Tuesday, 5 October 2010

In which I'm making a list

This weekend, despite there being some serious shopping time yet before the season starts, I began a Christmas list.

I’m not especially proud of myself for it, and as yet, it’s not even all that long. But it’s started. And, when the time comes, I shall be issuing it far and wide.

Christmas can be a fairly stressful time in Family Blonde (and that’s before The Father’s had a row with the owner of the farm shop about there being no Stinking Bishop for the cheeseboard). And so, given the experience of Christmases past, this year I’m taking no chances.

The Mother is generally pretty good at selecting gifts - she subscribes to the “buy them stuff they can’t justify buying for themselves” theory of present-buying, and for me, large bottles of perfume; expensive coffee table books (or coffee tables, come to think of it); and Le Creuset all tend to feature rather heavily.

The Father is almost the opposite, and does love to give a practical present (boys: just… no). I didn’t think things could get worse than the Dyson Incident of 2005 (“What have you got Mummy for Christmas?” “A Dyson.” “Hah! No, really.” “Really. I’ve got her a Dyson. Why? Is that bad?”) until, in 2008, he pulled out the Vegetable Steamer Episode. He could just have gift-wrapped the divorce papers - they’d have been easier to wrap. But, to prevent marital discord, one supervised, 23rd-December trip into town later, and The Mother’s sparkly Christmas was sponsored by de Beers that year.

Sadly, many of the rest of the family seem to be cut from The Father’s cloth. Whilst I am always (read: usually) grateful for any presents the extended family wish to bestow, I do sometimes wish they’d not put quite so much thought into things and instead gone with the always-popular cheque (as I say: usually).

I will never forget the year that I was handed a present from under the tree by The Father, bearing a label from a well-meaning but actually deeply irksome aunt.

“Ooh, that’s a funny shape,” said The Grandmother who, at this point, was live, kicking and ploughing her way through her Nth sherry.

I gave the package a squish, and then peeled back the paper with some trepidation.

The fear was merited. For there, under layers of admittedly rather lovely paper, was a true Christmas travesty.

Whilst I would never deny that I’m a girl who loves her shoes, the versions that grace my feet are as far as my interest goes. I don’t have pictures of shoes adorning the walls; there are no twee shoe-shaped soaps in the bathrooms. I don’t have little models of shoes on the mantelpiece and I feel quite strongly that, in my house, that’s the way it’s going to stay. I don’t need anything extra to remind me of my weakness when it’s impossible to walk through Blonde Towers without falling over a pair.

So when I unwrapped the slightly peculiarly-shaped gift to find a shoe-shaped lamp - yes, a lamp, shaped like a shoe, complete with horrid bits of fringing around the top - I was, to be brutally honest, less than impressed.

The Grandfather summed it up in his inimitable way: “Bloody hell - that’s a monstrosity. She shouldn’t have bothered wasting the money.”

And so, this year, I’m making a list. It’ll contain some practical things for The Father to buy, and some beautiful things for The Mother to buy. And in case she really, really feels the need, there might even be some shoe-shaped things for the aunt - but they'll be actual shoes. And from Net a Porter. I'm not taking any chances.

14 comments:

Chômage said...

I thought I was being shrewd one year when I gave the other half a "love ticket" as a gift. Turns out I am not great at reading women.

Brennig said...

The problem with lists is that there's lists and there's lists. Carefully crafting a list to cover all eventualities is an art. I'm lacking in that art. Apparently 'Book', 'CD', 'Two gallons of Hibiscrub' makes a not good list.

Blonde said...

Chomage: Hmm. An interesting tactic, definitely. Was that the only present?

Bren: Hah! No, I can see how that wouldn't be ideal...

nuttycow said...

A list is a good idea. I have no idea what I want this year - the book and DVD variety are always welcomed and, since my family are flying from Kenya to Switzerland, I have a feeling light presents are the order of the day!

Chômage said...

That's what she asked... Bit ungrateful, I think. You offer them the stars and they ask for the cosmos.

lenmarsh said...

My Dad once gave my brother a briefcase on his 12th birthday, and last Christmas all four of us received a mousetrap and a plug in our stockings, on the grounds, again according to Dad, that everyone needs to be able to wire a plug and set a mousetrap...

Mike said...

You wouldn't want a shoe lamp without fringe on it, would you?

In some ways you were lucky. The worst is when you get a gift that horrid and the person giving it to you is there watching.

Zstep said...

I long ago gave up trying to buy gifts for the missus. The problem is she buys pretty much whatever she wants whenever she wants so knowing of something she can't have is pretty much impossible. Add to this her disgust at being given gift certificates, books, anything useful around the house and jewelry costing under $500 as gifts and I hope you see my problem and the reasoning for my eventual surrender.

Blonde said...

NC: An ongoing list is useful. My theory with starting it now is that there should be some stuff on it by Christmas...

Chomage: You've not answered the question...

Lenmarsh: Wow. That takes practical present-giving to a whole other level. Are you now capable of wiring plugs and setting traps?

Mike: Well that's true. Though on the other hand, it'd have made my feelings plain, which I think would have been no bad thing.

Zstep: 'Just because' flowers - they never fail to please. Unless she's the suspicious type who'll think you're covering something up. Gosh, you lot do have it hard, come to think of it.

Zstep said...

Haha! Flowers she says... I've brought home flowers before and gotten "Why did you do that? They'll just die." So I lectured her on her impossibility and after reflecting a moment she agreed and hasn't complained about flowers since.

Jack The Lad said...

Just a quick comment.

3rd paragraph, "Christmas is a fairly(?) time....."
I've been thinking about suitable adjectives..."Drunken", "Fractious", "Peaceful","Controversial", "Caring",

Go On Blonde enlighten us!

Chômage said...

Well, quite and I was just about to give you a full and detailed account and then I saw in your twitter window "Up the arse on the first date is bad manners". It threw me a little but you retained you usual dignified mien ... just.

Blonde said...

Ztep: Women, huh?!

JtL: Damnit - another typo. Now corrected, I hope.

Chomage: I think we'll leave it there, shall we?!

theperpetualspiral said...

It is the first week of October, you are not allowed to even think about Christmas until December. Fact!

I was in a supermarket at the weekend and they were selling mince pies? I almost had an attack of Tourette's right there and then.

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