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Are we less festive this Christmas? What do you think?

This week, I’ve really cracked on with the Christmas shopping – but I have noticed a real difference with the atmosphere around shopping this year. Or is it my imagination?

As usual I’ve bought loads online – but have also had my credit card fleeced of £1,000 over the weekend which shows me that thieves are about. It’s the second time this year I’ve been caught out as it appears some Christmas presents have been stolen from us too. A gang has been operating outside a large toy store in the town and grabbing bags the moment your back is turned. I think we’ve become victims this year, though we still have to visit the toy store to ensure that we weren’t stupid enough to leave items there.

So for me, this already feels like a Christmas where there is a greater possibility of petty crime. I suppose it’s inevitable with the economy under such pressure, people losing their jobs and everyone feeling the pinch.

Out shopping today, there’s a quietness around, less hustle and bustle, less excitement even where there are many, many bargains to be had. There’s a quietness about Swindon that surprises me and I’ve lived and worked in the town for 20 years.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that there seems to be far fewer Christmas lights up on people’s homes this time around. From my own street to across the whole town. Is it because of high energy prices I wonder? People feel less ready to spend the money. Or has it been a slow build-up over the last couple of years that I’m just beginning to notice?

Lights indoors but what's happened to the outdoor decorations?

Inside our home we’ve got the lights and the tree and it’s all very pretty but outside it’s not as festive. I thought it was just me until a friend said the same on Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and throw myself into it regardless of how much money I have or have not got as it’s about family, meeting up and having fun together. But I’d be really interested to see if you agree – is there less shopping, and less lighting where you live?

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