It was a fortnight ago that I spied them first. Hidden behind a table laden with goblin masks and a giant fake tarantula was a particularly red and green and gold display.
We were only halfway through October and Christmas decorations were on sale.
In America it seems that the popularity of Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving staves off the fat man in the red suit but down here at the bottom of the world?
Hallowe'en is advertised but not embraced, and we have no November holiday of note. Or at all. And so Christmas can start as early as the stores like.
It seems they decided on mid-October.
Don't get me wrong. I adore Christmas with a fervour unusual for someone of so non-religious a bent.
I do, however, enjoy the scent of pine, decorating the tree, spending a day with my family (though, as years pass and my Father's temperament changes, we have become increasingly insular) revolving around food and alcohol. But what I love most of all? is buying presents.
Not battling the neon-blind masses in the mall but I like thinking about the recipient and choosing just the right present. I suppose I prefer giving presents as opposed to buying presents.
I'm quite good at it too!
I think my trick is that I start thinking about christmas presents for my most immediate family members at the end of August - directly after the last of their birthdays. I keep a list in my diary, or on my phone, and I write ideas down.
I only start buying presents when I have to. But because I embrace the digital age in which we live, I do a great deal of my shopping online.
Shopping I started and finished earlier this week. Do you hate me?
I couldn't help myself.
The sun is out in Wellington today and being raised a southern hemisphere girl, the start of summer means that Christmas is coming. I knew it wasn't far off - on Monday I heard the first creaking cicada.
Now all I have to do is hope that they arrive on time, that I don't find anything more perfect, and that the recipient doesn't find out.
Such are the pitfalls of shopping early and online.
But it's okay! All I do is make sure that the presents I buy? I wouldn't mind so much owning for myself.