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It's The Most Wonderful Time Of... Uh... Summer?

On Christmas Shopping in July - Sad or Sensible?!

The other day, we were driving... somewhere... when I spotted an advert for Christmas trees.

In July.

And, okay, I'm sure it was a pre-order type of thing (gotta guarantee you get a tree, right?), but that's not how Steve and I chose to interpret it.

We chose to interpret it as people carting their trees home right now, spending five months frantically spritzing them with hair spray in an attempt to keep the needles in place, shooing cats out of the branches and practising the best, most festive ways of stringing up the baubles (gold theme this year or monochrome?).

Or, if not that - and I think there's a money making scheme here; you're welcome - an Adopt A Tree project. Choose your sapling now and receive monthly updates regarding its height and the exact shade of green of its needles. Give it a name. Maybe "Chris".

How we laughed. People ordering Christmas trees in July indeed!

Except... except... *whispers* ...I've already bought Christmas presents for both the kids. And one of them hasn't even been born yet.

I blame the sales. I saw the perfect present for Matilda - perfect; not even stickers or a talking Sula could beat it - and it was £6 in a garden centre sale. Into my trolley it went. "I'll give it to her for Christmas," I thought. "She doesn't need any more toys right now."

And then I saw something really cute for the other kid - who won't need many new clothes and won't need many new toys and will be completely oblivious to Christmas, anyway, but who does need something that Matilda doesn't see as partly hers.

And I found a stocking filler for Matilda, too.

So, basically, if we buy a penguin shaped toothbrush (thank you, Sainsbury's) and some chocolate coins for Matilda's stocking come December - and if Steve drops a sledgehammer hint about whatever it is that he wants - my Christmas shopping is done.

I'm not sure whether to feel proud or ashamed of this. I mean: July, people, July. What on earth am I doing thinking about the festive season already?! I'm not one of those Christmassy people who pays to download Cliff Richard; I wear my seasonal jumpers sarcastically (honest); and I scoff at the spending of small fortunes on things that people don't want.

And yet, Baby Number Two will be here sometime between very late October and very early December - I don't suppose I'll have a whole lot of time or energy for thinking about shopping or browsing the irritatingly gendered gift catalogues at the traditional time of year. Or, frankly, a whole lot of spare cash to splash on big, glitzy gifts.

So getting it all out of the way now makes sense.

But still... is this me onto a slippery ski slope of present-buying? Is this how people go from being sensible £30-budget gifters to £600-a-head splurgers? It wouldn't take too many super-efficient impulse buys to find myself sliding into extravagance, would it?

But at least we're giving Steve's parents' car back soon. It's much harder to shop for Christmas trees in August when you have to drag them home on a bus.

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