If the evidence of our city is currently being repeated across the country, then the anticipated last-minute festive feeding frenzy has begun in earnest.

This morning there were queues of traffic at the main supermarkets, the compact city centre was filling up and people generally had that look of wild-eyed desperation that screams: “Spend! Spend! Spend! Must spend!”

All I wanted was a few basic provision for today and maybe a little extra Christmas wrapping paper. What should have been a 30-minute excursion into the freezing fog turned into close to two hours of  crawling traffic, shopping trolley rage and shop assistants struggling heroically to maintain some festive cheer.

After a slow start to the Christmas spending spree, with many retailers claim they were being hit hard by online shopping, the tills have been ringing louder in louder in the high street.

While we are likely to spend an estimated £7bn on internet shopping this year – a record – stores are also beginning to report sharp rise in sales as December has progressed. The last-minute rush some analysts had predicted appears to be happening as shoppers hit the high street in the hope of picking up the bargains the stores are offering to entice people away from their computers (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6196745.stm).

Should we have expected anything less?

Rampant consumerism has become one of the main feature of 21st century life so far and there’s little indication that the “More! More! More!” attitude is diminishing in any way.

Even so, some major retailers are reporting gloomy sales forecasts. So where is the money being spent?

Online shopping clearly has come of age this year, but it is only part of the story. Once all the numbers are crunched, the sales figures poured over and the analysts have done what they do, it will be interesting to see who have been the big winners and losers in the last 12 months.

In the meantime, I’ll stay at home watching the crowds flocking to the high street, the queues of passengers waiting to catch their flights and trying as hard as possible to avoid the Christmas madness.

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