I know it may seem to be a little bit early to start talking about Christmas shopping, but it’s not, and let me tell you why. Reason Number One, I saw Christmas puddings for sale at my local supermarket, and Reason Number Two, I saw Christmas decorations for sale at my local department store. I’m not going to name and shame, but if you’ve also seen these things for sale, you’ll know which stores I’m talking about. So naturally, my first response to seeing these items for sale was to freak out and realise that I’m waaaaaaaaay behind on my Christmas shopping. In early October. A full 83 days before Christmas.
The only person I am up-to-date with Christmas shopping for is my bestie, who lives in Palmerston North and who is so dang easy to shop for because I just get her all the stuff I want myself. One year, we bought each other the exact same set of cake tins, and another year, the same sewing book.
She is a million times easier to buy presents for than my husband, who always wants things that you can only get from obscure Kickstarters and websites I’ve never heard of where you have to email for a shipping quote because they’ve never heard of New Zealand. Plus, he (annoyingly) will give me an idea of a present for him and then go ahead and get it for himself. Like the year I preordered the Lord of the Rings box set and smuggled it into the house, triumphant and congratulating myself, only to find him settling in the next night with a bowl of popcorn and the Lord of the Rings box set he’d also preordered. You can bet I still refer to that occasion every time he says, “You know what you can get me for Christmas…” “Oh, I can preorder a Lord of the Rings box set?” Nope, I will never, ever let that go. In fact I might just go ahead and get him something little like a Personalised Photo Keyring with my gorgeous face on it so every time he unlocks his car, office or our house, he can be reminded of that time when he messed up Christmas for me! Or maybe that’s too nice a gift to get him? Oh well.
Anyway, this year I have been really, really clear with my husband that we have way too many toys in our house already and that the best gifts for the kids would be a) Clothing, because they are always growing, despite my best efforts to convince them to stay little; b) Books, because you can never have too many books; or c) Experiences, like swimming lessons or zoo passes or tickets to a play.
Now, I haven’t mentioned any of this to my kids, because although they love books and are always happy to receive those, they have a massive problem with both a) and c). Clothing is apparently “boring”, even though they would literally be naked if I didn’t keep track of the contents of their closets and know when to replace their holey underwear and outgrown shirts. And experiences require delayed gratification, which my kids are not at all into. Why would they get excited about opening an envelope with a note saying they’re going to meet the characters from Paw Patrol four months from now? If Ryder and his team of pups were themselves waiting under the Christmas tree, that would apparently be acceptable. But if they have to wait for something, forget it.
I, on the other hand, am always experiencing delayed gratification, particularly when it comes to soliciting my husband’s input on things like what specifically we should get the kids for Christmas. “We only have 83 days left,” I huffed at him tonight. “The supermarket is already selling Christmas puddings! We need to get this sorted now!”
“Relax! It’s only October,” he replied. “I’ll think about it next month.”
I’m not even going to ask him what he wants for Christmas this year. I’m just going to wrap up that old Lord of the Rings box set and put it under the tree with his name on it.