The Best Gifts Of All, Don’t Come With Wrapping Paper

Christmas, you either love it or hate it but as the Big Day is going to be descending upon us in a matter of a few short weeks, one thing’s for sure, it’s unavoidable. For some it will mean a joyous celebration with our loved ones for others it will involve family disputes, overindulgence and in my case, poverty. I have in the past contemplated selling a kidney on Ebay to pay for an expensive gift for a loved one, as clearly unpacking tins is not the most profitable line of work.

Every year my mother tells me not to bother getting her anything for Christmas and the one year that I took her at her word, the atmosphere on that particular Christmas morning was positively Arctic. Even my Dad suggested I pop out to the local petrol station to get a box of chocolates or tacky bunch of flowers if I expected to eat Christmas Day Lunch at the grown up table.

Again this year my sister will receive the usual gift of Big Pants which has earned her the nickname of BBP (Beverley Big Pants); these are a bit like the harvest festivals that your Nan used to wear which double up as a vest and come up to your armpits. My mum will usually have bought them from the discount no frills supermarket Lidl – which she adores. In fact, she adores it so much I have threatened to have her ashes scattered in the special offer aisle when she takes the final trip to rainbow bridge – which I better add I hope doesn’t happen for a long, long time, just in case she’s reading this. She always tells me proudly that the manager of the store always recognises her and as I have pointed out that is probably not in a good way, more in the “here comes the mad stalker-like customer”.

I, on the other hand, will get the customary “useful” gadget like an electric wine cork remover or my particular all-time favourite the electric fluff remover. If my Dad is buying the Christmas gifts, I may receive something equally as exciting as the socket set he bought me last year.

It’s hard to deny that a little of the magic has gone from our Christmas Day mornings now that my darling nieces are all grown up; although a glass of Baileys does help. Ironically, in our household it’s not the giving and receiving of Christmas gifts that is the focal point; it’s the good-natured banter and humour that accompany these gestures that warm our hearts and will stay with us in the stories that we recount to the next generation.

“Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.
~ Charlotte Carpenter.

Little pickers need big knickers!

Little pickers need big knickers!

60 thoughts on “The Best Gifts Of All, Don’t Come With Wrapping Paper

  1. D!!! As always you have me in hysterics imagining everything you’ve so beautifully and humorously described in this latest post! Hugs and thanks 🙂 I needed that!

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  2. Oh dear God, please tell me how to get a pair of those big knickers! Ha. I love your posts and can only imagine the adventures within your family dynamic. We should swap families one Christmas and entertain each other. ❤ 🙂

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  3. love it!! it’s the get together, the arguments, the over-eating that makes good Christmas. And how about those Bridget Jones pants, wow, your sister is set for life!! Lidl has recently opened near the airport in Split, and it’s the first stop when we arrive, to stock up on cheap drinks and stuff, and Mr C loves the German biscuits they sell (haven’t tried their underwear yet… )

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  4. It’s tricky isn’t it, finding that Christmas balance between doing the Christmasy things, but trying to not waste money. There are some chats going on in my house about this very same thing.

    And I remember Lidl and Aldi from my house sitting days in Ireland; I still have a very ugly, but cozy pair of pj’s from one of them – the price was right!

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  5. You do make me smile! I love Christmas at our house–I love the lights and we make our own music, and play lots of games. My friend Carol always comes and stays–she is a party in her own right. We have traditions, like Cornish pasties for dinner on Christmas Eve, which my brother always makes, so I don’t have to do too much cooking. Bagels for breakfast on Christmas morning, a nod to our Jewish heritage, and playing games, going for a walk to the duck pond, a sandwich buffet for lunch, and leftovers for dinner. It is easy and relaxed. It will be a little different this year, as my sister-in-law and her kids are coming with her new boyfriend, who we haven’t met, and so it is harder to know what to expect, but I’m sure it will be fine. (I do hope they like to play games).

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      • Oh, I didn’t know that! The pasties are a tradition from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Many Cornish tin miners went to work in the copper mines of the UP, and their wives would send them to work with pasties wrapped in newspapers to have for their lunch. There are almost as many pasty shops in the UP as hamburger joints!

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      • I had no idea about sweet and savoury pasties all in one package! I was from Michigan, and we loved pasties. When I go to England, we don’t go out to lunch–we buy a couple of pasties–always savoury ones–and have a picnic. They are such a treat!

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  6. I have such fond memories of past Christmases, when gifts were simple and inexpensive, but given and received with joy and goodwill. Nowadays, the toys which my grand kids are encouraged by their parents to expect, all come with a fancy label and cost an arm and a leg. Oh for days of the Christmas stocking, stuffed with nuts, candy and an orange, the annual manicure set from my least favourite aunt, and a home-made set of doll’s clothes lovingly made in secret by my mom. Just don’t give me big knickers! 😀

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  7. You could always give them handwritten IOUs for Christmas and then buy reduced-in-the-sale items after Crimbo, bought using your staff discount. That way they get two lots of Christmas gifts and you get to save your pennies!

    Actually, I’ve started giving IOU-type notes for presents such as that I will babysit for them so many times, give a back rub, help out in the garden or cook a meal on a special occasion. The trick is making sure I give the right IOU to the correct person! 🙂

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      • I did this for years for my son when he was in his teens – he loved it! This way he could see what gifts he actually got for Christmas, knowing he then had his IOU to spend on things he really wanted in the Sales.

        You can often buy twice as much with a 50 pound Christmas IOU on Boxing Day. Win, win!

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  8. I’d sure like to unwrap those…uh, well, you know.
    Anyway this post is both entertaining and hysterical!
    …”she takes the final trip to rainbow bridge” 😆 That is too funny.
    Thanks for this!

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  9. lol… Hint… Don’t ever ask a mom what she wants for Christmas, just get her something. Anything (doesn’t have to be expensive) and she’ll be happy. If mom’s happy, everyone’s happy 🙂

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  10. All my Mum has ever wanted for Xmas is a grandchild. Unfortunately with all 3 kids over 40 and single, she’ll just have to make do with the usual nighties and witty banter. She usually gets over the disappointment if I ply her with enough Veuve, so you’ve reminded me I need to go out and stock up on the bubbles!!

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  11. My family kinda stopped doing gifts a few years ago when my gran got too old to do shopping herself. It’s crept back in on a small scale which is good, it adds another interest to the day and like Olivia above there aren’t any little people to rejuvenate proceedings. I won’t be seeing my family this year, looking forward to a nice quiet relaxing summer’s day in Wellington instead.

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  12. Uhm… what is an electric fluff remover? Where is it supposed to remove fluff from? It intrigues me!
    I am not ready for anything Christmassy, it is Sinterklaas first! Although I’m not sure he is coming to Mexico…

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  13. Oh, double oh. I am so grateful other families have these stupendous gatherings. Most of us have finally discovered Amazon Wish Lists. Now we take the wonder out which is fabulous. At least though we no longer blundering about on Christmas morning trying to find something nice to say, like “did you save the receipt”.

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  14. You’re so right. I barely remember the presents (although I obviously don’t mind getting them). It’s definitely all about family for us. Like you, my niece and nephew are now both grown up and children do bring a particular spark to Christmas but I’m looking forward to it all the same. Will be in the same insolvency predicament as you but am hoping to receive something other than the socket set 🙂 or big pants (although I must admit, I wouldn’t mind if I could look quite as good as that in a pair of big knickers).
    You always have me laughing with your posts. I just love them!

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    • My sister spent last Xmas Day wearing them over her trousers thinking that my Mum would get the hint – as if! I wanted her to come to the pub for a bit of ritual humiliation as that’s what sisters do best! Incidentally, I had to google the socket set as I hadn’t a clue what to do with it! Thank you for your kind words too!

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  15. Ah Christmas with all its expectations. In hot Aussie weather I can never get into the spirit of things, dragging around in the heat looking for gifts, till the actual day and seeing the grand kids excitement opening the parcels. What on earth is Lidl? Am I missing an important part of life downunder?

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  16. I love this post. I thin there must be a factory that specially makes dodgy Christmas gifts. I got the Christmas shopping out of the way early this year, mostly online, and stuck to a budget because I don’t want the festive season to be just about gifts and a credit card bill. The tree is up and a few well chosen but not expensive gifts underneath. We have an advent calender with goodies to count down the days but most importantly we have the time and space to enjoy the lead up. So Christmas isn’t just that day but many 🙂

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  17. Like Sylvia, I too miss the days of stockings stuffed with an apple, an orange and some chocolates, along with one special dream gift. Christmas has become way too much about expensive gifts. Though I miss Christmas, living in Oman, I have to say I’m somewhat relieved to escape all the work I usually have to put into it. It’s just too much. I find the American Thanksgiving much more preferable. 🙂 Happy holidays, anyway, Dallas!

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  18. I love Christmas, with or without children, but it’s definitely more fun with them around. One is on the verge of discovering the truth about Santa (probably the last year for him) and the other is just discovering the magic. My heart is so full this time of year.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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