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December 15, 2013 / catherinebwrites


Magic SnowWeasel Ball                     

My grandfather had a big white moustache and smoked a pipe and I adored him because he gave me the BEST PRESENT EVER.

He arrived one winter’s afternoon. and handed me a box that looked like a cottage.   It was homemade from cardboard with the thatch, windows and door painted on.   My grandfather was famous for his manual skills and I knew he had made this himself.   I thought it was nice but… maybe a bit unexciting.

“Open it.” he said, “take off the roof.”

I lifted the roof and inside there were millions of tiny presents.   An  entire treasury.    A whistle, a hairslide, a ribbon, some sweets, a tiny doll, a  picture, a little book and I don’t know what else.  I was slack-jawed with amazement, delight, gratitude and thrilled to the very core of my being by such flamboyant largess.


Once I’d stammered my heartfelt “thank-yous”, I disappeared with  my treasure under the table.   It was like a big wooden tent and the tablecloth hanging down gave me the feeling of being in my own special hideaway.  I stayed there for hours revelling in the pleasure of  having all these delights to myself.   No present I’ve ever got since has thrilled me so much.

So all you aunts and uncles out there, all you god-fathers, god-mothers and grandparents, here’s how to buy for children for Christmas… or for that matter birthdays.

First decided: Do you want to please the parents or the children?

If you  want to please the parents buy something expensive, something tasteful or, ideally, something that’s expensive, tasteful and educational.

Girls Hair AccessoriesHalle Phone Charm    

BUT… if you want to please the children, especially if they’re under 10, forget expensive and tasteful. Think pound shop.   Think shiny, gooey, glittery.   Think silly and slightly macabre   Think snow globes and spiders in slime.   Think tattoo pens and  bubbles. Think rubbishy things that parents may well disapprove of.  Think taboos, think mildly illicit, think  torches to shine when parents have turned out the lights, glow in the dark skeletons and alien eggs.    Wrap each thing separately and put them in a box or a bag.   There will be paper all over the floor on Christmas morning but hey, it won’t be your problem and the kids will love it.

After 10 they like to think of themselves as grown up.   Give them a gift that says “I know you’re mature for your age.”  Head for wallets and evening bags, perfumes, creams, potions, make-up, calendars and posters that feature their idols ( make sure you’ve got it right or you’ll just be seen as a saddo).   If you go for clothing make sure it’s cool and sophisticated or party wear.   Avoid anything related to school and only give hobby-related things when you’re 100% certain  they want it.  

And, irrespective of age, if you offer a day out to some place they’d enjoy, they’re going to love it. Wouldn’t we all?

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