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RJULIE
Every year, usually sometime in early November, I undergo a personality change,
transmuting from shopaholic, disorganised girl-about-town to shopaholic, obsessive
Stepford Wife. It starts with the compulsive collecting of those awful (but scarily
compelling) catalogues which you find inserted into magazines offering us weird gifts
and gimmicks that no-one ever has because no-one actually wants but which, come
November, suddenly develop an attraction that sees me absorbing them with the
concentration of a Telegraph journalist scrutinising an MP’s expenses form, and I spend
hours ticking items as I decide which relative most needs a back scratcher in the shape
of a gorilla’s hand and which mate would love to receive retro washing-up gloves at a
not-so retro price.R World
With Julie Teckman
By the end of November, I’ve a pile of well-thumbed catalogues and a list visitors!). And after all the expense, time and effort involved, there’s inevitably
as long as your arm of bizarre products on order, ready for matching to the someone who asks whether I make my own cards ‘to save money…’
names on my Christmas present list. Not surprisingly, given the method I use
for selecting and buying presents, I inevitably find that while some recipients But for complete Christmas lunacy, there’s the issue of handmade crackers.
have several gifts perfectly suited to them, others are likely to end up with Originally it was a brilliant way of giving loved ones an extra and a personal
nothing. So then I do my high street shopping. The problem with high street gift enshrined in a cracker. Then, I could buy little gifts for around £2 a
shopping is that when I buy things for time. Now? It’s a nightmare of epic
people that I know I’d like to receive proportions! Thank goodness for
(but never do), I tend to find myself samples of perfume and posh makeupIf only present buying was the extent
later buying other things so that I can that I can use for the women; trying to
keep the originals for myself, justifying find tiny gifts for men is just that: trying!“ of my Christmas mania, it might not
the expense by reasoning that I never And they’re not exactly quick to make.“
get exactly what I want for Christmas Many times I’ve shrieked at the familybe quite such a (self-inflicted) stressful
anyway, so I deserve to treat myself to keep guests entertained while I finish
to a couple (well, okay, a lot) of little rolling, filling and sticking the stupidtime of year.
presents. things. Mind you, since I don’t want to
miss out on pulling a cracker myself, I
If only present buying was the extent of alwaysmanagetofindalittlesomething
my Christmas mania, it might not be quite such a (self-inflicted) stressful time for my own – and jewellery fits terribly well into the barrel of a cracker!
of year. Oh no, I also feel the need to make my own greetings cards and And finally there’s the little matter of decorating the house. I’ve finally learned
crackers for Christmas day with my family and Boxing day at the In-Laws! not to buy the biggest tree I can find, after struggling to hack chunks of trunk
off in order to get it into the house (never mind the pot!) It’s all the fault of
I started making Christmas cards back at a time when I was childless and these ‘lifestyle-porn’ magazines that lead me to believe that the only good
with too much time on my hands. Then when my boys were small, it was house at Christmas is one creaking with decorations and scented candles.
a fun activity that we could do together. Now, it’s a habit that sees me In reality, the whole thing is exhausting, impossible and ultimately pretty
spending a fortune on art and craft items, wasting a huge amount of time pointless given that all most people are interested in are the presents and
desperately thinking of effective but easy ideas and then frantically trying to the food!
make, write and send my homemade missives before the last posting date
(not always successfully!). The cards vary in their quality but never fail to By Christmas day, I’m an incoherent, bedraggled wreck (not helped by the
amuse (particularly the year whenIcarefullyand laboriously stuck little glittery champagne on Christmas Eve), in no condition to even think about cooking
Christmas trees in a stylish row on each card, only to find out that they all fell the meal. I’m generally propped in a corner gibbering and twitching while the
off into the envelopes during transit leaving the recipients to either re-stick as family takes over the easy bit. But you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing.
they thought appropriate or display blank white cards for the bemusement of So bring it on and a very Happy Christmas to you all xxx
43 R MAGAZINE
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