Tag Archives: gifts

Grumpy Christmas Past

Small gusty snow scene at night

I hope you all enjoyed Christmas and are looking forward to the new year! (Why do we have to put these words in capital letters? I don’t just want you to have a Happy New Year’s Celebration, I want you to have a happy all-of 2009).

Christmas Chez Diddums was very boring. I had a weevily headache all day because I spent the last two days doing housework I should have done a week earlier. On Christmas Day we watched The Golden Compass on DVD (my turkey went cold while I was struggling to remove the DVD from its case)… I thought I would enjoy it, but I hated it. I didn’t like the book either.

Mum broke my cafetiere in the morning by dropping a mug on it, so I had no coffee to alleviate my headache, and got a bit snappish.

Samson received a cat water fountain from my sister. I welcomed it with cries of joy, as he asks us to turn the tap on for him every ten minutes. She also gave him a reflective cat collar, which he is much less keen on.

I gave Mum Chanel No 5 and CK One (the first because she loves it, and the second as a trendy surprise). I said if she didn’t want the CK One, I would trade it in for something she liked better… but she said she liked it, and sprayed it generously on herself and on one of my bears, after which I wasn’t sure if I liked it myself any more. Nobody gave me any Jennifer Lopez perfume, and I see it’s gone up in price again.

I didn’t write any Christmas cards, except for neighbours and immediate family! That wasn’t intentional; it was pure disorganization. Many thanks to those better-organized friends who sent me cards despite my lapse; I loved the small one with a comical ginger cat face, which Mum grabbed and attached near the door as a decoration. You who sent it, you know who you are (unless you’ve already forgotten and think you sent a robin in the snow instead. That would be understandable, at our advanced grumpy old age).

I will try to do better next year.

Last Day of Christmas

Yesterday I found a bear sitting in my seat on the sofa. It was a Ty Attic Treasures bear called Samuel, dressed up like Uncle Sam of the United States.

I knew Mum had a bear like this, and didn’t pay much attention, but Mum said “it’s for you.”
“Oh, thank you,” I said – “I thought he was your bear”.
“I’ve got one too,” she said.
I looked inside his heart tag – it said “I WANT YOU!”

Seems like he’s got it all sussed out.

He was holding a book for me – a copy of Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis. The gift label said “Last Day of Christmas present.”

I’ve been wanting one for years, ever since I saw a Harrius Potter in the Roman Baths tourist shop in Bath. I was going to buy one from Amazon if nobody got me it this Christmas… the scary thing is that I thought “well I didn’t get it for Christmas, so I could order it. But who knows what will happen on New Year’s Day?” (My family has a habit of giving New Year’s Day gifts too; could be anything from a lump of coal to a DVD).

New Year’s Day came and went – I got a stick of Toblerone and some money for the sales.

“Well, I better get onto Amazon and order that Harrius Potter book. On the other hand, I’m going to the dentist soon; I don’t want my Amazon parcel to coincide with the dental appointment.”
So I waited…

Moral of this story: Christmas isn’t over till the last day.

Bear Witch

Happy Halloween! This is a bear Mum got me the other day – she’s a Ty Attic Treasure. The bear, that is.

Bear Witch

“It’s Not What I Had in Mind But I Tried”

On Christmas Eve, as usual, I was rushed off my feet, having left everything to the last minute. Except the tree, for a wonder – that went up good and early. Still, I was on the go constantly, washing things, hoovering, checking lists, nipping out for must-haves, feeding pets as part of my small pet-minding business (I have four cat households under my wing this Christmas). The thing with Christmas is that we don’t just have to do these large sweeping things, we have to do all the small niggly things too – it’s the fairy on the tree; the pretty home-made gift labels; the icing on the cake.

I expect we all have different niggly little details that we feel should be a part of Christmas Day. There will be a particular lovely decoration that has gone up in the same place every year, a particular food or sweet that must be on the table, a particular record that must be played (or film that must be watched).

And above all, everything must be perfect. Nothing must burn. Nothing must undercook, otherwise we get the same stupid TV advert every year. It shows a man dressed as a turkey attacking someone sitting quietly on the sofa watching a Christmas film. “Don’t let your turkey ruin your Christmas.” Presumably if people stop undercooking their turkeys, we will not have to watch these ads. The lights must twinkle, the presents must be liked (preferably marvelled at) and the icing certainly shouldn’t slide off the cake.

This is the time of year when, planning ahead, we see ourselves writing flowery messages to our loved ones, hand-crafting our own greetings cards. I know exactly what I’m going to say. I’m going to slip a note inside this parcel or that, saying something like “to keep my favourite XXX warm.” I decide on these cosy details a month or more ahead of Christmas.

Somehow there’s always something more pressing that has to be sorted out first – and when Christmas Eve arrives, it’s midnight and you’re exhausted, and you still have to do things like change your bed linen and stick the rest of the cards on the doors and (aargh) you still have half your parcels to wrap.

So you settle down with some sherry (for energy) and a cat immediately jumps on the table, coming close to upsetting the required drink. The cat wants to curl up where you have to wrap the presents, so you put him out of the room, ignoring the look of hurt affront on his face. Turning to the matter in hand, you find you don’t have any fancy home-crafted gift tags or cards, and your ribbons are all scrounged from the parcels you received last year.

When it comes to the crunch, you can’t remember all those little finishing touches you were set on – the loving notes and flourishing signatures in gilt pen. (What gilt pen?) Above all, you’re so tired that your hands are shaking and your creative imagination has curled up and died.

Instead of changing from one gift paper to another to keep the heap of gifts bright and interesting, you find yourself drawing on the same roll of thin but goes-on-forever giftwrap for all the gifts. You write a gift label that should have been important – “To XXX with lots of ocean-deep, transcend-the-boundaries-of-time love from Diddums, please have the best Christmas yet,” and you find yourself scrawling untidily “To XxX, MeRrY ChRiStMaS fRoM DiDdleoopsUms.” Then you draw a sad little doodle that goes wrong. Well, sometimes the doodles work, but not at 2 a.m. in the morning.

“Well,” you think comfortingly to yourself, “people who love me won’t care – anything I do will be beautiful, because I did it for them.”

Christmas Day comes, and you are receiving gifts… many are done beautifully, much better than your own, but a few have gift labels in wobbly hand-writing. “tO dIDdumS with loVe fROm xXX.”
“Awww”, you think, smiling fondly. “I wasn’t the only one wrapping gifts at two in the morning.”

Overheard on Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve. Today in town, Mum overheard little boy saying to man (or vice versa) “But what am I getting Mummy?”

I’m sure the same pair passed me a couple of times during the morning, getting more and more panicky looking.

I doubt if they would find it any easier in the nearest big city – I remember one Christmas going there to shop, and not finding anything. Went home and went round the small town shops, and found several good things! A fluke, perhaps, though my little town is better than a lot of places I’ve been. When we go on holiday, we’re used to shopping in an old and popular town in England, and their charity shops have very little of interest. We think that’s because of the antique centres; traders hit the charity shops early and get all the good things before the rest of us even get up. Then they flog them for more than most people can afford.

Merry Christmas from me and the cats. I hope you beat the early birds to the best worms! I got the last tin of cashew nuts next door, heh heh.