Christmas Markets and Black Friday: the Christmas shopping frenzy has begun

Yesterday saw the start of our annual Christmas Market in Bath. The market has been running for well over ten years and now has 180 stalls comprised of local businesses and craftspeople.

The market has grown incredibly over the past few years and now German-style chalets seem to take over most of the side streets around Bath’s Abbey and central squares.

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I like the fact that it is a showcase for local businesses and charities (including the local hospital appeal, homeless charities and hospice charities). I also started working yesterday at my friend’s shop which is located in the heart of the market and which will benefit greatly from the shopping event.

However as I wondered around yesterday I couldn’t help thinking how,  before the market, is over on 14th December it will become an overcrowded, fraught place. While it is a showcase for local artisans and small businesses I did ask myself how many Christmas baubles a person really needs to buy.

But the busy-ness of Bath Christmas Market is nothing in comparison to the madness of Black Friday which is happening today. Imported from the US this takes place on the day after Thanksgiving when retailers reduce their prices to kick start Christmas shopping. In the States most people take Friday off as Thursday is a public holiday and I guess there is more of a ‘tradition’ to the event. Over the last couple of years Black Friday has become more of an event in the UK with large retailers reducing items and people marking this by having punch ups on the shop floor.

I guess because I’m still in a de-cluttering, minimalist phase I feel rather ambivalent towards Christmas shopping this year. I have a sneaky feeling that if I’m not careful all the clutter I am clearing from our house will reappear next month. So far I have stuck to my small budget and am buying a combination of new, and second-hand, presents. I would also like to try my hand at some handmade gifts as well.

However I have to confess that some of my purchases have taken place in larger stores (including Primark – my first trip into Bath’s latest shop) and online through Amazon. I know not all of these are ethical so feel slightly hypocritical. But, no matter what, I’m determined to stay away from all shops and online retailers today.

Instead I will save my pennies for some local Christmas Fairs and Small Business Saturday on 6 December. I’ll also be following the Money Advice Service’s Have a Savvy Christmas programme with advice on budgeting for the festive season. And with that in mind I will also be following Buy Nothing Day tomorrow (29th) which is easy as I’ll be at work (although I will be encouraging people to buy coffee and cake at our Arts Centre cafe).

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Markets and Black Friday: the Christmas shopping frenzy has begun

  1. I was at Bath Christmas Market yesterday too. A wonderful atmosphere and such beautiful goods on sale. However, apart from a cheese truckle, I didn’t buy anything, as it really would be just a case of acquiring more “stuff” which I don’t need.
    Can I ask which shop you are working in?

  2. Well, I wondered whether it was that shop as I have put two and two together and decided that you must live in Colerne and I know that the shop’s owner is from there. I was in there on Thursday morning and talking to the lady selling the hot mead. Was that you? I always try to go in there when I go to Bath. It sells such unusual things and I love the ethos behind the goods on sale. Will be popping in there over the next three weeks as I am going to RUH for radiotherapy.
    I love your blog and the idea behind it. With you 100%.

    • Ooh it could have been me! I’m working every Monday until Christmas. So glad you like the shop and the owner is such an amazing person, trying to support and give back to the monasteries and small businesses she buys from. Hope the radiotherapy is going okay xxx

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