What do you want for Christmas?

I hate that question.  Especially when it comes from family members.  I am sure I have whinged about this before but honestly... what is the point of my telling them what to buy me and then they buy it AND WRAP IT UP! 

Yes I know it means I get something I really want but ... actually, do I?  For a start I am not going to ask for something really expensive, I'd be too embarrassed for that, and if its not expensive and something I really want, then I probably have it already.  So what do I do?  I wrack my brains for suitable gift ideas, things that will not be a waste of money and that I actually want.  It's really hard.  I worry about suggesting things that are too expensive or too difficult to find in case I offend or cause too much trouble - and lets not forget I am supposed to be the happy recipient of this gift, it's not supposed to be hard work for me.  And then on Christmas day I open the gift and exclaim 'oh how lovely' or something of the sort.  Well... I've had it, I am not playing any more!!

What happened to choosing something you want that person to have?  What happened to the suprise?  Yes of course you run the risk of getting it wrong but that's part of the fun and we would never be so impolite as to say that the donor had got it wrong.

You tell me, which gifts have stuck in your mind the most?  There will probably be two... one would be the terrible jumpers knitted by your nan or the worst present you ever got, like a girlfriend of mine who received a car battery from her fiancee, no, she didn't ask for it but she will never forget it (and neither will he) and the other would be the most amazing spot-on gift that you ever received...  what did you get the rest of the time?  Nope, I can't remember either.

To illustrate:  Back in the mid 80's I received a plastic 'hors d'oeuvres' tree from my cousin.  This was a clear plastic tree shaped thing with spikes to which you attached cheese cubes, pineapple cubes, pickled onions and olives and then you placed it as the centre piece of the table.  I am sure it came from the Bettaware catalogue or it could have been the JML gadget you never knew you needed off the telly.  It was and still is the most talked about gift we have ever had - we laughed until the tears tripped us, alas I have it no more (it proved very flimsy) or I would have photographed it for you.

And the most wonderful Christmas gift I ever received?  A Chinese musical jewellery box from Santa when I was 11 years old, the most luxurious thing I had ever seen - still sat on my dressing table, still evoking the wonder of that moment when I pushed my feet down to the bottom of the bed and felt a heavy weight.  I opened the box in the stillness of the early morning and I can never forget how stunned I was when I saw it.  It was the first time I had received a gift that was not a toy, not clothes and definitely very grown up.

So what do I do with the emailed Christmas list from a sister in law (who is not a child I might add) and whose gift we have already chosen (and it's not on her list, who is now desperately trying to get us on the phone to ask us what we want.  Grrrrr.


  1. I hate this too, i would rather not have anything . last year for my 40th my sister asked what i wanted , something that i would use a lot and would last, i wanted a sausage maker, she bought me a day at a health spa.......her reasoning she didn't want to buy me one , apparently it was irrelevant what i wanted , only what she wanted to give lol we have now agreed ...no more presents phew

  2. Gosh, you have been busy! Sorry if my reply is jumping around a bit, but I've just caught up with your blog so I have comments for several posts back!

    First, belated congratulations on your new job, I clicked through your link - What a beautififul building! What a wonderful place to work!

    I'm envious of your sourdough starter. I've tried to get one going a couple of times but both times it turned mouldy on top - I have no idea where I am going wrong. I had decided to give up, but reading your post has given me some encouragement to start again! I'll have a Google later today and try a different starter recipe.

    The centres of the parsnips in your photos are beautiful, they look like snowflakes.

    I love the photos of your lace. The lace for the tray liner is quite something - how sad to have to leave it unused, understandable but sad. Your WWI lace is simply beautiful.

    What a shame that your little plastic tree thingy is no longer with us - it sounds stunning ;)

    Hope that all are well xx-


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