Yes, it’s December, and I am totally allowed to write a post about Christmas, my favourite time of year. I always try to be organised for Christmas when it comes to presents; I usually have university exams in December so I need to sort my shit out in advance, especially if I need to take time off work. Christmas shopping can instill fear in the hearts of many, conjuring images of stuffy shops filled with other fretting shoppers, mile-long queues and a rather forlorn empty wallet after only two hours spent in town. Christmas shopping used to be exciting when I was a child, until I got older and realised the actual stress involved in the whole thing. Dublin city centre should come with a health hazard warning on December the 8th; the droves descending on the capital, the jam-packed trains and buses, the shops blaring Jingle Bells at every entrance, the inability to find parking or a lunch that wasn’t purchased in McDonalds. There are far easier ways to get your loved ones sorted out for Christmas, and the likelihood of your blood pressure rising should lessen dramatically if you just chill the fuck out, and get started a little earlier.
This year I started first with my boyfriend. I decided I really wanted to get him a special present as I’d never been able to afford to buy him anything fantastic before, and he is brilliant at present-buying so I needed to up my game. My first obstacle, however, was the fact that his birthday was in November, so I was tapped out of ideas. It would have been a little silly to buy him more Select Reserve Jameson and another jumper. So I started dabbling around different websites looking for ideas; he’s a bit of a nerd so I confined my search to those kind of sites. Then I had a sniff around Amazon.co.uk and found that their Black Friday sales had kicked in a week early. Soon enough, I had a reduced 2012 Nexus 7 in my basket and, after some hassle with a supplier and my being broke, it’s now on its way to my house. A tablet is pretty much the only piece of technology he doesn’t own, so I thought, hey, why not? I also spotted some kickass Anchorman scotch glasses on iwantoneofthose.com and knew they were perfect. So far, I think I’m doing pretty well in the boyfriend present stakes, and if I happen to have any spare cash closer to Christmas I might try to pick up something else for him.
The next person on the list is my younger sister. Her main present is money for a class trip to Berlin in January (how I wish I was going back!) so in addition, we’re trying to fill her life with more girly accoûtrements than she can possibly wear at once. Mum has bought her some leather leggings and tops from http://www.missselfridge.com and http://www.veromoda.com, and I will be giving Mum money for a pair of black skinny jeans she also ordered from Miss Selfridge. And my dearest sister will also be receiving some statement jewellery, including gold midi rings and a necklace, probably from Miss Selfridge also, or maybe Penneys if my funds do not recover sufficiently when I get paid on Thursday. My sister is easily pleased in terms of presents, which is rather convenient considering that anything we buy her tends to be become lost, stolen or broken within six months anyway.
My Mum is a different story. Surprises are not something which my mother understands, so we usually end up buying from a prescribed list, compiled by means of heavy hint-dropping. Useful if one isn’t so good with present ideas, but it does tend to make things a little predictable on Christmas morning. This Christmas she is looking for an UGG dressing gown and slippers, no simple request, let me assure you. Not only are they expensive, the dressing gowns in particular are rather hard to come by. But hopefully Dad and I will manage to inflict some damage on his credit card tomorrow while she’s at work. I’ve also drawn up a little list of skincare products she loves but can’t afford to buy for herself; this includes Clarins Pure Melt Cleanser, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream and a Molton Brown stress-relieving bath soak. Mum tends to favour quality over quantity so if we manage even some of those things I think she’ll be happy. And it will all be ordered online, to avoid the aforementioned clusterfuck of stress that is Christmas shopping in Dublin.
Then there’s Dad. My Mum has supernatural Christmas organisational abilities, which I’m desperately trying to emulate, so Dad is nearly sorted already. We have organised four tickets to Ireland v Wales in the Six Nations next year; Dad is quite the rugby fan and has been talking about taking us to an international match for years. Well now we’ve forced his hand! Mum has also bought him some black Tommy Hilfiger cords and my sister and I have been instructed to find him a jumper and shirt. Standard Dad presents, but he’ll be happy. If I can, I’d like to buy a book on the First World War that I spied three months ago in Hodges & Figges in Dublin. Hopefully the fact that I can’t remember the title or author won’t be too much of a stumbling block.
And while we’re at it, I might as well tell you what I’m hoping to find under the tree this Christmas. I did ask for a Nexus 7 from my parents, on an ‘only if it’s actually viable’ basis. I am hopeful but if it can’t be done, I won’t be too disappointed. I’m super excited about the fact that I’m getting a Babyliss Big Hair styler; bouncy sleek hair shall be mine! I found this in my parents’ room by accident so it’s one thing I know for certain that I’m getting. I’ve been told by my Mum not to peek into any Miss Selfridge parcels that arrive at the house, so that’s a bit exciting too. And my boyfriend refused to take any suggestions for a present for me, and similarly he wouldn’t give me any hints for himself either. So that’s going to be a complete surprise!
Affording nice presents for people is always difficult. I was somewhat sensible this year; I saved €5 a month since August for my boyfriend’s birthday present so I didn’t end up out of pocket in the middle of November and I had roughly €50 worth of tips saved for his Christmas present too. I also have holiday hours I can get in cash from work, which will cover the bulk of my family’s gifts. Without those extra savings they would all have been looking at socks and bars of chocolate for Christmas.
So that’s my Santa list for 2013. I love giving presents; the research, the buying, the wrapping, and then finally seeing them enjoy it. And of course, everyone loves receiving them too! After Christmas I might treat myself to some Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24h foundation and an Urban Decay Naked Palette, if finances allow. After all, I think I deserve a treat after all that organisation and generosity!
So are you organised for Christmas, or will you be tearing your hair out come Christmas Eve?