specific requests impossible so I cheated and asked for parental help, books easy, small surprises very easy and much more fun to shop for in person than online.
The annual German Christmas Market is in town. Scrooges complain about the overpriced stalls, crowds and traffic congestion. But what can be better than wandering past the brightly lit wooden huts laden with glittering glass baubles, colourful hats and scarves, beautiful wooden toys, artisan pottery and silver jewellery, not to mention the smell and taste of hot, spicy gluhwein, bratwurst and mustard, ginger cakes and chocolate covered strawberries? It is crowded and often cold and wet, but for me it is Christmas.
Most gifts are now bought, not wrapped yet, but I’m pleased with my shopping this year. I only succumbed to the Internet once and that was for an unusual CD. My conclusion is that Amazon-free shopping has been successful.
What is your Christmas shopping experience? Do you have favourite shops or online sites?
Family went to Cadbury World and came back replete with chocolate. Very impressed with their disability provision for visitors. They even provide for ‘temporary disability’. If you are planning a visit, it’s worth checking out their website.
Books … tried to read A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir (Kindle)
I’ve decided I like my history straight and not in the form of historical fiction but this is a well researched and page turning account of the rise of the Duke of Gloucester to become Richard III.
Films … saw Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner. Timothy Spall and supporting cast are superb and the seascapes and skies breathtaking. An interesting film but maybe not for all people with VI, as the filming is inevitably atmospheric and indistinct. I do enjoy Turner’s paintings and when they showed him looking at the Pre-Raphaelites it really brought home what a genius he was.
I’ve generally avoided Amazon (have switched to Waterstones for my books as their delivery options work better). I did however get a £50 amazon voucher from a publisher the other week, and spent it on DVDs!
The only time I really use Amazon is to get books delivered to my ipad – 98% of which are free! ( so does that really count?)
£50 is too good to turn down but even free downloads count!
As to the films I have watched Thor and part of Captain America (I’m in Marvel Comic mode, can you tell?). Both are loud, a little brash, and not ones big on sublety, so perhaps good for people with VI.
I havent had the nerve to attack my foreign language (subtitled) movies as yet. Most of my collection are Bollywood, but there are a couple of wire-work movies as well that need watching. Apart from the length (most are 3 hours +) it requires a level of concentration for watching the subtitles.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes with a dubbed soundtrack if that’s easier, but since the wire-work is so central to the story, would you watch it anyway?
A lot depends on the quality of the screening and the viewers particular taste. I love audio description but it wasn’t available for this performance. I find the screen at mac is the best locally.
I’m getting hungry thinking about that German market.
I have just walked through the German Market in the pouring rain but there is a terrific sense of celebration and, oh, that yummy food!
Great festive photo, too.
Can’t take credit for that! But it does sum it up.
It is a tricky one when Amazon is everywhere and so easy to use.
The boycotting Amazon thing is something I’ve been doing for a few years now, however I do sell my own books on there as it’s the best sales marketplace for e-books still. I’ve got around the problem by making my books available on non-Amazon websites too, and am trying to make sure I tell as many independent publishers as I can do to this, too, otherwise we’re really going to suffer.
Sorry, see comment above. Afraid it got in the wrong place! I don’t know what the answer is to the Amazon phenomenon except to search out other sites to meet our needs. I take your point though about e-publishing. I suppose the expansion of Amazon was inevitable but I don’t want to play. Ian yeah, this years shopping experience has been sociable and fun.