Caitlin Moran writing in the Times yesterday penned a Scrooge like rant in which she opined that nearly all Christmas presents were awful and should not be given. In particular she railed against giving clothing, chocolates, food and perfume, well, that's most of my Yuletide giving buggered then.
She didn't go on to explain just what might make the ideal gift though, not that I was about to rush out and buy something for her.
What is the ideal Christmas present though ? If I get anything I'll be happy, I'll be even more happy if on the evening of Christmas Day I have a small heap of new books and some bottles of wine. Does this make me boring and predictable ? I don't care, I can guarantee that when friends give me gifts of food, wine and books (or vouchers to be spent on food, wine and books) I will eat all the food, drink all the wine and read all the books. What could be a better present than something you know will get used ? So what if you have presented me with a bottle of Bordeaux every Christmas and birthday for the last two decades, I drank the wine and enjoyed it.
I know that some people regard the giving of vouchers as lazy and impersonal, but consider, I read a lot of books, and a lot of graphic novels, and I buy a lot of albums with my music subscriptions. I get alerts from Amazon and E-music to tell me when new material by my favourite artists and authors are to be released so that I can pre-order them. A book or record voucher allows me to get something I really want without the danger or receiving something I already own.
What I really want for Christmas though is just Christmas Day itself. Before moving to Ilkley Golf Club I had worked almost every Christmas Day since leaving school, and before that at the Red Lion in Burley, Mum and Dad always had to work on the day before we could sit down to our family meal. Christmas Day is the only day in the year that the club does not open and the President and Hon Sec kindly give us permission to use the clubhouse to host our own festivities.
It's a bit of a busman's holiday, after Meg wakes me up far too early to open some presents I get into the kitchen and cook lunch for the twenty or so family and friends, I raid my cellar for the really good wines, we all eat far too much and then have a daft few hours with the children after dinner (someone please bring a soft foam ball for after dinner footy chaos !). Some people say they hate Christmas and that's really sad, it is by far my most favourite day of the year.