Ahhh, late autumn and early winter in London. Here's to dark nights, the descending chill and the madness of preparing for Christmas in one of the busiest cities on the planet. Brace yourself by avoiding these shopping scenarios, if you can:
1. Enforced festive cheer. In November.
2. Crowds upon crowds of poor souls, lost in the maelstrom.
3. Entering the John Lewis food hall ten minutes before closing time.
4. Finding displays labelled 'stocking fillers' that include £40 candles, £30 moisturiser, and £50 coffee-table books. How big is that stocking and who's it for?
5. That one friend who thinks Oxford Street in mid-December is 'fun'.
6. Getting to Hamleys just as the toy your niece, nephew or godchild has to have has sold out.
7. Choosing presents for your in-laws, as the countdown ticks on.
8. Meeting people who can't queue properly.
9. Waiting for hours to collect order after order.
10. Coming across people who walk through the streets in packs of four or five. Or those who stop to take selfies in the Christmas crowds.
11. People who suddenly stop and change direction/stop completely/pause to take in the wonder of Oxford Street. Never a London favourite, and even harder to handle in the pre-Christmas rush.
Save yourself the stress by getting to the best Christmas shops in London (early).