Everyone is always saying, “I love Christmas shopping! I love queues! I love credit card debt!”
I don’t like any of those things.
But my worst thing about Christmas shopping is trying to figure out what other people want. I stand in front of shelves, and pick things up, and send pictures on Whatsapp to people so they can help me choose (see picture to the right). I SMS enigmatic questions to the person it’s for to see if they would like it without telling them what it is, and then I get very, very confused and buy something that I wasn’t even considering, and then cringe when my sister unwraps a porcelain dachshund on Christmas Day.
I just wish everyone wanted what I want for Christmas, because all I want for Christmas is
- a surprise that is so awesome I didn’t even know I wanted it
or (if you can’t nail it)
- vouchers so I can choose my own things
- Amy Poehler’s new book, “Yes, Please!”
(No, really. That’s what its called. “Yes, Please!” is the title. And yes, I would like it. Please.)
I know that YOU’RE probably so organised and emotionally intelligent that you’ve already got personal, phenomenal, best-present-ever presents for everyone you know, but in case you aren’t, here’s my gift to you:
My Extremely Helpful Guide to Christmas Shopping
- Nieces and Nephews
In my experience, the best type of gift for children is one they can share. Like, a video game with one control. Or a scooter. Or a telescope. This may seem counterintuitive, but you are giving so much more than stuff that will lie in a toy box 80% of the time. You are giving them life experience. This is the gift that teaches them negotiation, patience, time management, the joy of delayed gratification, and self-denial. You’re also helping them learn that life’s not fair. Honestly, you’re practically raising them. Your sister-in-law is going to LOVE it.
(Side-note: This strategy is also effective for siblings, couples etc. Feel the joy)
This is probably one of the easiest ones to get right, because everyone knows their mom REALLY well. First, think of a specific quality that you would like to change about your mom. Like her advice, or her cooking, or the colours she uses for eyeshadow. Secondly, buy her a book that will teach her to be different. For example, “1 000 Tips For Being A Better Listener”, or “How To Cook With Food – An Easy Guide to Not Burning Stuff”, or “Beige Is The New Purple”. Thirdly, sit back and enjoy the new, upgraded mom. This kind of present says so much. Bonus: you won’t need a card because she’ll know its from you. SCORE!
I know. This is the one you’ve been waiting for. Dads are so hard. They are the Tour De France of presents. They are the Mt. Everest of gifts. When it comes to Christmas, they are the final round of Takeshi’s Castle. But I’m about to let you in on a MIND-BLOWING little secret. If you want to know what to get your dad…
I’ve got nothing.
Soap on a rope it is.
- Your own children
A lot of people think this is going to be easy, because your own children spend every waking moment telling you what they want. Unfortunately, it’s not ok to give them a snack or some juice as a Christmas gift, even though they ask for these two things more than any other thing in the world. Do not be misled – they do not actually want a snack or a juice. They just want you to NOT SIT DOWN. EVER.
I digress. The golden rule for buying your child’s Christmas gift is:
Buy something the salesperson says will be easy to assemble.
If a shop assistant tells you a toy is ‘easy to assemble’, it means it will take all of Christmas Day and Boxing Day to build, several trips to the hardware store in search of the correct tools, and then you will realise you do not have the right size batteries. This is the essentially a recipe for a joyful, peaceful Christmas because not only does it involve the whole family working together as a team, but it also means that you don’t have time to do anything else that might make you feel too relaxed. Or sit down. You won’t really get to sit down ever again in your life. Because you have kids.
I know, I know.
Before you read this blog, you were feeling a bit overwhelmed about getting your Christmas shopping done. But I’m pretty sure you now have about 100 ideas and all the inspiration to head out there, wave at the other cars on their way to the store, and embrace the queues with all the enthusiasm of a shopping mall Santa.
Merry Christmas, everyone.