The things we really want for Christmas


One of the perks of being someone who loves creating lists, is that when people ask me in December for present ideas, I already have a completed list ready to offer up. This year’s list was a year in the making. It was extensive, varied, and had something for every budget.

If I’m honest, I feel really disappointed when I ask people what they want for Christmas and they pull that I don’t know, it’s so hard to think of something face. Are we that spoiled that it has become a chore to think of something that we need or want? Then it occurred to me. It’s possible that our material needs are being met, and people don’t know how to ask for the other things – the things they really want. The things that cannot be bought.

When I revisited my own Christmas list, I realised that my wish-list was actually a page of clues that required translating. They were lies in a tidy format that wouldn’t challenge the modern notion of ‘gift’. To explain, here are seven things from this year’s list, translated.

  1. An above ground vegetable garden.

What I actually want is to get what I need for dinner from the backyard without dragging three kids to the shops. I want to feel less guilty about not feeding my kids organic food because it’s crazy expensive and hard to source where we live. I want to catch my children eating snow peas straight from the vine, so that when they refuse the vegetables on their dinner plate that night, I don’t have to fret about their health.

  1. A Kill Your Darlings subscription

This translates to ‘I want to be in the same league of writer as Hannah Kent and Rebecca Starford’. Here’s hoping that by reading a journal born of their brilliance, my IQ climbs, and their talent sticks.

  1. An electric bread knife.

I really just want my kids to not eat so much bread. Their bread consumption triggers a gluten-guilt response. I then decide to go gluten-free for a while. Then I feel guilty about giving them gluten-free products from the supermarket which are full of nasties. This triggers a processed-foods-guilt response, which leads to gluten-free bread making binges that ease the guilt but consume way too much of my time. And what happens when I spend too much time in the kitchen? It triggers a you’re-not-spending-enough-time-with-the-children-guilt response. Somehow an electric bread knife will help.

  1. A planner.

I spend my entire day planning in my head. And I have enough lists. I don’t need a planner – I need time to execute my plans. Someone take the kids out of the house for a few hours to do something fun, that does not involve an iPad, and return them to me fed. You can call it a combined Christmas/Birthday present. Call it whatever you like – just take the kids.

  1. An additional Thermomix bowl.

I acknowledge how lucky I am to have a Thermomix at all, I do. But I am a chronic multitasker, so doing one thing at a time in the kitchen is a slow death for me. Having two recipes on the go means less time spent in the kitchen with a whining two-year-old on my hip, which means less time and money spent at the chiropractor, and a higher chance of my sanity being intact at the end of the day. Translation: I want to cook from scratch without it leeching my soul.

  1. Yet another writing course.

What I actually want is to finish my novel. Give me time to write. Give me a deadline. Give me confidence. Remind me that a two percent chance of publication is reason enough to continue. Give me a kick up the arse – because I’ve got this.

  1. A clothes voucher.

I don’t need a clothes voucher. What I actually need is to be able to try clothes on – alone. For those that haven’t been clothes shopping with a six-year-old, four-year-old and two-year-old in tow, be warned – nothing looks good on you when you are crying.

What did you really want for Christmas?

4 thoughts on “The things we really want for Christmas

  1. I really wanted people to make me something with their own two hands or to buy something for *me*. Something I would enjoy, a touch of luxury made or bought expressly with me in mind. And no, I don’t think candles or bath bombs are a lazy gift, so long as they’re my type of scent or have an essential oil base which will somehow add to my life. Jewellery, ditto, but make it in my colours or to fit my thick neck, or if you must buy it, at least make sure it goes with my favourite shirt that you love me wearing… and tell me that’s why you chose it so I know it’s not just random stuff you bought for everyone. I have enough *stuff* to last me a whole other lifetime, and a really small flat which is already bursting at the seams. And if you’re a couple, please.. please, for God’s sake, tell your other half what you bought me and why because I’m sick of buying or making well thought out presents for both halves of a couple, only to get something back from one half with no contribution whatsoever from the other! Otherwise, I’m calling a jihad on presents altogether! With those I could this year, I gave them a card with an experience that I have promised to share with them this coming year and why… from going to a play to me shouting them to a shisha smoke at an arabic cafe, to a photography weekend. And that’s what I’ll remember most this time next year, because you can’t beat presence over presents and my presence is worth far more than any tat from china no matter how well you try to wrap it!

  2. I feel the best gift is still the surprise ones that come a long when you are not expecting! It can be or mean many things from person to person. My one was a surprise visit and for a couple of days that followed was shopping, meals out, catch up over coffee, and getting in touch again with each other. And guess what? That gift will last me for a life time!

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