When I say I finish my Christmas shopping quite early, most people want to hit me. But there have to be some advantages to having OCD!
This year, however, disaster struck. A back injury meant that I had to miss out on my "early bird" Christmas shopping trip with my sister.
This is where I normally nail all the boring presents, for in laws, distant relatives, teachers and bin men. No offence intended if anyone from those categories is reading this, particularly the bin men. I've got to keep them on side, particularly at this time of year!
Doing my Christmas shopping online
So I needed to be inventive to get back on track, which meant that I needed to join the millions of people out there who do all their shopping online.
I can see the advantages of Christmas shopping online: no parking, no carrying, no queuing, and no encounters with shop assistants with antlers on their head.
My husband has embraced my foray into online shopping with gusto, because as he rightly points out it eliminates my "impulse" buys. He has been a victim of those over the years: the onesie that nearly caused a fireball when he held it too close to the fire; the fart extinguisher (chosen for him I might add by my youngest), and the hysterical reindeer thong. At the time, I thought they were hilarious, but they didn't elicit quite the same reaction in my husband on Christmas morning.
Does Santa read the Argos catalogue?
When it comes to buying for the children, I use the tried and tested method of the Argos catalogue. My youngest has even listed the Argos catalogue as one of his favourite reads, and tried dressing up as a catalogue on World Book Day. He pounces on it as soon as I bring it home, and you won't hear a peep from him for hours. Unfortunately over the years he has tended to get a bit too carried away with the highlighter pen. This year I was hard pressed to find a page that wasn't smeared in bright yellow.
I did try and point out to him that Father Christmas may be a bit strapped for cash this year. I only got a withering look and the response: "Don't be silly mummy - Father Christmas isn't affected by the financial crisis." If only he knew...
Count down to Christmas
So it's now the start of December, and I'm not completely on top of the shopping. I think I was probably the only online shopper that missed out on Black Friday and Armageddon Monday, or whatever they call it.
So panic has slightly set in. But I have a plan. Each day this week I'm going to be intravenously hooked up to Amazon and I won't stop until it's all done.
The neighbours have been warned about increased white van activity in the area. And I've even had to buy another present for the bin men, to persuade them to take away the anticipated cardboard mountain that will be piling up outside our front door.
You'll be pleased to hear that there's one tradition I'm not going to let go. So I'm on the hunt for the most useless present for my husband. All suggestions will be seriously considered!