SEEING RED: Shut the shops on Boxing Day

Sales shoppers on Boxing Day
Sales shoppers on Boxing Day

I love Christmas. Bar my annual jolly to warmer, foreign climes, the season of goodwill is my favourite time of year.

I just love everything about it, from the build up when the tree goes up – I hasten to add in December, not November – to the big day itself.

I also love Boxing Day.

For me, it’s Christmas Day Part II and a time when I can relax with family and overindulge on leftovers while watching some Carry On film for the umpteenth time on ITV3 – I know, there’s no accounting for taste.

But what about those who have to work in shops who open on Boxing Day?

They are robbed of that precious time with their loved ones at such a fantastic time of year.

Interestingly, this very publication ran an online poll this week on the back of a petition calling for shops to be closed on Boxing Day.

I’m all for it and so it would appear are the majority of those who took part in our poll – and of course the very workers who have to endure insults from shoppers rushing to grab a post-Christmas bargain.

The petition is calling for shops to remain closed on Boxing Day and has already hit 100,000 signatures, although it still needs a further 45,000 to be considered by Parliament.

While the idea is a hit with workers fed up with having to lift the shutters so soon after Christmas, some have slammed the petition, claiming times have moved on and Boxing Day sales provide a necessary boost for businesses.

I guess some of those who have slammed the petition are the very people who get up at 4am on Boxing Day to bag a so-called bargain from Next.

Seriously, what lives do people lead when they feel it necessary to get up before the sun rises to buy an end-of-line jumper (don’t get me started on those who queue up outside Apple stores for the latest iPhone – that’s a column for another day)?

Now, I am far from religious and also understand the financial benefits of opening the sales on Boxing Day.

But, seriously, can’t we just have two days where everything shuts down so more people can enjoy some time with their loved ones?

There are more than 360 other days in the year where folk can shop til they drop for that must-have jumper in Next.

In fact, walk by most High Street shops nowadays and most have some sort of sale taking place.

Parliament may have other items on the agenda at the moment, but I for one hope this gets debated and ultimately passed.

It will then mean the shop workers get the break they deserve with their loved ones – and perhaps those who feel it necessary to get up at the crack of dawn could also chill out and enjoy some quality time at home.

Surely it makes sense?

n In the early days of this column, I had a little rant about swearing in public.

I think we all curse from time to time – I tend to swear at drivers who are on their phones and like to hog the right-hand lane of a dual carriageway – but would never dream of doing so in public. I’m no prude, but it wasn’t nice hearing a group of workmen effing and jeffing in front of children in a store at the East Midlands Designer Outlet last week. It really is uncalled for.

Ashley Booker