An e-mail is currently doing the rounds, suggesting that this year we support local businesses in our area and give vouchers for six haircuts, or monthly car-washes, or deliveries of fresh flowers or home cooked meals at intervals throughout the year. All of the above are useful, thoughtful ideas, and should bring joy to the suppliers in our neighbourhood (if not to the recipients). BUT …but … but … what about the wrapping paper? What about the ribbon? What about the gift tags? What about the mysterious lumpy parcels in that tantalising pile under the Christmas tree? Or the feverish search through drawers and cupboards to find out where your present is hidden?
What about the annual haul of hand cream, bath salts, soaps, lotions, that will last you throughout the year and provide a few on-the-wing birthday presents later in the year? I mean, where would our houses be without that annual soap-on-a-rope?
And what will Aunt Bessie do without her annual pile of carefully hoarded Christmas wrapping paper, which she takes home and irons to remove the creases, and thriftily re-uses next year? “We must all re-cycle, you know” she reproves us every 25th December.
And I would miss going to the shops and seeing the decorations, the Father Christmas cut-outs. I would even miss the sound of BoneyM carolling out in the malls. Don’t tell anybody, but I enjoy BoneyM at Christmas time. My favourite radio announcer hates them with a passion and says so every year at every opportunity – must say I’m curious to know why he harbours such an undying hatred, but I guess we’re all entitled to our little quirks.
My favourite Lit blog, The Millions recently posted an article titled “Gifts Writers will actually use” which sets us straight on the fact that writers don’t want any more journals, notebooks or fancy pens. What we really would like is booze, chocolates, pre-cooked meals, and the latest novel, which we’ve been too busy or too broke to buy. And what we probably desperately need are Yoga lessons (to take out the kinks from too much sitting & typing), a dog (to get us out into the fresh air – the theory is that walking leads to inspiration) and a new dressing gown, for those days when we sit for hours, welded to our keyboards, unwashed, uncombed, dressed in our old disgusting dressing-gowns. So there you have it.
Actually, I’d happily settle for the book, food, and booze – but nicely wrapped, please! I’m a sucker for tradition.
A merry Christmas to you all, and Bah! Humbug! to gift vouchers for car valet services and haircuts! Bring on the tinsel!