I am feeling ever-so festive! It's not just the rumours that this winter is going to be the coldest for 50 years, with temperatures of -30 being cited, it's the window displays (I so want this Christmas wreath, but it's bigger than our door, and the neighbours might think we were being a little flashy!), and all the little log cabins going up along Tauentzienstrasse that will host one of Berlin's many Christmas markets. There looks to be about 100 of them (log cabins that is), and I've been walking past them for a few days now wondering what irresistible things (hopefully wooden) I am going to buy. I went past again a day or two ago and got a sneaky glimpse of wooden toy soldiers and angels peeking out from under one marginally opened shutter, and that was enough to set my heart racing at what other possibilities might be on offer. I'm hoping there's lots of lovely traditional things, and not just sausage.
I've been trying to stave off buying all my Christmas presents in preparation for these Christmas markets, but I've found it quite hard. One year we hardly bought a thing until Christmas Eve and when we went into town we discovered that quite a few of the sales had started and we managed to get great savings on quite a lot of things. I remember it as being a very successful shopping trip, and not so busy as to make one want to throw oneself under a passing bus, but I might be kidding myself and there is a real possibility that I just bought everyones presents from the Disney Store where they had the most tremendous sale.
I am not really a big 'sales' shopper. I really hate the general crush after Christmas and I have no patience for having to wade through racks of disorganised, ransacked clothes looking for a bargain with a million other people elbowing me and being all shov-ey and pushy. Having said that though, I do like to go to the Next and Monsoon sales in Christmas and summer to stock up on clothes for the kids for the following year.
Last year I surpassed myself by getting up on Boxing Day and going to Next for 5am or whatever hellish hour it was and had convinced myself that I would be the only madman doing this. Patently the other 600 people already in the queue had thought the same thing. I was prepared though (and really quite sad come to think of it). I had gone in to the store late on Christmas Eve - though I would like to point out that really I was going to the M&S Food Store next door and thought I might as well just take a look and see what was what. Anyway, they had begun the task of re-racking the clothes up into their sale sections, so I had a good look to see what things I really wanted to buy for the kids and memorised their locations. So then on Boxing Day I managed to swoop in, albeit behind 600 others, and went straight to the sections where I knew there was things I wanted. This year I want to be the guy selling coffee to the cold, tired people waiting in the queue. Now that was strategic thinking!
This leads me up to the other source of my festive excitement. Tomorrow is the start of Amazon's Black Friday sale where they will have numerous items, though potentially limited quantities of stock that they will drop to loss-making prices. I've been compiling a shopping basket of things that maybe, hopefully, will be slashed in price tomorrow. At the moment, while I should be doing some German homework, I've been trying to decide on a new lens for my camera, and am hoping that I might get an amazing deal. I'll see you there at the crack of dawn tomorrow with all the other slightly mental shoppers. Sharpen your elbows!