Opinion: Doesn't anyone have anything better to do than shop on Christmas Day?

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Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes… It’s meant to be the one day of the year when you can have a total rest. No work (for most of us), nothing to do indoors other than eat, drink and be merry and with no real shops open, no reason to be tempted to spend cash on anything other than spare batteries that you forgot for those gadget presents and some cream for the mince pies.

So what on earth possessed people to finish up their turkey and pigs-in-blankets, watch the Queen’s Speech and then nip upstairs and buy a TV or toaster from the likes of Comet or Currys.

Christmas is a time to be with the family, or if not, it’s a time to get drunk on Advocaat or Sherry so that your handy is not even steady enough to use a mouse. It is not the time to be shopping online, no matter how many bargains there might be out there.

Still, the stores aren’t complaining. A whopping £50m was spent over the internet on December 25 as many sites decided for the first time to put up their sale stock up for perusal ahead of opening on Boxing Day. This allowed people to reserve it and then pick it up the next day, which is a good move for the shops, but what on earth does it say about our society!

I’m not going to harp on about the religious aspect of Christmas – for most of us, that hardly has any relevance and there are plenty of people who don’t celebrate that side of it anyway. But, from a purely lifestyle point-of-view, can’t people keep off their computers for just one day of the year?

How obsessed are we for bagging a bargain that we have to log on on Christmas Day, when we should be partying, stuffing our faces with chocolates, playing crap games with the kids and cracking jokes at the expense of our strange relatives.

I don’t care if there’s a Samsung telly with £100 off or a Garmin Nuvi sat-nav at Halfords with £70 slashed from its price. The Internet has changed many things for the better in this world, but in this case, it has ruined what is the best day of the year, whatever your religion – it’s the one day we can all spend with family and/or friends and just relax.

In The Sun yesterday, James Roper, of online retail body IMRG, said: “The web fills an important niche – when stores close the desire to shop doesn’t go away.” Mmm, neither does the pure capitalist greed to make money it seems either.

Surely people can wait 24 hours to find their bargains, after all, queuing up with hundreds of other people, getting squashed and fighting, is much more fun.

The fact 3.6 MILLION people decided to use their Christmas Day to shop for cut-price items, just proves we’re fast-becoming a nation of Scrooges obsessed with saving money and shopping, at the expense of everything else.

What on earth Charles Dickens would have made of it, I don’t know? Mind you, presumably he’d have been too busy logging onto Amazon.co.uk to snap up a couple of cheap novels.

Jonathan Weinberg is a journalist who loves Christmas and thinks those web stores who opened on December 25 are the virtual equivilent of The Grinch!

Jonathan Weinberg