It seems like yesterday that I was making lists, fighting my way through hordes of anxious shoppers and filling my Amazon basket to groaning point, but somehow Christmas shopping has come around again. Each year I vow that I will be incredibly organised and buy presents throughout the year so that when the week before Christmas arrives I am not running around like a headless chicken, but as usual I am seriously behind. In fact the only thing I have done so far is write this, which doesn’t really count.
One of my friends buys all her presents and wraps them by mid September and keeps them locked in a cupboard until she puts up her Christmas tree and “hey presto” they are all ready to be set out. Apart from the fact that I am still reeling from getting people ready for the beginning of a new school/uni year in September, that would never work in my house. Teenage Daughter and Son would quickly pick the cupboard lock and proceed to shake and count all the packages with their names on them. There is also the problem that something which was a “must have” item in September might have gone out of fashion or favour by December.
I generally end up asking family members for ideas at the last minute, choose something from the list and pray that it hasn’t sold out on Black Friday or even worse, the Amazon last day for delivery before Christmas hasn’t passed. Canvassing the family this year at dinner met with mixed results, a few years ago Teenage Daughter might have asked for a pink plastic unicorn castle but this year she said succinctly “money”, no doubt to fund her newly wild life at uni, while Teenage Son has requested polaroid film (who knew that the ancient polaroid camera stuffed at the back of the coat cupboard would make a comeback). Husband on the other hand said helpfully “why don´t we not do presents this year?” which was met with howls of outrage. This is all very well but there was always something wonderfully exciting about having huge, badly wrapped boxes of plastic toys under the tree, not to mention the squeals of delight as they were ripped open. This year looks like it might be an envelope and a few small boxes.
My other seasonal job is to take on the mantle of Father Christmas as the procurer of items for Christmas stockings. The tradition of stockings in our house is sacrosanct and my feeble attempts to suggest that TD and TS are too old for stockings are firmly squashed each year. This means many visits to quirky, out of the way shops or Urban Outfitters, to buy amusing, small items which will both fit in the stockings, not get the recipient expelled from school (Cards Against Humanity was a close call) and make a satisfying clanking noise when unpacked on Christmas morning on our bed.
Along with planning food and entertainment, it all seems an insurmountable task, but I am going to start making lists, head for Oxford Street, spend hours on Amazon and who knows, I might actually get everything done before Christmas.