I was really looking forward to some good old-fashioned family downtime over the seasonal break.

Chilling on the sofa watching movies together. It sounds like bliss right? Spoiler alert – it’s not.

You would think deciding on a film would be easy with so much choice. But the choice was the problem. When I was a child , there were three channels. We all watched the same Christmas specials and films as everyone else.

The TV schedule was carefully checked ahead of time with all the favourites marked off. When the ‘big Christmas film’ was about to start we were all in our places in front of the TV, the coffee table laden with anything we might possibly need (no pause or record buttons back then) and we immersed ourselves very happily in this festive ritual.

These days, with an overwhelming amount of viewing options, nobody can seem to agree on anything. On more than one occasion, we all ended up staring at a blank screen in complete silence, punch drunk after a marathon bout of searching on all (and I mean all) the terrestrial and streaming channels.

Ham & High: Shelley-Anne Salisbury struggles with too much choiceShelley-Anne Salisbury struggles with too much choice (Image: 1000words.co.za)

Of course, options can be brilliant but too much of a good thing is, well, too much. These days, we are literally spoilt for choice.

Even buying something ordinary like potatoes can cause momentary choice paralysis. Maris Piper was always the best roasting potato. Well, not any more. There are now several varieties that have been specially cultivated to produce the superlative roasting spud.

And please don’t get me started on bread. Oh alright, if you insist. Bread choices used to be simple. White or brown. Type ‘bread’ into the search box of any of the online shopping platforms and around a hundred variations pop up. The ever increasing selection has made the online shopping experience a real ordeal. The endless scrolling through these virtual panoplies often takes far longer than just popping down to the shops where there may be less choice but so much less dithering.

As far as I’m concerned too much choice is a chore. More than three options and my eyes glaze over. The final straw for me was when I recently popped over to see a friend. They offered me cup of tea and then proceeded to list a vast array of tea selections. Obviously, there’s no such thing as a regular cuppa these days. It was exhausting. I didn’t dare ask for a biscuit.

  • Shelley-Anne Salisbury is a mediator, writer and the co-editor of Suburb News, themediationpod.net.