Every year you promise yourself you’ll get an early start on your Christmas shopping. You never do. As a result you’ll be racing around Sliema and Valletta like a mad person in the run up to the big day.
If only it were as simple as a rushed last minute effort. Not in Malta. Your shopping-time is inevitably cut in half by all the stops you have to make to greet the tens of people you know that are also frantically spending all of December’s wages on other people.
Here’s a list of people you’re always going to meet in Malta whilst Christmas shopping – year in, year out.
1. Your ex
Yup, it’s like the law of gravity – a reality that cannot be contested or denied. You will meet your ex and have to make five minutes of uncomfortable small talk while they buy cute, Christmas underwear for the new person in their life.
2. Your old school teacher
Should I say hi, should I not say hi? Will she remember me? Was I even in her class?
3. Your mum’s friend who never shuts up
Yup, I really needed to know that Susan from next door has a rash and so you’ve got to fit in a pharmacy visit while you shop. Let. Me. Leave.
4. The Facebook friend
You received a request last week and accepted, but you’ve never actually spoken in real life. How do I navigate through this social conundrum? Wave? Nod? Bite the bullet and speak words to this person? Someone please advise.
5. Your frenemy
You stop for what you hope will be a quick hello but quickly turns into a competitive back-and-forth on who got the most expensive gift for their boyfriend/girlfriend.
6. Someone you never replied to on WhatsApp
Sweat patches form and you exercise your best “maa, this year has been mad!” speech. After at least ten minutes of small talk you broach the unbroachable and apologise by offering to meet for a coffee which you know you categorically don’t have time for.
7. Your crush
And you’re never prepared. Panic hits and you offer them a mince pie/chewing gum/socks – or whatever you can dig out of your shopping bag that will save you from this moment of colossal inarticulacy.
BONUS: Someone you’re actually glad to meet
A friend you haven’t seen in ages and you’ve been dying to run into suddenly runs into you. Say goodbye to finding a perfect gift for your Secret Santa party tomorrow and hello to long boozy lunch.