Christmas has been great. Families have got on well; Father Christmas has been beyond generous, and I haven’t eaten my body weight in those Peppadew peppers stuffed with cream cheese. I am currently posting from my shiny new iPad (thank you, lovely Dad) and have a collection of gorgeous, maternity-ready clothes from my Mum and sister; and a hamper stuffed with goodies from Fenwick’s food hall.
If I were in an indigestion remedy advert, my punchbowl would contain smoked salmon, capers, roast beef and yorkshires, Coke-boiled ham, jelly beans, Christmas cake and Black Forest gateau. Ok, that sounds like a lot, but I’ve walked four miles over the last two days, so I feel quite justified.
I had got myself into a big stress over the gift situation – we decided to cut our budget by 40%, and I was definitely feeling the pressure. I scoured the blogosphere for things I might be able to make, and discovered two significant problems. One – unless fairly complex and done well, I think home-crafted items look like primary school art projects, suitable only for Granny’s fridge. Martha may push the crepe paper, but should we really be following what she learnt during her stay in Alderson, WV? Then of course, two – craft supplies are frickin’ expensive. So, there’s every risk that you could spend a small fortune creating something that isn’t even good enough to be regifted.
In the end, I had to abandon what was holding me back – the desire to produce the “best present ever”. What is that, exactly? Something that is exactly what you wanted, without you ever having thought of it. It’s something that fulfils childhood sentimentality, yet is the latest thing, ahead of its time. Where to find it? Less easy to answer. I have the rest of my debt-free life to buy amazing stuff, but for now, I have to just go with modestly thoughtful. I think I succeeded. People won’t be talking about my gifts for years to come – like I still talk about the year I got a clarinet and a Sega Mega Drive – but they will use them and see them and hopefully think of me.