It’s late December, so marks of the festive season are unavoidable, from Christmas lights strung up in windows along most streets to Santa merchandise stuffing the shelves of shops. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have created a Christmas spreadsheet in November, but I appreciate that most of you aren’t like me. In fact, I’m definitely in the minority there. We’ve even designated the last Saturday before Christmas as Panic Saturday, after all, because so many of us rush out then to buy stuff.
It’s tempting to panic buy like a maniac. But forget dropping some cash on a hastily selected box of chocolates or candle. Does your cousin/friend/sister really want that? Spend the time, not the money. If you’ve got the skills or the inclination, make something: cake, a knitted hat, a puzzle, even a voucher for a favour to be claimed sometime during 2017.
Even better, plan an experience that your gift-ee will remember past the first of January. It seems like the tide is turning from a preference for possessions, to a desire to try new things, and experience something. Pound for pound, dinner and a gig with your best friend is probably going to cost the same as a pair of trainers, but the good feelings of the former are winning out over the tangibility of the latter.
What’s prompted this shift? It’s not as simple as the nation just deciding they’re sort of over consumerism. For one thing, most of us work long hours, so planning and then doing something really out of the ordinary prolongs the excitement of the activity, and is the perfect antidote for those extra shifts. Plus, experiences just keep getting better and better. You can eat all around the world on your average high street, and you can bowl, dance, climb some stuff and try out hot yoga. Games are getting bigger and better, and expanding to be interesting and challenging for everyone. You can get locked in a room and use your brains to escape. You can go to a piece of theatre that changes nightly, depending on the audience and the location. Exciting things are happening, and people want to go out and do them.
This seems like a good time to casually mention that you can now get Fire Hazard gift certificates, valid for all our games… A pretty good solution if you’re panic buying, or sorted everything out months ago but want to try something completely new.