Boxing Day sales are sadly like retail catnip to shopaholics
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Rachel Moore wishes that we were all a bit less obsessed with sales shopping and spent more time looking after ourselves
Happy Boxing Day - not that it's such a happy day for all the poor retail workers hauling themselves back to serve the great British public today.
The poor souls who trudged home exhausted on Christmas Eve to make their own Christmas happen after weeks of forcing smiles to the grumpiest, rudest and grouchiest festive shoppers.
Barely time for their turkey dinner to go down and they're back at it, at the coalface of our obsessive consumerism dealing with stampedes for 'bargains.'
But we all know that we've been bombarded with 'bargains' since Black Friday, another US fad we've embraced, and sales are now before Christmas to whip the nation into a spending frenzy.
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In the 1970s, people camped outside Selfridges overnight made the news, bagging a sofa for a tenth of its ticket price. In those days, shops shut on Sundays and there was no late-night opening. Retail felt civilised. You had to be there to win it.
Now, online shopping and end of year markdowns mean those shops still dragging their workers in to open are behind the curve. They appear old-fashioned and mean.
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Aldi and Home Bargains pulled off a warm and fuzzy PR coup when they announced they would not open on Boxing Day to give their staff a well-earned break and to enjoy time with family and friends.
In its social media posts, Home Bargains said: "To all our staff: Thank you for all your hard work once again this year. All our stores will be closed on Boxing Day to ensure you are able to spend tine with your friends and family."
So what if they didn't expect the footfall and predicted a hit to its bottom line. They won the decent employer award, and probably a rush of applications to boot.
Staff will be paid for their two-day break, and were able to enjoy Christmas Day without the thought of work in the morning hanging over them.
Shopping on Boxing Day is not, and never has been, an essential. Medics have to work over Christmas because people get sick, it's a given in hospitality too, unsocial hours and days are its foundation, and this newspaper comes out on Boxing Day so journalists were working yesterday, it's part and parcel of the deal.
For the shopaholics about to dash out again for some 'retail therapy' - a phrase deserving of a Room 101 dumping. Therapy and shopping could not be further apart - use today as a real therapy day, a day of self care
Take a beach walk, discover a new part of the countryside, watch a film, bake a cake, make a turkey and ham pie with the leftovers, read a book, play a game, turn your phone off for a day, write a letter to someone you're missing, cosy up and enjoy just being, not shopping
If we stay away from the shops more people get a break to spend it with people that matter and we might turn the tide in our hideous obsession with buying and accumulating stuff we don't need.
BOXING DAY BLAST
Today, we'll be taking our dear old Golden Retriever to one of Norfolk's fine beaches for our Boxing Day blast.
It's his 13th Christmas and yesterday he wolfed down his 13th Christmas dinner with the family with a stream of pigs in blankets sneaky extra treats through the day.
Firmly at the centre of whatever's going on, he will persuade my sons to break the sofa ban and stealthily climb up for a cuddle. He will creep upstairs into their rooms and he revel in all the fuss and love of adult children coming home.
We'll laugh as he rips up present wrapping paper, always remembering the Christmas that he stole and ate a whole ham I'd cooked when I turned my back for a nano-second, then drinking gallons of water all night to deal with the salty after-effects.
He's been forced to wear doggy antlers, pose for photos with a massive grinning plastic mouth and teeth and wear Christmas collars and bells.
Anyone who enters the house leaves wearing his trademark fluff - his 'golden glitter.' We all avoid wearing black.He's not been an easy dog, despite his breed. Bouncy is one way of putting it. Barky, needy and soppy with no regard for anyone's personal space. He's not everyone's idea of a lovely dog.
But he's our lovely dog and we wouldn't have him any other way.
But it's suddenly dawned on us all that he won't be here forever.
Still puppy-like in so many ways, his eyes and hearing are not what they were and the boys notice the instant reaction to the rustle of a cheese packet three rooms away has gone and he's slowing down.
He is my biggest protector, guarding and looking out for potential dangers when we're out.
When the boys leave, he sinks into a decline for a few days.
He's so intuitive, picking up moods, staying by our sides if we are ill, or sad.
I was never a doggy person until I caved in to my younger son's begging. Now I adore every dog I meet. They are more than pets. They are such an integral part of the family, and we are their world.
We've made the biggest fuss of our boy, Leo, this year because he is our best boy and you just never know.