I’m not known for my Christmas spirit. I’m quite a grumpy old man, really; I don’t much like shopping, “enforced jollity”, or people feeling obligated to run out and spendspendspend. Maybe it comes from working in a shop, and from about mid-September witnessing shoppers become more and more stressed and rabid and worried about not getting something “good enough”, or maybe I am actually just a grumpy old man inside. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas Day is awesome. I love the actual day, where you get to eat chocolate for breakfast and hang around with people you love and have lots of food and play with new toys and watch Dr Who.
One thing I do love about the run up to Christmas is wrapping presents. When I worked at Lush, one of my favourite things was wrapping gift boxes for people, and things haven’t changed. Wrapping paper! Ribbons! It’s great! Not even sticky tape disasters can dampen my spirits when I’m wrapping things!
You just can’t beat brown paper. I love me some brown paper. This year, I bought a cheap rubber stamp and an ink pad (the paint pen is an old favourite!) and went to town, printing my own personalised wrapping paper.
I’ve received many presents in my time. Loads. But being asked to pick one, the best one I’ve ever been given, is a difficult, horrible task. I’m sure that as I child I did my fair share of wanting and whinging, and got my fair share of best-present-evers. Today though, I’m going to talk about a present I got as a surprise.
For Christmas 2007, Iain got me a camera. It was totally unexpected (although now he tells me I had been complaining about the camera I had at the time). Along with the camera, he presented me with a photo album, a few pages of which were already filled with photos – things like graduation ball snapshots and general photographic silliness. I absolutely loved it, and I still do.
To this day I carry the camera around with me (almost) everywhere. Most of the time I remember to bring a memory card with me as well, which is helpful.
I think that although the camera is amazing, and definitely far more than I was expecting to receive, that the fact that it was packaged with an already-started photo album is what made me super happy. That kind of portrays a message; it makes you think of memories, of making memories, of the future. At the time, it all sort of made me think “Oh, this person really likes me, and wants to stick around at least long enough to fill this photo album with memories that include me,” which was really, really nice. That’s what makes a good gift, I think; a good gift isn’t about how much money you can spend on someone (although I imagine the camera wasn’t cheap!), it’s about the thought that goes into it. Clichés are usually clichés for a reason!
Honourable mention goes to Lite-Brite though!