I am a mother of three. I think that needs to be said now. I love my children dearly, and never more so than at Christmas when giving presents to them and watching their faces light up when they get the very gift they wanted. It’s a good feeling to give.
It’s harder to receive, though. So much of what we get given isn’t actually what we want or need. And, at the risk of sounding like a perfectly ungrateful person, we put on a brave face, but sometimes our disappointment comes through.
One of my abiding childhood memories is the Christmas Day when my Dad bought Mum a deep-fat fryer to replace her old, smoking chip pan and didn’t put anything special for her inside. What was an act of thoughtless thoughtfulness made for a very frosty Christmas that year. If only he hadn’t made the mistake of buying a household gift without discussion (I only accept household gifts if I have actually asked for them) or without signalling that he saw Mum as a woman, not a worker. Using the deep fat fryer as cover for a bottle of perfume, or a ring or piece of jewellery would have taken the sting away, but this was just the appliance and no mitigating inner gift involved.
I have learned over the years that very few people know me like I know myself. It’s common sense, isn’t it? So to avoid disappointment, to make sure that there is at least one thing under the tree that I want and, especially now my daughter has reached the age when she makes me open my presents as soon as possible instead of stretching them out as long as possible, I like having a gift that I can put out and open when I am ready to, not as some paper-fuelled orgy of ripping and de-wrapping with the family.
My advice to you today: choose just one present that you know you want but few others will, buy it, wrap it and label it to you from the Universe, or Father Christmas, and hide it well behind the sofa. After Christmas Day, when the rush is off and you can relax, pull it out, open it and luxuriate in the satisfaction of a present well-given and a gift happily received.
On my wishlist this year:
- I An Distracted By Everything by Lisa Tarbuck. An annual for grown ups, this even has paper dolls in the style of the ones that kept me occupied for hours when I was small.
- Me.You. A diary by Dawn French. This book has spaces for you to keep a journal alongside thoughts and comments by the funniest lady I know. I’m hoping it’s not too intimidating to journal in.
- Sanctuary Spa Body Wash gift pack. I love the smell of this range, with orange scents, and ask for some every Christmas.
- A gift ticket to Chester Zoo. It’s years since I’ve been to the zoo. Having three teenage children suddenly makes it a really expensive proposition. But this year I have promised myself to spend a day watching the animals. I’m really lucky, because our local zoo is the very zoo featured on The Secret Life of the Zoo on Channel 4. I’ll be able to spot the famous faces from the show!
If you could do with an extra gift, there’s still time to order a book…
If you purchase through any of the links on this page, I get a couple of pence extra per copy, and if you’ve already read them and enjoyed them, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I have a Goodreads Author’s Page!
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