Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.
Well, actually, these days the goose is probably already dead and nestling companionably with pigs in blankets and Yorskshire puddings, solid as a boulder in a freezer at the local supermarket.
Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? That’s what we all ask each other at this time of year, isn’t it.
It’s like some kind of competition where no one’s actually laid down any rules …
‘Have you finished your shopping yet?’
‘Well, no, I …’
‘Oh, I finished mine in October. Well, actually, I’ve been buying presents all year, whenever I’ve seen the absolutely perfect gift – a real pet unicorn with magic powers for my neice, Saoirse: dominion over the World Wide Web for my nephew, Augustus: global peace for Great Aunt Philomena – she’s always been such a softy …’
These preternatural organisational skills leaves the ordinary, shambolic mortal feeling inferior, an amateur in the shopping stakes, knowing that they’ll still be scrabbling around on Christmas Eve for the last perfume hamper / marmalades of the world gift box / port and Game of Thrones slipper set (the left foot being Tyrion Lannister, the right his sister Cersei which means your feet will constantly bicker and plot to have each other killed).
All of this means you’ll wake up on Christmas Day, exhausted, loathing mankind and all of its works, plough through a kilo of Whisky Liquer chocolates before you’ve peeled a sprout and be nauseous and semi – comatose before you get to open your first present.
May I give you some friendly advice? Don’t do it to yourself. Don’t put yourself under all that pressure, competiting with other shoppers, family, the world in an attempt to make that one day of the year the most magical, sparkly-special perfect it can be. No day can live up to that.
Take it easy on yourself. Instead of buying people tat they don’t want and don’t need (does anyone really need a plastic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that poops caramel coloured jelly beans? I think not) buy everyone you love – everyone you really love –
A BOOK TOKEN.
This is beneficial to mankind on several levels.
*You don’t have to stress yourself into an early, tinsel-and-cranberry-filled grave trying think about a million different presents, leaving you calmer and more able to enjoy the season.
*The recipient gets the opportunity to buy some wonderful fiction or some glorious non-fiction.
*A bookshop in your locality will receive a trickle of cash which may contribute to its survival – and who of us wish to see another bookshop close?
And if none of your friends and family are readers? If they wallow in the delusion that all there is to life is seeeing what’s trending on social media and collecting their own bodily fluids in jars around the house?
Then buy the token anyway. The bookshop still gets the cash and you’ve still given the ignoramous in your life a present.
This post was inspired by a conversation with fellow blogger, the bookish John Guillen at Write me a Book John