There are two types of people. There are the first kind, that leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute. They have no idea whatsoever to get anyone, panic buy, and spend an ungodly amount of money on things that, really, nobody asked for, or wanted. Then there are the second kind, who have their gift shopping all wrapped up and under the tree before their Thanksgiving celebrating neighbors can wipe out the Turkey. I'm most definitely the latter and love to be prepared, although you will always find me panicking a week before the big day, wondering if there's enough to open.
Luckily, or rather unluckily, my parents fall either side of the spectrum. My Mum is, and always has been a planner. She'd have Christmas sorted by June and hidden away in any number of cupboards, but my Father, he's.. less organised, and if I could rely on a parent to buy me something I didn't want to receive, it would almost always be off him. Alas, times have changed, and presents I once dreaded receiving have become new favourites of mine to rip away from it's paper instead. Take, for example..
1 | Anything Remotely 'Bedtime Clothing' Related
As a child, I never understood why so many people gave me socks for Christmas. Was there going to be a sock shortage in the upcoming months, and factories would cease to make the tootsie warmers I used to slid across the kitchen floor in? No, they just had no idea what to buy me, and thought socks were a good idea. In hind sight, they were, because I was always losing my socks to the washing machine monster, and without ever knowing it, needed more by the time Christmas rolled around, but at the time, it sucked. Pajamas that were sizes too small on top and huge on the bottom, slippers that you'd only ever Mr Chipley wearing to the corner store, and let's not forget the terrible hat, scarf and gloves combo that always fell underneath the tree.
With age comes wisdom (apparently) and I realise now why these presents are awesome. I put off buying new socks ALL THE TIME because I have other priorities, like food, and bras for big boobs. I avoid buying slippers, because I can never come a decision on what ones I actually want, and which ones are most practical. I never buy gloves, because it makes me look weak, and a scarf, please, I can strangle myself plenty fine without fabrics assistance, but these are the greatest gifts of all. They mean I don't have the adult around the shops on my lonesome and look seasonally single, when I have family who'll buy them because they have no idea what else to buy. I'm rather looking forward to opening my socks and festive PJ's this year.
2 | Gift Cards and Money
I don't know about you, but before I hit my ripe teenage years, money wasn't really an important factor in my life. Sure, I knew some people had more than others, and that was life, but the value of money, and what it was really worth to me, was never all that interesting. I would much rather have opened something, than been given the entire world of options, because I've always been a sucker for chocolate, and I never spent it on anything practical anyway. Fast forward a few years, and the times they did change.
Getting gift cards and money is a regular occurrence for me now as a 20-something. If I get asked for ideas before October, I'm all ready and waiting for a list of good gifts I'd like under the tree, but if you asked me mid-November, I got nothing. Ask me in December, and you may as well give in and haul your ass to the cash machine. I'm a super picky person, and there are certain people who buy me gifts that don't quite have my preferences in mind. When I say notebooks, I mean pretty, inspiring, motivational notebooks with nice looking covers and maybe a little quirky feature, not a 3-pack for £1. Gift cards and money are a to me, what turkey trimmings are to my cat.
3 | Practical Stocking Fillers
At the age of 7, I had no use for earphones. The only piece of technology I could use them in was my Mums portable CD player, and that was never an option. There was never any point in giving me small gifts of bubble bath because bathes were just another thing for my Mum to nag me about. Candles and anything remotely feminine was not a viable option, and let's not even get started on how colouring books and pens were 'all we got when we were your age' because I'm not living in the same generation as you, so how about gifting me something good huh?
These days, there's nothing more stressful to me than being out with my Ipod, only to find that my current earphones have gone all kerplunk on me. They're dead. No CPR. No hope. I'm doomed. Having extra earphones is not only a godsend, but it's easily the best present you can give somebody these days. With the vast array of technology available, nobody is not going to say no to getting a cheap pair of earphones for when theirs find their way into the bin. It's not just the women who are all about bubbles in the bath these days either, my Stepdad is OBSESSED with them, and all the different kinds, for stress and for sore muscles. Who wouldn't want a sneaky bottle in their stocking. Let's no forget how colouring books are now all the range, and perfect for stress. There's nothing I love more than a practical present in my stocking, I wouldn't even take offence at a razor or two.
4 | Sentimental/Personal Gifts
Back in the old days, getting something mushy or remotely personal was just not was Christmas was about. Aw, Aunty Mabel got me a necklace that looks just like the one I had when I was a mere baby, but Uncle Jeff got me a flying, singing, skating Cindy doll, so he's the best human in the whole wide world. Material items were wanted more than memories, and quantity was valued over quality, but now I'm older and (hopefully) wiser, I appreciate a thoughtful gift so much more than an expensive one.
Last year, a certain friend who shalt not be named gifted me a 'Open When' Box full of envelopes. It was a sentimental gift, full of memories we had together, and memories we thought we'd continue to create, and although that friendship has since dissolved and the gift has lost it's meaning, it was still one of the nicest gifts I received. For my 21st, I got the cheapest, most tacky mug featuring a photo of myself and my siblings, but I loved it so much for it's personal value. This year, I'm getting the entire Skulduggery Pleasant series in Hardcover, which just so happens to be my all time favourite series in the entirety of forever, which means more to me than I can put into words. Not every present has to be flashy, and my favourites are always those with meaning.
Let's Not Go Forgetting Though, The Gift of Giving
For the first time in my, rather uninteresting life, I've come to appreciate the feeling that comes with giving gifts to those I love most. In the past, I've bought presents that hoped people would like, but hated parted with money, and would just buy certain presents because it's what you give to that type of person, but this year has been different. I might not be giving people the presents I want to give them, but I'm giving them what they want. Last year I gave my brother some snazzy looking socks (along with other things, I'm no scrooge!), because like I said before, they're practical, but he's 14 and doesn't really want socks. This year, I've bought him a gift card for his favourite game store, and a cool looking tin and book collection centered around a game series he loves. It might not be what I wanted for him, but it's what he wants under the tree, and more than ever, the gift of giving is so important to me.
I've hit an age were Christmas isn't about having the next best gadget sitting under the tree, unlike my teenage brother who really needs to let go of his Xbox One dream, it's about family, and giving the gift of yourself to those you love. After such a tough year for us all, emotionally, politically, and physically, we shouldn't forget that Christmas is about giving the gift that matters most. You.