The eight emotional stages of last-minute shopping

Remember how far away Christmas seemed in November? How we laughed at those smug and organised people who did their shopping ahead of time. But with just days left to go the reality has suddenly hit. It's nearly Christmas Eve and you haven't bought so much as a pair of socks.

Here are the stages your poor frazzled self will no doubt experience over the coming days. Stay strong. It's all be over soon!

1. The fear of making The List
WHY did your Mam and Dad decide to have so many kids? This is cruelty.

2. The panic on the bus to town as you realise you've forgotten a load of people
Ah Christ, the 17 cousins.

3. The rabbit-in-the-headlights feeling as you crush your way into the first shop
So. Many. People.

4. Settling for any old present even though you KNOW you could do better
But Nana would love this teatowel, she's all about the washing and drying. Isn't she?

5. That weird feeling of calm as you start to enjoy spending money on random frivolous gifts
I should take this up as a hobby!

6. … Until you remember to check your bank balance
Quick, return the €25 ceramic trinket bowl. QUICK.

7. Giving up after 2 hours for a "well-earned" break
I'm having mulled wine and there's nothing you can do to stop me.

8. Finally buying that last present…
And remembering you still have to buy wrapping paper, cards and gift tags. This torture never ends.