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Buy it. Buy all of it.

Okay, not very Christmassy to talk about the sales right now, but you’ve got to be prepared.

And my recommendation to you is this: do not bother trying to buy any clothes or bags or shoes. They can see you coming. You will not find a Chloe Drew bag for £18 in TK Maxx. You will not find an Eve Lom gift set for £5 in John Lewis. You will not find a Bonpoint party dress for £30. You just won’t.

Those apocryphal stories about Gucci handbags for a tenner and French Sole leopard print Henriettas in your size are just that: spread by people who own shops in order to send you down to said shops so that you don’t find the thing that you’re looking for but spend your money on a flamingo-print skirt or a pair of neon yellow moon boots anyway just so you don’t come back empty handed.

The only – only – thing to buy that represents any value in the Christmas sales is Christmas decorations, cards, ribbon and wrapping paper.

Don’t get pissed off!! I used to think that people who stocked up on cards, wrapping paper and decorations in the sales were the worst sort of miserly bastard – but that was before I was in charge of all of those things and witnessed quite how fucking insanely madly expensive they are when they are, you know, in full cry.

And I’m telling you this from experience – it is the only thing that you are getting a deal on. Seriously. They are the only things that shops genuinely want to get rid of.

Consider it a gift to your future self: imagine next December 15th opening your “Christmas” drawer or cupboard or Ikea blue bag or whatever and seeing in there a 2ft gold glittery reindeer you got for £5, marked down from £20, that you had completely forgotten about!!! And a pile of festive shit from Nordic House that you had dismissed the purchase of as insanely profligate.

When you pop open your stash and find out that you’ve got enough cheerful wrapping paper, tags, cards and faux red berry “sprays” to sort out Christmas at Balmoral, you will want to high five yourself until you blister. Now that is giving your gift with love.