Thursday, 1 December 2016

My Christmas list

God rest ye merry gentlemen? I should coco! The month is upon us, the geese are getting fat, and I've got three weeks to get this house festive, finalise the gifting, and make sure I don't repeat any of my usual seasonal foul-ups!

My chief failing always boils down to the labelling of parcels. Apparently, it’s not the done thing to scrawl names on wrapping paper with marker pen. Who knew?

This year will be different - I’m going for dogtags (as in tags shaped like dogs rather than the necklaces of retired marines) - how cute are these little fellas from Debenhams?!
Scotty dog gift tag
Scotty dog gift tags
And since I’m in Debenhams, I’m going to grab a few more things to spruce up the house.

First, the wreath. I won’t take sole responsibility for this, but in twenty years of living together, we’ve always failed to sort this most elementary of decorations: the piece that says 'Hello!' and 'Welcome to our festive home!'. So far, so grinchy. Thankfully, this charming red number is perfect for two reasons: (1) it’s my wife’s favourite colour and (2) our front door was glossed black just a couple of months ago, so it’ll look smart as a button.
Red berry wreath
Red berry wreath
Next, bunting. Everyone loves bunting. Actually, that’s not strictly true: there’s a short register of sociopaths with something against it, but mercifully they’re all locked up (as Dostoevsky said: "The degree of a society's civilisation can be judged by observing its prisoners") - but I digress. Bunting is key to any festival - except for Christmas, it would seem, when it becomes "garland". But as the song says: you say tomato, I say royale with cheese.
Let it snow garland
Let it snow seasonal garland

There's also the matter of the annual Christmas decoration I buy my mum - a tradition that started when I finally moved out of the family home, some twenty-odd years ago. This beautifully embroidered guardsman decoration is handmade with velvet and gold metal threadwork, with sales benefiting the work of Help for Heroes, meaning that it looks good and does good. 
Christmas decoration
Help for Heroes tree decoration
The final item, I confess, we don’t actually need - not least because there isn’t a square inch of space left on our Christmas dinner table to host it. But HOLY FLAMING ANTLERS! You will not see a better candelabra this year. I know - I've Googled.
Silver stag candelabra
Silver stag candelabra
So there’s the preparations sorted, but what about the giftlist?

Well, the most important question is how far the family should be indulged. As this clip shows, opinions tend to differ.

Now, let’s just say that I did want to indulge the boys - and that I had the budget to do so - I’d sort something for my youngest first, quite simply because he's the easiest to buy for.

There’s a saying: Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. In which case, be Batman.

That, in essence, is my boy's philosophy. I can't describe how much he loves Batman (the tantrums when his Batman tee-shirts aren't clean, however, I can detail to a forensic level). In fact, he's not content to spend his waking hours being Batman, he sleeps him too. 

Sleeping two-year old in Batman mask

What he lacks, though, is the wheels. So what I’m about to show you, you must never tell him about, as there's really nowhere I can put it, but were he to learn of its existence, I’d never hear the end of it. In short, check out the 6v electric Batmobile.
6v Batmobile
The electric Batmobile! 
My first-born meanwhile, is a more complex creature. I'd go as far as to say deviant. I don't mean "a deviant" - just deviant, as in he simply doesn't function like other children. Example: most kids are happy to get a sticker from their dentist - mine demands a surgeon’s mask and latex gloves.
boy dressed as dentist

I just can't predict what he will engage with. For example, I gave him a scooter for his third birthday (everyone loves scooters, right?!) - he left it in the shed for two years.  

Fortunately, he's now old enough to write a Christmas list ...

a christmas list (untidy)

... Perhaps next year he might even write a legible one!

Having discussed his wishlist with him, one thing is clear: what he really wants is decorator’s overalls. Seriously! In a world where you can be Batman, he wants to be a decorator. Sure, there's less chance of long-term injury and it’s probably easier to hold down a relationship, but still.

I’ve looked into this, and you know what? They don’t make decorator’s overalls for six-year-olds. Fortunately, we’ve negotiated a compromise. You can - thanks to the popularity of Super Mario - buy a plumber’s outfit.

For the purpose of clarity, he doesn't want a Super Mario costume per se - indeed, I don't think he's even heard of Super Mario. He just wants overalls so he can pretend to be Colin, the chap that painted our kitchen. And since there isn’t much demand for Colin costumes, I’m looking at this ensemble right here.
Plumber's costume
Plumber's costume
The moustache won’t last a day, but that’s fine - Colin is very clean shaven.

My next purchase is an easy one - but only because I asked my wife what she wanted. She said she wanted to look less tired.

Crucially, she didn’t say that she wanted to be less tired, for that would be nigh impossible. Even if we went on holiday we’d have to take the children, so we’d still have to wake up ridiculously early in order for them to meet their self-imposed quota of mindless yelling and pointless arguments with us.

In short then, my wife wants something to paper over the cracks. In other words, make-up.

I confess this isn't my area of expertise. However, I do know that she swears by Benefit Lemon Aid. By all accounts, it gives the illusion of having had an additional 35 minutes of sleep, which is sorcery by any other name.
Lemon Aid make up
Lemon Aid
That just leaves yours truly. If I'm honest, however, I haven't had time to think about me.  All that springs to mind is the Christmas list my father would wheel out every year. I used to think he was being obtuse, but in hindsight he simply had no desire to waste his wishes on winter woollies.

So, like my father before me, I'm going to wish for two things: peace on earth and goodwill to all men!

Have a great Christmas!

This is my entry for the Debenhams Win Your Wishlist” Blogger Competition.
Links to all items can be found beneath the product images.


  1. good luck with this - love your ideas. It is on my to-do list but am running out of time! x

    1. Thanks! Now that December is here there's a lot of demands on one's time isn't there? Can't do everything- but we still try!