The annual Christmas shopping trip

For the past three or four years, my cousin has descended upon York with the sole purpose of fulfilling his Christmas shopping requirements. The flow of events has been pretty simple and consistent: Tom comes to stay, my large sofa becomes his home for two days until day three (before heading home) when he remembers the shopping he came to do. We take a leisurely stroll into York and start the proceedings at the Guy Fawkes Inn (a traditional York establishment, with an authentic dark wooden décor, lots of candles, good beer and fine wine – ideal for a winter’s day out). We consume a beverage whilst constructing a detailed plan, to avoid all other shoppers, spend as little as possible on presents, and take in the sights. Once the plan is agreed, we realise that staying exactly where we are actually fulfils all our objectives. We congratulate each other and order another beverage. A pang of guilt then hits, as we realise we really ought to purchase at least one Christmas present, to justify this being a Christmas shopping excursion. In any problem solving situation, understanding the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ needs careful planning. We order a beverage and have a think. Once we’ve decided on the lucky recipient and considered a suitably appropriate gift, we realise that HMV closes in 10 minutes and ANOTHER Disney DVD is perfect for Amy. So we run round to Coney Street, squeeze past the bouncer on the door (who’s clearly more interested in the 13 year old girl trying desperately to peel off the security sticker from the latest 1 Direction CD) and emerge 3 minutes later, Snow White in hand. We congratulate ourselves on a successful outing, and head back to the Guy Fawkes to reward ourselves with a beverage…

This sequence of events has become tradition. Even though Tom and I both now live in London, we still make the pilgrimage to the Guy Fawkes in December each year, to plan our Christmas shopping. So when I contact Tom to let him know I’ll be arriving in York on 12th December, his response is appropriately focused – “meet you in the Guy Fawkes then, yes?”



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