Friday, 23 December 2011

How to accidently hate Christmas

December so far had been festive bliss. I had that Christmassy feeling. I had spirit.

That was until today.

Taking a trip to Tesco two days before Christmas was what changed it all.

With a stressed out mother who had yet to buy a single sprout, I thought I would do an act of goodwill (‘tis the season), and help her with the dreaded Christmas food shop.

But as nothing but carnage descended on the aisles of the supermarkets today, that turned out to be a big mistake. In what can only be described as a domestic battlefield, this is how I accidently came to hate Christmas…

Rounding aisle number one I meet with the grocer shopper everyone hates – the ‘yum mum and Nigella Lawson wannabe’. Clad in this season’s finest from John Lewis and wearing enough makeup to try and knock off a few years, she manages to dart her way through the crowd and knock me out of the way to get the last bag of fresh cranberries. That’s OK, Nigella; I wasn’t going for the cranberries anyway!

Aisle number two is worse. Here, we meet the ‘clan family’ which consists of two parents and what can only be described as a flock of young children. They’re running all over the aisle, lifting food, and then throwing tantrums when they can’t get it. They run behind me, in front of me and then just stop and sit on the ground in front of my trolley. No, young child – get up and get out of my way before I tell you the truth about Santa.

Aisle three and things get worse. The number of people increases and I’m caught in some sort of trolley jam between an old man and a woman examining gravy prices. Then - just as I’m sussing out the spice rack for some cinnamon sticks - along comes ‘Nigella-Lawson-yum-mum’ again. She skulks up to the shelf beside me and scans along the rows. We know we’re both looking for the same thing and whoever finds it and grabs it first will be the ultimate winner of domesticity.

Suddenly she lunges for a jar on the bottom shelf, like an eagle swooping in for its prey. And with a quick glance and fake smile in my direction as if to say, ‘my mulled wine will be better than yours,’ she darts off again, shoulder-bumping me on the way for good measure.

So by the time I reach the final aisle, having incurred several trolley bumps and a pounding headache, I’m in no mood for the dithering granny I meet there who’s asking me where the sweet mince is. I’m sorry old lady, any other day I would help you out but this isn’t a typical super market on a typical day. This is an every-man-for-himself warzone.

Forget good will to all men. I used to believe in that.

But when it comes to the festive Tesco trip there’s no such thing as peace and love. It’s a dash for the cinnamon sticks and fresh cranberries and if you get injured on the way, tough. Better luck next year and merry bloody Christmas!