For someone who claims to like Christmas on their ‘About’ page, there are certain things about the festive season that I could do without. One is Christmas shopping. The shops are too busy, crowded, hot, and the queues too long. Also, the constant playing of Slade, Wizard et al is enough to drive anyone demented. It’s a good job I’m not a sales assistant as I would be committed to the funny farm by mid December.
If you decide to give the chaos of the shops a miss, and use the internet instead this is not without its perils. It’s a gamble as to whether the gift you have carefully chosen will live up to its fantastical description and photo on the website. You can just about guarantee you will have popped out for five minutes when the item is delivered, meaning that you then have to drive to the Post Office depot and join the long, long, long queue (another Christmas tradition) to pick up your parcel. You then get home to find it is damaged and have to go through the rigmarole of sending the thing back.
Of course, this is after you have decided what to buy your loved one. Finding the perfect present is a major headache. You spend hours trawling the shops or internet for that specially chosen gift to be put in the back of a cupboard or donated to charity. I have learnt my lesson over the years and now buy everyone chocolates and wine on the basis that I can’t really go wrong with this. Besides, I once read you should buy gifts that you would like to receive yourself and I definitely would be happy with just these two items in my Christmas stocking.
The other thing I dislike, no let’s be honest here, loathe about Christmas is Christmas cards. Firstly, glitter cards. Who buys these and why? The glitter gets everywhere; over the house, over my hands, on the end of my nose. Card manufacturers please stop making these. No-one thanks you for it. Secondly, Christmas cards just get in the way. I stopped using fancy card holders as the cards only fell out of them or the damn thing fell off the wall spilling its contents all over the floor. Now I stand mine up, but space is limited so I have to cram them all together. They then fall over with the slightest draft bringing them all down like dominos. This means I spend a lot of time standing them back up again. Also, it is a complete pain to dust the shelves I’ve put them on, so I don’t bother. Come to think of it, that’s a really big positive for Christmas cards.
However, these are just minor complaints. My real hatred is reserved for writing Christmas cards. I find it mind-numbingly boring and, quite frankly, I have better things to do. My abhorrence reached its peak when I worked in a large office which had over fifty staff. Not only was it an extremely irksome task, but my hand always hurt by the time I had finished. One year I had had enough and decided to stop sending cards to my work colleagues. Obviously, I wasn’t brave enough to admit that this was because of my lack of Christmas spirit. Instead, I invented a story about how cards were only meant to be sent to loved ones and friends you hadn’t seen for a long time. They were not meant to be sent to people who you spent more time with than your own spouse. I nobly declared that I was going to give the money I normally spent on Christmas cards to charity.
I was quite pleased with myself for smoothly averting my time and efforts to more worthwhile endeavours. Then someone else in the office concluded that she too should follow my philanthropic path, and decided to do the same. Then so did another. And another. And another. Until a sizeable chunk of the office was doing the same. Crikey, I had inadvertently started a benevolent movement!
I have managed to carry on in this vein for many years now. However, this year it will be different. This year my girls have started school and want to send Christmas cards to their classmates. There are thirty children in their class and they both want to send separate cards, which means I have had to buy in bulk. They want to write the cards themselves but, as they are only four, will need a lot of help to do this. A lot of help from me. Karma anyone?