Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Writing Workshop - Gifts

My granny bought her Christmas cards this weekend.  August Bank Holiday weekend.  Someone pointed out to Mummy today that the next bank holiday is Christmas Day, but even so, having your cards already does seem to be a little forward-thinking.
You grown-ups do seem to get stressed-out by what ought to be a wonderful, family occasion.  I know Mummy is already thinking about it herself because the discussions have started about who’s going where and when.  Great to be looking forward to Santa coming, but there’s so much fun to be had between now and then!  Don’t wish away our lives.
I understand that Christmas is a religious festival, although at the moment I’m not too sure I get what it’s all about yet.  Plenty of time for that.  What I am aware of is presents!  Gifts.  Lots of them.  Beautifully wrapped in gorgeous paper and bright ribbons.  Everyone that comes to the house brings something lovely, usually for me.  How cool is that?!
Mummy is a great supporter of the old adage, “It’s the thought that counts.”  It seems to be too easy to rush into a shop these days and grab any old thing for someone, just to tick it off the list, but what’s the point of that, knowing they’re probably doing exactly the same for you?  You exchange ‘novelties’ that you bought on a 3 for 2 deal at the supermarket, when you might as well have not bothered and both of you saved your cash.  No thought went into it.  Is it any wonder that people think Christmas is becoming too commercialised?
Daddy doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not about how much money you spend on something that counts.  Mummy would far rather have a couple of flowers picked from the verge when Daddy’s out walking Hairy Dog than a big bunch from the petrol station on the way home from work when he remembers their anniversary – it means he’s thought about her while he’s out and not just had a reminder on his phone!  Far more romantic.
Handmade cards and gifts are great for the same reason.  Someone has cared enough about you and your ‘occasion,’ whatever that might be, to take time to create something special and unique for you.  Surely that carries more weight?
For me, a gift should be something that you want (not necessarily need) or that shows the giver has thought about you specifically – something to do with a hobby, or that reflects your personality.  Not a funny-shaped jar of boiled sweets because someone had to pick an extra item to make the deal worthwhile.
Santa seems to do pretty well.  I met him last year, you know.  I sat on his knee and looked him up and down, then stared him straight in the eye and asked him to bring me something lovely, using telepathy, of course.  My stocking was full to bursting on Christmas morning.  I think the trick is to keep the brief quite vague; that way, I’m not expecting anything too specific, so I’m not disappointed if he doesn’t get it quite right (talking of pressure, think of all the gifts Santa has to plan for!) but I think he also hedges his bets and leaves a few things.
I know sometimes parents are disappointed when we play longer with the box than with the toy, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  As I alluded to earlier, it’s about imagination.  Do it right, and there’s as much pleasure in the giving as in the receiving.


  1. Ha - I was just thinking how ridiculous it is that we have started discussing who goes where for Christmas this year already!

  2. Thanks Pictorialmum - Mummy thinks it gets earlier every year. With all the extended families and various sets of in-laws to consider, it does seem to be very complicated!


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