Some people have their Christmas gifts bought and all wrapped by the end of October.
That’s not right, surely? Much as I admire their organisational skills, I suspect this premature readiness is not because they are over-excited about the prospect of Christmas and simply can’t hold back from present buying any longer. Unlike me.
Christmas shopping is as festive as it gets. There’s something magical about finding yourself on the High Street, around 4pm in the rainy twilight, standing beneath the illuminated Santas and reindeer and those weird star shapes that pass for the Christmas lights, struggling with eight shopping bags as you try to remember exactly what you wanted to buy for your sister-in-law and how much you’ve all agreed to spend on each cousin-child this year (and which shops they like best – still Game, or is it Topman now?).
Gift cards are ubiquitous and massively sensible, but it’s not as personal, or as much fun, as actually picking something out for your friends and family. Plus, there are so many sales bargains and three-for-twos and the like, it can look if you’ve spent so much more money than you actually have, so you can seem super-generous. It’s the thought that counts.
For small gifts and stocking fillers, look out for bag charm/key rings (don’t you just love it when something so boring and familiar is given another life?) in the form of furry pompoms and metallic leather fringing.
Small bags and purses are always handy, but choose something that will work with anything – real leather is always a good choice. Older teenage boys will appreciate a leather wallet or card holder.
Sleepwear is fabulous fun for all ages, although especially teenage girls. Pick something they can lounge about the house all weekend in (if it’s your own child, make sure it’s a design you like too, because you’ll be seeing a lot of it, and steer clear of festive patterns and touches, although checks and tartans are fine – maybe in pink/purple and so on).
Slippers are no longer considered quaint and dull, but bear in mind that slipper boots are a safer option for the style-conscious. A short waffle cotton robe with tie belt will always be a great present.
Keep jewellery classic, although we all love a bit of bling as it always comes in handy at some point.
Now a few rules on the etiquette of gift giving and accepting. Remember what you have been given, and what you have given. Some people keep a note so that they don’t give back the same gift to the giver the following year (I have done this). If you do want to recycle your gift (ungrateful, but there you go) use the six degrees of separation rule or take to a charity shop. Preferably one far away from the person who gave it to you.