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Forgive Me Santa, For I Have Sinned

I didn’t mean to.

It was a moment of weakness, a moment of selfishness in which I found myself tempted to do something I have never done before.

I did my Christmas shopping online.

I know, I know… we were all warned about the digital behemoths invading cyberspace, squashing retailers and family businesses underfoot, spelling the demise of traditional stores.

We were warned, in times of fickle consumer confidence and waning disposable income, every dollar passed over the counter was a small cash injection into the pockets of fellow Australians.

But hear me out.

Admittedly, I am not a ‘Christmas’ person. No, it’s not a case of ‘humbug’ or grinch-ish inclinations. I just. Don’t. Get it.

Trees… gaudy ornaments… an ongoing delusion that, somehow, fat men in bearded, woollen suits sitting in front of blazing fireplaces doesn’t appear bloody ridiculous in Australia’s summer heat.

It's 40 bloody degrees outside. (Image: Getty)

Apparently there’s some sort of religious element to it all, supposed to fill us all with love and generosity, but as society slides into godlessness, that seems even less relevant…

And so, once a year, when this great, confused mass of twinkling lights and kitsch seasonal confusion rolls into town, I and thousands of others who prefer to celebrate the birthdays of the living are forced to open our wallets and express our gratitude to those closest to us, with trinkets that fall within a predetermined price range (don’t get me started on the complex, foggy strata of who is worth what based on their proximity and what they gave us last year).

READ MORE: Xmas Cash Splash: More than $300 Million To Be Spent On Nieces And Nephews

Once a year, we arm ourselves with trolleys, which, for a brief moment, become our sword, our shield, in a war of hasty decisions and shop-aisle skirmishes.

Christmas shopping battlefield. (Image: Getty)

Here, chaos reigns. Little old ladies transform into blue-haired beasts, snarling over the last tins of Christmas shortbread. Furtive parents, given a 30 minute reprieve from their own little monsters, argue over a suitable replacement after finding out little Timmy’s one-and-only gift wish has sold out.

READ MORE: This Is Why Supermarkets Roll Out Christmas Products So Early

Shelf-stacking assistants greet their thousandth customer question with thousand-yard stares. All the while the repetitive drone of carols bleat through monotone speakers above.

The path to Hell is illuminated by neon lights and LEDs.

Turns out it wasn't good intentions. (Image: Getty)

And every December, I fear the moment I must step out into this festive warzone and hope I can storm the retail citadel and return home with a fully-ticked list and my sanity intact.

Forgive me Santa, for I have sinned.

Last weekend, sitting at my computer, I decided to simply get an idea of what that dreaded list would entail. Oh, but I was warned! How easy! How straightforward! Before I knew it, I was browsing digital shelves, and my treasonous cyber-trolley was filling up. The only interaction with another person was when my partner asked, “what are you doing?”.

“Christmas shopping.”

“Cool.”

That was it. No empty pleasantries. No feigned interest in my day. No entreaties for ‘donations to such-and-such’ at the checkout. Not once did some spaced-out zombie slam their trolley into me, awoken only briefly from their trance to blurt out ‘oh sorry’ before pushing on.

Best Christmas shop ever. (Image: Getty)

No bloody carols.

There was even time to pour myself a beer.

READ MORE: The Grinch Is Trying To Hack Your Christmas. Here's How To Stop It. 

And then it was over.  Eleven months of festive fear evaporated with the click of a mouse.

Everyone was accounted for. No blood had been spilled. I hadn’t even left the house.

But I still feel dirty, hence my confession. I have betrayed the retail gods and all that Christmas means to them. I have become a covert consumer, seduced by the digital devil. And yet this is has been the most painless Jesus Birthday I’ve ever experienced, and all I await now is a knock at the door.

Forgive me Santa, for I have sinned.