ON the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me… nothing because the high street rush was ‘a little too much’ for him to handle.

In the months leading up to Christmas, it becomes imperative for us all to please the ones we love. As festive cheer takes over, gift giving wanders to the top of our to-do lists, and strictly, there’s two ways to do it.

The seasonal pattern of retail sales in the months leading up to Christmas is inevitable, and this time last year, £1.1 billion was spent in online shops – the first time that over a billion pounds had been spent online in a single month.

We have websites such as ASOS and Boohoo who rely on web sales and web sales only, minimising staffing costs and building rental. “Smart!” I hear you say.

Additionally, with online retailers such as eBay raking in over 18 million Britons each month, it’s almost needless to say more about the overall increase of sales the platform provides, and there’s been no talk of implementing a four-walled version on the high street, either.

There’s no arguing that eBay’s the go-to place for weird and wonderful Christmas presents (just about anything is listed on the website.)

However, at the other end of the spectrum, retail mogul Primark has opposed the idea of an online presence, despite when back in July, Graham Ruddick of The Telegraph saying: “High street stores must adapt or die.”

I don’t think that this is absolutely necessary, as I have visited Primark many a time for the odd stocking filler and treated myself to a cosy pair of socks if I happen to be roaming around town. ‘If.’

A setback of online shopping exists in the form of postage and packaging. The price can soon rise if you fail to pay attention to additional costs in smaller print. I have a habit of purchasing, confirming, and once auto fill has churned out my card details, I’ve bought the items before I can blink. And during Christmas, a wave of rush induces panic buying – there comes a point where price isn’t priority.

But then again, many of us work up until soon before the big day, and if we’re not in the house – who’s going to pick up the parcel? Picking ‘nominated day delivery’ is fiddly, and comes at an extra cost.

Marks and Spencer operate an interesting system. They’ve implemented store collection. Like a product reservation, and it’s surprising that some stores still don’t do this.

A spokesperson said: “Most customers tend to use both online and stores during their shopping trip; be it researching online in order to better plan their weekend visit or ordering online to collect in store at time that is convenient for them.”

As we all grow older, ‘Boxing Day sales’ is a phrase that can be interpreted in a couple of ways. There once was a day where we would wake up the morning after Christmas and turn on the television to the channel where customers would filter down high streets and queue up outside shops.

They would be drooling and elbowing each other out of the way to grab the three-piece sound system which has been reduced by £2.50.

This year, my plan is to make a list of the things I need, I’ll make sure my laptop’s switched on to check the online sales in the morning, but I probably won’t venture outside of my house.

There’s really not much reason to, at the end of the day, the real spirit of Christmas lies with spending time with your family, and all that jazz.

By Eleni Wrigglesworth

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