When it comes to birthdays, Christmases and any other occasion worthy of presents, I find myself super excited at the prospect of buying, wrapping and then giving a present to someone. And it tends to sometimes get a little out of hand…
I love watching people open presents and seeing the (hopefully!) joy on their faces when they see that it’s something they’ve been wanting for a while. As Christmas starts to creep up, I find myself scouring the internet for days on end trying to find the perfect Christmas present for everyone I need to buy for. The joy of presents arriving in the post, opening them, marveling at their awesomeness and then spending hours wrapping them all up perfectly whilst listening to Christmas music is basically what I live for. I LOVE IT. I know some people can’t stand to wrap presents but it’s one of my favourite parts!! If I could wrap presents all day everyday, I think I probably would.
This year I went a little overboard on The Boyfriend’s presents. I bought half of his Amazon wishlist in September but as Christmas got closer I started to find even more I wanted to buy for him! Ooops. So he has a rather large gift bag sitting under the tiny tree in my bedroom, waiting to be torn into on Boxing Day!
Every year for as long as I can remember I’ve bought a board game for my family to play at Christmas and this year I’m having a slight meltdown! Trying to find the perfect board game is really hard – especially when we pretty much own them all already!! But I’ve stumbled across one called Shout which looks quite fun so I might have that sitting under the Christmas tree on Christmas Day – I just love being able to give the people I love something to unwrap…!
And, strangely, I’m not hugely into receiving presents…weird, I know! I’d much rather give people something than get something myself but, I mean, I wouldn’t say no to one or two gifts under the tree 😉
Do you find that you go a little bit overboard during Christmas? Are you a lover of giving presents or receiving them? Let me know 🙂
I’m super excited to welcome the lovely bloggers Dawn, Maryline, Lorraine and writer Polly James, to the blog today to talk about their Christmas gifting!
1. Are you the person who has all their Christmas shopping finished well in advance or do you end up having it all to do at the last minute?
Dawn: I absolutely love Christmas and start picking up a few bits through the summer and filling my Amazon basket as I think of ideas. I have to do this as I buy for approx thirty family and friends. I then buy the majority of my gifts in September/October. This means that when I have a shopping day in mid November with my friends it’s more about enjoying the shops, christmas market and buying things I don’t need but can’t live without such as ‘more christmas decorations’. The other big bonus is my hands don’t drop off with the weight of the dreaded carrier bags. Then I have to have my annual christmas visit to IKEA for candles and a trip or two to a local independent gift shop that is in an old barn with a log burner, coffee and delicious home-made cake. I have to keep going back there, just to be sure I’ve not forgotten anything 😀
Maryline: I have all my shopping (and wrapping!) done at least days, possibly weeks in advance.
Lorraine: I’m finished well in advance I work full time and hate to rush. I usually start at the beginning of November and I’m finished and ready to wrap at the beginning of December.
Polly: Always at the last minute, or at the last minute for Amazon, anyway. I’ve sometimes cut it as fine as five minutes before the cut-off for guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas to order all the presents I need, not just one or two. It’s like an adrenalin sport – but a really unenjoyable one.
The whole thing sends my blood pressure up so much that afterwards I always say I’ll do it sooner the following year, but then I never do. Shops start their Christmas marketing drives earlier and earlier each year, and my husband and son work in retail, so I think that may be the reason my family do their Christmas shopping so late, out of sheer rebelliousness!
2. Do you prefer giving people presents or receiving them?
Dawn: Quite categorically giving, the look of delight when you know you’ve got it just right is just amazing. I do have one small problem though, I find it difficult to buy presents that I don’t like or have an interest in – I only really buy stuff that I’d really like myself.
Maryline: Tough one. I think I like both equally? Although there’s nothing more fun than picking out and wrapping a present with care and seeing that person opening it.
Lorraine: I love giving I know it’s a cliche but I really do, I love the looks on people’s faces when they get something they weren’t expecting
Polly: Giving, by a mile. I drive my husband and kids mad, because I get so excited to see their reactions that I end up watching them like a hawk while they open their presents. Then I ask each of them if they’re sure they like what I’ve given them at least ten times.
3. Who is the hardest person to buy for in your life?
Dawn: My mum. Every single birthday and christmas without fail when asked is there anything in particular she’d like as a gift I get the same answer – a jumper!
Maryline: My dad. He’s by far one of the most important people in my life, but picking out his presents is always the most challenging.
Lorraine: It’s got to be my mother in law if she doesn’t like what we buy her she will tell you, she’s brutally honest . One year the hubby and I spent ages putting together a really lovely hamper for her and when she opened it, and started pulling out items she would say “oh I don’t like that I will give it away”….. Enough said!
Polly: All the men in the family – my husband, son, father and step-dad. They’re all totally useless at compiling Christmas lists, and I never have a clue what they might like (unless it’s something I can’t afford).
4. What was the best and the worst present you ever received?
Dawn: The best present has to be my kindle – I never wanted one, I loved books so much and now I wouldn’t be without it. I still prefer a physical book but my kindle goes everywhere with me. My husband takes great delight in taking photo’s of me with it in my hand off his phone then telling me what great company I am 😀 It was also the first proper present my daughter bought for me when she started working full time – I literally cried buckets, it was embarrassing.
My worst….. I have always loved sheepskin slippers from M & S, I always bought my own. One christmas I needed a new pair and asked my husband for them for christmas. Christmas morning came and I opened my presents and there was my sheepskin slippers – not M & S ones I noticed but….. two days into christmas and my toe went through the front of one! At that point I deemed it safe to ask where he had bought them – apparently he was walking through the local market and thought ooo sheepskin slippers, Dawn wanted a pair of them! It’s fair to say he has never lived it down yet.
Maryline: I’m going way back down memory lane for this, but when I was about 5 or 6 my mum and dad gave me a doll. I named her Laura and she went everywhere with me. So as far as “all-time favourites” go, that’s probably the one. I can’t really think of a bad present – lucky me!
Lorraine: I’ve received lots of best presents over the years, even after 27 years of marriage my husband still manages to get it right, and the worst would have to be the year I received 2 right footed slippers!
Polly: I’m really lucky with presents, as I don’t think I’ve ever been given one I hated, but the most memorable Christmases have been due to experiences, rather than gifts.
The worst was when I got run over on Christmas Eve in 1999, and ended up in hospital with a fractured skull.
The best also happened on Christmas Eve some years later. My daughter had been unemployed for six months, after the company she worked for closed down its operation in Wales and all the staff were made redundant. Work was scarce and she couldn’t afford to stay where she’d been living without a job, so she ended up having to come back home to Norfolk – hundreds of miles away from her boyfriend and all her closest friends, so she was really miserable.
On Christmas Eve, she heard she’d got a new job in Wales that she really wanted, and seeing the joy on her face was better than any gift (even though I knew I was going to miss her like mad when she moved away from home again).
5. What are you hoping will be sitting under your tree this year?
Dawn: It’s my husbands 50th next year and we are going on a cruise to Iceland to celebrate. So, this year we are cutting back on the gifts and putting the money towards some fantastic trips instead – although I’m sure I’ll still get a few books and the obligatory chocolate.
Maryline: I honestly have no idea. There’s a few new CD’s I would like (the new Ellie Goulding & Adele!) and my book wish-list is never ending, but I don’t really have anything specific in mind. Although I wouldn’t mind a little jewelry under the tree; that would be a first!
Lorraine: I’m really not fussed as long as I’m with my family, anything extra is a bonus, but on the other hand I wouldn’t say “no” to a two week getaway in Bora,Bora (my dream resort)
Polly: Books, a Moleskine diary and notebooks, Liz Earle neroli moisturiser, and maybe some gift vouchers so I can splurge on clothes and shoes in the sales.
6. Are you a stickler for wrapping presents perfectly? Or do you find it frustrating and do it as fast as you can?
Dawn: Oh, perfect presents every time. I spend weeks planning my theme, no two years can be the same. I trawl the internet looking for ideas and then buying ribbons and adornments to go with the paper. I then spend literally hours wrapping and adding bows and ribbons and personalised gift tags
Maryline: Are you kidding? Wrapping them is most of the fun! Nothing gives me more joy than seeing gorgeous presents sitting under the tree, waiting to make someone happy 😉
Lorraine: I drive my husband mad, he starts out helping me to wrap, but gets fed up after a while as I like to have matching, bow, tags and they all have to be precisely situated
Polly: I love wrapping presents, and try to be as creative with them as I can, despite the panic caused by my inexplicable last-minute shopping habit.
7. Lastly, sprouts or no sprouts?!
Dawn: Sprouts – I love sprouts and eat them every week on my roast dinner 🙂 No roast, especially a christmas roast would be complete without them!
Maryline: NO SPROUTS!
Lorraine: I love sprouts but I have to have vinegar on them, in fact I have to have vinegar all over my Christmas Dinner!
Polly: Sprouts, as long as as they’re not soggy!
Thank you ladies, these answers are so fantastic! And I love how different you all are!
You can find Dawn on Twitter and her fantastic blog. Maryline is on Twitter and has a gorgeous blog. Lorraine AKA The Book Review Cafe can be found on Twitter too. Polly also has Twitter and check out her blog to find out all about her (brilliant) book.