Monday, November 30, 2009

As for me....

Not that anyone does, but were they to bother asking me what I want for Christmas, my instructions would go something like this.

I am not a candle person. Why do I get so many bloody candles? I don't have anything against candles. My neighbour always has candles on the go and her place looks fabulous and smells like a Bedouin boudoir, without the camels. She also doesn't have pyromaniac 6 and 14 year olds (boys, of course) and the associated risks. Besides, candles are actually quite high maintenance; you have to make sure they don't drip, burn out and stink the place out, and, if you're really a Type A, they all need to be the same size if they're situated anywhere near each other. Far too much effort in my opinion.

I am also not really a manicure/spa/body-wrap type person, and on the rare occasion when I have been treated to a gift certificate for some such place, it's been more like a torture session than anything remotely pleasurable. (The body wrap where my arms were clamped to my sides before I was trussed in seaweed and cling film/saran wrap was particularly disturbing.) Unfortunately such certificates are difficult to return since a) they usually have your name on b)the friend who gave the gift often wants to accompany you, and c)the spas in question doesn't sell a whole lot of other things with which to swap.

I am a weird size and normal clothes don't sseem to fit. (Long arms, fat belly, you name it). So please don't buy me anything to wear unless it's a scarf and gloves set. But even then, my fingers are quite long and I always need a women's large or extra large. For some reason, gift givers think it's an insult to buy anything other than a medium, even for hands. And don't even think about hats. My head is huge and I thanked god when the trend for Lady Di style hats was over as I could never buy anything off the rack.

I am not remotely interested in any type of military history, so don't buy me something disguised as a "biography" just so you can read it. Hint loudly and I'll buy it for you instead.

Ditto DVD's.

I have asked for a plain gold watch this Christmas as my everyday one has finally given up the ghost and will cost more to repair than it's worth. I have e-mailed the Ball & Chain several pictures of "plain" gold watches; I have categorically stated that I don't want anything fancy on it, nor should it be too expensive because I don't want to have to worry about wearing it all the time. What are the chances that he doesn't have a fit of flamboyance at the watch counter and buy me something that's "nicer"?

And why am I kidding myself that even if I were to give detailed instructions about things I wanted, I'd end up getting them? For my September birthday, I dutifully thought about what I wanted and told my mother that a cotton scarf (all the rage, you know the ones) and a lipstick palette would be lovely. Even gave her suggested shades. I was back in Chicago when I opened the present, which was just as well. She'd decided that a cotton scarf would be too cold to wear in Chicago this winter (so bought me a nice black woolly one instead), and that I didn't really have many nail varnishes, so a couple of bottles would do nicely. I mean, really???

I give up.



  1. I agree I would rather have nothing than the crap my mother in law sends me.

  2. Nail varnish on lips? Maybe not.
    Usually I get what I wanted. When it comes to presents, that is.

  3. After more years than I can remember, my mother *finally* got the hint... we'd rather have something we want than a bunch of stuff we don't. Every year now, she sends out a questionaire - favorite brands/names of laundry detergent, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. It's not glamourous, or particular fun to open, but it's nice in the weeks after the holidays not to have to go out and buy this stuff. She'll usually still throw in a little something she likes, but compared to what the holidays use to be, this is so much nicer! And less stressfull, as I no longer have to keep horrible things in case she comes over and wonders why it's not on display or something.

  4. I often receive celebrity cookbooks that are often not as exciting as they should be.

    We have 9 in our immediate family (a 'blended family' which includes two serious boyfriends) so we put the names in a hat and people draw one person to buy a gift for--except as parents we buy for everyone. I then become a hideous nag and tell people to MAKE LISTS!! I do not want to waste my money on something they wouldn't like much and I certainly dont want to feel I have to be polite about something someone bought because they didnt know what else to get. LISTS!!

    And then... someone gets clever and buys something not on the list. *sigh*

  5. We are doing the one name out of the hat thing this year and asking each others signifigant others what the person in question is interested in.

    I too get a lot of freaking candles, and not the yummy votivo ones I love, but the cheap ones that smell like a hospital bathroom.

    Hey you wear Boden clothes? I think they make longer arms and nicer fit than many US brands.

  6. Ha! Ha! I agree. My mum is pestering me for gift ideas so maybe I should just forward her this post. And just wait for the nail polishes to arrive...

  7. damn- that military history book I just bought you will have to go back. Such a great read too- it would have looked fab on your coffee table along with all the candles

  8. I am waiting to see whether anyone in my family will bother with a present now that I am out here. My dad has already said why don't we just buy ourselves presents rather than going to the bother of sending them across the pond - not very Christmassy!

  9. NVG - one thing I have suggested is that they buy things from (the US site) which they can have sent here and I will wrap them. It is a bit deflating when people declare that it's too much hassle or "just get yourself something".
    Jo - ha.
    Snowflowers - not sure I"m a Boden gal tho'.

  10. I seem to remember seeing a Cartier and a Tiffany store not far from you, so yes I'm betting on a flambuoyant fit too!

  11. Yes. Quickly send Cartier photos of watch - aim high. Well at least you've got a significant other to buy you a present - I on the other hand will just have to spend a huge amount of money on myself and then wrap things up and look really said and Mr Bean like when I open them and feign surprise! Lx

  12. oh you are SO high maintenance LOL
    with the exception of the military history books i would like everything you mentioned so if you get overburdened with candles, spa certificates or elaborate gold watches, i'll trade you. :-)

  13. No, no - I really do want an un-posh watch. I have a few really "good" watches, one of which needed a new battery last week. NOt only did I have to take it downtown, but they had to send it off to the head office in New York. They also informed me that if there was anything else wrong with it, it would have to go back to Switzerland. Fortunately it only needs a battery (as I kept telling them) but by the time I get it back the festive season will be over (it has a few diamonds in it) and it'll go back in its box.

  14. Books. And I give them each their own list (different books on each of course) and so my winter is quite happy with lots to read...what more could I ask for? Better eyesight might be a plus...
    hope you get the watch you want and not the watch they want!

  15. I feel your pain/frustration, but what to do? No, I don't know. When I've pondered the problem it came to me in a flash of enlightenment that really I don't want things. I already have things. What I want is an EXPERIENCE! Like going on a trip to the Amazon jungle, or a sojourn in an Indian Ashram, or a month in a rental villa in Tuscany with its own chef.

    Sigh. Not gonna happen. I'll get the wrong scarf and earrings I don't like. Like I don't have enough earrings. Yes, I am SO ungrateful.

  16. I've already had an out and out argument about Christmas and presents and it wasn't even December! I just don't understand people when they insist on giving tat and cheap tat at that then actually having the gall to say they really thought about it! Everyone club together if you must and buy one really wonderful gift from a carefully selected list then what a joy Christmas would be!

  17. I'm just grateful that I work on the school's mega rummage/jumble sale so any unwanted gifts go straight there and I don't feel like I've thrown them out!

  18. Ha ha - read this post as I was on the phone to my mum giving explicit instructions for Christmas presents...


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